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Friday, August 16, 2013

Why not visit Cheltenham for a weekend? - The Cotswold Way Project #5

 The Caryatides are the most famous postcard of the beautiful town of Cheltenham.

Finally we are in Cheltenham and we can have some time to relax and enjoy ourselves!

Cheltenham is a very elegant and relaxed town, with beautiful Regency architecture. 

It is said to be "the most complete regency town in England" by AA Illustrated Guide to Britain.

It is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing and of the famous Cheltenham festival in March.

Cheltenham is a perfect destination for a weekend and it is also a great place to rest after having walk a third of the Cotswold Way.
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If you are walking North to South and started in Chipping Campden, you have already walked 4,5 miles from Chipping Campden to Broadway, 9,5 miles from Broadway to Winchcombe, maybe visited Sudeley Castle and then walked another 9,5 miles from Winchcombe to Cheltenham.

Large avenues offer a perfect place to stroll around the central quarter of Montpellier, with its beautiful gardens and squares and rest after your long walk along The Cotswold Way

The iconic Greek-style caryatids dividing the different shop windows and the old Imperial Baths (now the Queen Hotel) are the most famous monuments of the centre of the town.

The Royal Crescent and many more elegant streets retain the old terraced houses in Regency style, with beautiful ironworks at their balconies, that, if even just a little better kept, would easily compete with the  other spa-town of Bath and its famous crescent.

The Regency buildings in Montpellier quarter are particularly beautiful at sunset.

Cheltenham is famous and proud to have been the home of the composer Gustav Holts, the author of the famous suite "The Planets".

You can visit his house in Cheltenham and a beautiful bronze statue of the composer just behind the Council Offices.

Cheltenham is also the birthplace of Edward Adrian Wilson, Scott's doctor in the famous and tragic polar expedition. 

A beautiful statue is dedicated to him in front of the Council Hall, and you can still see his house not far from Montpellier gardens. 

Walking North, through a beautiful park you can admire the Pump House, a beautiful neoclassical building where you can taste, Cheltenham thermal water, very rich in minerals. 

The water attracted many many people here, during the XIX Century.

Along the park, beautiful liberty houses and more classical Georgian mansions encircle the Pump House. 

One time the park was private and it was reserved to the lucky ones who could afford living in this beautiful park in front the Pump Room. 

The Neo Classical façade of the Pump Room, where you can have a free taste of the thermal water, very rich in minerals.

From Cheltenham The Cotswold Way is not too far away. 

To rejoin it you just have to walk South towards Leckhampton, a quarter of Cheltenham with red bricks houses and shady avenues, on the hill above, Leckhampton Hill, the path leads to Birdlip, our next section of the walk that we will publish next week.