Welcome to the Festival town. As you meander your way into Cheltenham, the banners and flags will inspire you to “find your soul in music” or “spark your curiosity with culture”. Hosting some of the best acts, musicians, authors and chefs around, when the festival is in town, this place comes alive. Outside of festival season, Cheltenham has a lot to offer, an awful lot. The stunning Cotswolds, the museums and history, the delicious food and drink options. Let us take you through a few of our top tips for getting the most out of Cheltenham.
1). Cheltenham Racecourse
Cheltenham Racecourse is one of the oldest racecourses in the world and hosts several major horse races across the year. The largest of those events, is undoubtedly the Cheltenham Festival in March which attracts hundreds of thousands to the town and the best National Hunt jockeys and trainers around. Outside of the racing calendar, Cheltenham Racecourse has hosted its fair share of music concerts, charity runs and fairs for the whole family. For groups of eight or more, it is also possible to arrange a behind the scenes tour of the racecourse to get up close and personal with every nook and cranny.
2). Gloucester Rugby
One of the most prominent teams in the English rugby league is Gloucester Rugby. Founded in 1873, it is one of the oldest clubs. Located at Kingsholm Stadium, just under 9 miles from The Queens Hotel, a trip to a local rugby game joining another passionate 16,000 fans is a highlight to the local area and a pastime enjoyed by many.
3). Slimbridge Wetland Centre
A little gem just outside Cheltenham is Slimbridge Wetland Centre, founded by conservationist Sir Peter Scott in 1946 and one of the most important wetland reserves and conservation areas in the world. The diverse ecosystem supports a wide range of wildlife including 200 species of ducks, geese and swans. With otters and flamingos too, adventure parks, water play, cafes and educational resources, a trip to Slimbridge Wetland Centre is worth a full day trip for the whole family.
4). Explore the nearby Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is an area of outstanding beauty and a tourist honeypot all year round. You can wander quaint villages, take woodland strolls or attempt a part or all of the 100-mile Cotswold way. Just a short drive from The Queens Hotel, it is well worth the short drive and we strongly recommend you venture to Bourton-on-the-Water, named the Venice of the Cotswolds due to the small bridges spanning the River Windrush, or head to Broadway. Probably the most picturesque village in the Cotswolds with honeypot coloured buildings and an iconic tower with sweeping panoramic views across the rest of the stunning area.
5). Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway
If you want to really explore the stunning Cotswolds, do it in style aboard the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway. The route runs 14 miles from Cheltenham Racecourse all the way to Broadway passing through Toddington. Step onto this heritage steam train and puff your way through acres of outstanding beauty, nibble on snacks or enjoy a coffee at your destination. There are also guided tours on Tuesdays and Sundays. Find our more here.
6). Walks with Hawks
Recognised on TripAdvisor as the number 1 attraction in Cheltenham, if you have never walked with birds of prey before this is an awesome experience. Taking place in a farm just outside Cheltenham, a short drive from The Queens Hotel, you will get up close and personal with some absolutely magnificent hawks, kestrels, eagles and owls. Watch them swoop onto your arm for a nibble (of chicken – not your arm) before flying back into the trees and surroundings. It is a truly fascinating experience and incredibly memorable for visitors to the area. Talk to us about how we can help you booking your Walks with Hawks experience on your next stay.
7). Everyman Theatre
For over 130 years, the Everyman Theatre has played an important part of the Cheltenham art’s and cultural scene. This intricate Victorian building can seat just 675 people s so the audience can feel really close and connected to the every performance which includes world-beating plays, magical musicals and upbeat concerts. Still to run in 2023 is the Take That official musical and The Full Monty starring Jake Quickenden of X-Factor fame. For the full listing of performances click here.
8). Cheltenham Festivals
As the UK’s festival town, it would be a shame to miss one of the fantastic festivals that take place every year in town. Festival HQ also tends to be in Imperial Gardens and directly opposite The Queens Hotel. Watch, read, tap, taste and listen your way through the year at a series of events that start in spring with the epic Jazz Festival and continue through to October where the literary geniuses come to town and sprinkle us with their magical stories and words of wisdom. Find out more about the festivals by reading our article here.
9). Jet Age Museum
One of Cheltenham’s must-sees is Pittville Park, located under two miles from The Queens Hotel. Opened in 1825, it is the largest ornamental park in Cheltenham and is home to the iconic Pump Room. Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the beautiful greenery and lakes. Visiting with your family? Make sure you swing by the children’s play area and the aviaries, which is home to a collection of birds and bunnies.
10). Gloucester Quays
There are plenty of savings and bargains to be found at Gloucester Quays shopping outlet – 10 miles from The Queens Hotel. You can make massive savings of up to 70% on high street brand names including Hobbs, Jack Willis, Joules and Ted Baker. Make a day of it with numerous places to sit back and enjoy lunch from.
Now are you tempted to visit Cheltenham? The Queens Hotel is in the heart of Cheltenham and is the ideal spot for exploring this historic spa town from. Click here to explore breaks in Cheltenham.