The Spa Town Of Cheltenham: Visiting The Cotswolds

The spa town of Cheltenham is renowned as the home of Jump racing at Cheltenham Racecourse, the host of a range of festivals throughout the year, and is a popular shopping destination.

If you’re looking for an electrifying night out after exploring the Cotswolds countryside, or you want to take in a show at one of the spectacular theatres, you’re bound to find something you love in Cheltenham.

A Beautiful Cotswold City Just 30 Minutes (15 Miles) From The Bear Inn

After your day out exploring Cheltenham, pay a visit to The Bear Inn to see what award-winning Butcombe beers we have available, before choosing something from our delicious, seasonal food menus.



The History Of Cheltenham

Cheltenham is a spa town which is located on the edge of the Cotswolds.

It began life as an Anglo-Saxon village more than 1,000 years ago, expanding into a market town in 1226. In the early-18th century, its mineral springs were discovered and by the end of the century, it was one of the leading spas in the United Kingdom.

Cheltenham is easily accessible by road and train, and also has excellent airport links. As a result, the population has increased greatly in the last 100 years.

It is twinned with 5 cities around the world, most notably one in Pennsylvania, United States, bearing the same name.

Festivals In Cheltenham

Cheltenham is proud to play host to a huge range of festivals year-round.

Cheltenham Music Festival usually lasts a week in July, with musicians performing jazz, classical, pop, and alternative music at various venues.

If you’re feeling peckish, Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival in June is the perfect remedy. Sample the delights of over 100 food and drink stalls.

For a family visit to Cheltenham, aim to visit during Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta – typically over a few days in July – with fireworks, funfair rides, live entertainment, local food and drink and, of course, hot air balloons.

Find out more about festivals in Cheltenham

Cheltenham Racecourse

Racing has been an integral part of Cheltenham culture since the early 1800s, with racing taking place at Prestbury Park since 1831.

The Cheltenham Festival takes place in March each year and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors over the four days. As one of the most attended horse racing festivals in the UK, it generates an estimated £100m for the local economy.

Read our in-depth review of the Cheltenham Racecourse

Cleeve Hill

Standing at 330m (1,080ft), Cleeve Hill is the highest point of both the Cotswold hills and the county of Gloucestershire.

To the west, there are clear views over Cheltenham and its racecourse, as well the River Severn and Wales. On a really clear day it is possible to view Winsford Hill on Exmoor, positioned 90 miles away.

When walking the Cotswold Way footpath, you will cross Cleeve Hill.


Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, has been based in Cheltenham since 1919.

Located in the suburbs of Cheltenham in a building called “The Doughnut”, GCHQ is responsible for providing security intelligence to the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom.

With more than 5,000 employees, GCHQ is the largest employer in Cheltenham and the largest single employer in the whole of Gloucestershire.

Cotswold Hidden Village Tour

The Hidden Village Tour is one of those not-to-be-missed experiences when visiting the Cotswolds.

The tour will take you to some of the least-known villages in the area, taking in the sights of quaint cottages, Cotswold stone monuments and breathtaking views of the countryside.

Lasting six hours, the tour culminates with a traditional cream tea at the private home of the tour guide, Becky. Known as “Secret Cottage”, the property is a delightful thatched dwelling that gives a real insight into how Cotswold life was in the 16th century.

Find out more about the Cotswold Hidden Village Tour and The Secret Cottage

Everyman Theatre

Designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1891, the Everyman Theatre has entertained the people of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and beyond for generations.

A vast array of productions are held here; ballet, opera, comedy and pantomime to name a few. The on-site cafe, bar and restaurant ensure that visitors are neither hungry or thirsty ahead of the upcoming shows.

With Cheltenham Spa railway station less than 1 mile away and the Regent Street car park offering direct access to the theatre, there is no reason to not visit this local treasure.

Directions To The Bear Inn From Cheltenham

Serving delicious, seasonal pub food and award-winning Butcombe beer, The Bear Inn is a piece of Cirencester history that dates back to the 18th century.

To reach The Bear Inn from Cheltenham, you must head north-east on Royal Well Road (A46) before turning right onto Crescent Terrace.

Continue onto Montpellier Avenue (A4015) for 400m then, at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Suffolk Square and then turn left onto Suffolk Road (A40).

Turn right onto Great Norwood Street, which turns slightly left and becomes Norwood Road. At the roundabout, continue straight onto Leckhampton Road and then go through 2 roundabouts. Continue onto Leckhampton Hill before turning right onto A436. At The Air Balloon Roundabout, take the 1st exit onto A417 and then, at the next roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on A417.

Use the left lane to take the A429/A417 slip road to Cirencester/Stow/Lechlade then, at the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Burford Road (A429). At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on Burford Road (A429).

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto London Road and continue onto Lewis Lane. Turn right onto South Way and then turn right onto North Way, where you will find The Bear Inn on your left.