A Tourist's Guide To 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. It is also 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 Town Just 45 Minutes (25 Miles) From The Beehive

After your day out in Cheltenham, pay a visit to The Beehive near Carterton and see what award-winning Butcombe beers we have available alongside 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 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 Beehive From Cheltenham

The Beehive is a traditional pub in Carterton, serving delicious seasonal dishes and exciting takes on pub classics, as well as award-winning Butcombe craft beer and cask ale.

To reach The Beehive from Regent Arcade Car Park in Cheltenham, you must head south-east on Regent Street, turn left onto Rodney Road and then merge onto Winchcombe Street. Turn right onto Albion Street, turn left onto High Street and then proceed onto London Road.

Continue on London Road for 21 miles. Once you reach Burford Roundabout, take the 3rd exit and continue on London Road. Turn right onto Shilton Road, continue onto Burford Road and then onto Black Bourton Road. Continue through one roundabout and The Beehive will be on your right.