Anyone who’s thought about traveling across Europe, or even just thought about visiting a different city has most likely overlooked Cheltenham. Many of you are undoubtedly scratching your noggins wondering where Cheltenham could possibly be. It’s about 95 miles West by northwest of London, through Oxford, giving it a proper location for tourists coming in through or from the London area. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, then Cheltenham is the place for you and here’s why:
Cheltenham has been considered a spa town, since the discovery of mineral springs in the town in the early 1700’s. Cheltenham has even been the nickname of Cheltenham Spa, and the city still delivers an enormous quantity of spas.
Cheltenham is well-known for its festivals, mainly the Cheltenham Festival held every March. The Cheltenham Festival is an annual multi-day horse racing event, mainly for the best English and Irish trained horses. The official title for the event is actually the National Hunt Meeting, since it is an event for the National Hunt racing. There are two main types of racing involved, Steeplechases and Hurdles, which gives the races a distinctive feel that differs from the typical Kentucky Derby style racing. To help with the magnitude of the event, Festival is only 2nd to the Grand National in prize money for the National Hunting racing.
This year will just as exciting as the years past. Betfair explains in an article, “The Willie Mullins-trained 10-year-old [Hurricane Fly] will be bidding to become the sixth three-time winner of hurdling’s premier event and the first since Istabraq [1998-2000]…” No surprise 30,000 souls pour into Cheltenham to see the races every year.
Some of you may me wondering, what the fun could you possibly have a horse race. Here’s a fun stat from the Cheltenham’s site, “Festival drinkers get through 18,000 bottles of Champagne and 214,000 pints of Guinness.” Not too shabby. That’s a little more than a half-bottle of champagne and seven pints of Guinness per person.
The Other Festivals
Greenbelt is a Christian Music Festival that has really drawn in good-sized crowds, upwards of 20,000. The crowds have been a result of the artists Greenbelt has been able to snag such as U2, Moby, The Proclaimers, and Sixpence None the Richer.
Cheltenham Literature Festival
The CLF is considered the oldest literature festival. It had over 140,000 tickets sold in 2012 and is consistently known for grabbing award-winning, as well as up-and-coming, authors.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival
The CJF has provided workshops for children to learn various instruments while bringing the city some great music since 1996.
Cheltenham Science Festival
The CSF is best known for its interactive Discover Zone. The CSF itself states, “From the state of the planet, to the latest stem cell research, to the secrets of the perfect cup of tea – nothing is off limits at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival.”
Cheltenham Music Festival
The CMF is what most people think of when they think of festivals. A wide variety of music, drinks, venues and exhibits make this a must visit.
There’s just so much to see across the city including statues. historic buildings, gardens and parks, and the general landscape of the area.
There really is something for everyone in Cheltenham. If visiting London or Bristol (which is about 40 miles South), stop by Cheltenham, even if there’s not a festival in town. Worst case you see a beautiful town, visit a fantastic spa, and use up half of a day on your holiday or vacation.
Guest Post by Billy Wells, a travel blogger. He has been to 4 continents and over 20 countries. He loves to share his stories and adventures on travel blogs to encourage others to see the world!