Not only is Cheltenham a beautiful place to live, there’s some serious history and brains behind those looks. If you’re thinking of moving to Gloucestershire, here’s six interesting facts that could sway you towards one of the UK’s most famous spa towns.
Pigeons helped to make Cheltenham what it is today
In 1716, Cheltenham resident Mr Mason spotted an especially healthy-looking flock of pigeons pecking and drinking at a spring in Bayshill Meadows. He realised that the water had extra minerals and healing properties and so Cheltenham joined the trend of offering mineral spas to locals and tourists alike. The town’s crest bears three pigeons to remember these astute birds.
Cheltenham is also famous for doughnuts
Or, rather, one doughnut in particular. The town is home to the Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, which is nicknamed “The Doughnut” due to its circular shape. GCHQ is a major employer in Cheltenham, with around 6,000 people working there.
Cheltenham is England’s most complete regency town
You can’t help but notice the regency architecture as it’s a defining feature, making Cheltenham the most complete regency town in England. More than 2,500 of the town’s buildings are listed, with five being Grade I, 387 with a Grade II listing and 2210 with a Grade III.
Cheltenham is much older than you might think
Although Cheltenham is most known for its regency splendour, the town is quite a few years older. Starting out as an Anglo-Saxon settlement and the site of a 9th century monastery, Cheltenham received its market charter in 1226, which was the start of the town’s growth period.
If you like festivals, you’re in the right place
The town is famous for the Cheltenham Festival, which takes place in March every year, attracting hundreds of thousands of horse racing fans from all over the world. There’s also the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in April, the Science Festival in June, the Music festival in July and the Literature Festival in October.
Cheltenham has one of Britain’s best pubs
It’s a couple of miles out from the town centre on Tewkesbury Road, but the Gloucester Old Spot is worth the journey as it’s one of only 25 British pubs to sport a Good Pub Guide Star. If you’re new to Cheltenham you’ll find a warm welcome there.