Top places to live in Gloucestershire Cheltenham
Cheltenham Spa gives you one of the poshest postcodes in Glos, with top-drawer schools, leafy Regency streets and an arts, culture and shopping scene to rival the capital. Worthy of the weighty price-tag? Read on to find out. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
The Regency town of Cheltenham Spa with its grand tree lined Promenade, swanky boutiques and laid-back metro-fabulous feel, is a countryside-with-benefits kind of place. Voted the ‘Best place to live in the South West 2020’ by The Sunday Times it’s two hours west of London. With enough retail to keep any ex-urbanite happy, it has an arts, culture and festival calendar to rival the capital.
The pretty Imperial Gardens in the centre are Chelt’s Central Park and there’s a new luxury 5-screen boutique cinema (TIVOLI) set to open soon too complete with rooftop bar. Property-wise you’re spoilt for choice, Cheltenham is famous for its stunning Regency architecture of course, if you fancy a swanky white townhouse. Or, head for the popular micro-villages of The Suffolks and Tivoli (think Notting Hill-lite) or the suburbs of Leckhampton and Charlton Kings with their grand Victorian terraces and coffee shops.
It’s a foodie’s paradise. Put The Ivy in Montpellier at the top of your list, and Kibou was crowned Best Restaurant in the Muddy Awards 2021. Other favourites include Indian fine dining at Prithvi and modern British eatery GL50 which is featured in the Michelin Good Food Guide. On the Promenade you’ll find No. 131, a super-cool hang-out – go daytime brunching or late night drinking at its Gin and Juice bar. We love Baker and Graze in The Suffolks for artisan coffee and cake, and Botanica Coffee Kitchen for their S’mores Cookie Sandwiches and houseplants by Junglist. If you’re craving a country pub vibe, within a 10 minute drive of the centre The Frogmill is a lovely 16th century mill turned watering hole with a great pub garden and super cocktail menu.
The Montpellier and Suffolks districts are bursting with independent boutiques like Bodega, Revamp, Jackeroo and interiors emporium Catherine Colebrook. Cheltenham’s shopping arcades are also peppered with big name brands such as Anthropologie, Hobbs, Toast and Space NK. There’s a new John Lewis on the high street, an arrival that’s driven the town’s des-res factor sky high, and all the high street staples, from TopShop to Urban Outfitters are here too.
The brilliant Jazz, Music, Literature and Science Festivals take are the glittering apex of Chelt’s festival calendar, and the famous Cheltenham Races in March are a perfect excuse to sling on the stilettos. Hit The Wilson gallery and museum for an art fix, Pittville Park and the Pump Room for fresh air and a bit of history and the buzzing Brewery Quarter for cinemas, bowling, crazy golf and dining. We love Sandford Parks Lido too, a heated, 50 metre Art Deco outside pool in the centre of the town.
A 10 minute trip away is the stunning Sudeley Castle and Gardens, where Henry VIII’s wife Katherine Parr is buried. Cheltenham is surrounded by miles upon miles of rolling AONB countryside so you’re never far from lungfuls of fresh air.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
Regency chic doesn’t come cheap but there are still bargains to be had here. Properties in Cheltenham had an overall average price of £381,170 in 2021. The majority of sales in Cheltenham during the last year were semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £372,921. Terraced properties sold for an average of £344,347, with flats fetching £239,256.
BEST KEPT SECRET
Eponymous British fashion brand Superdry comes from Chelt. Founder Julian Dunkerton and wife Jade (with her Holland Cooper fashion house). Find them sipping Moet at No.131 – part of the bar and hotel Lucky Onion group they own. And check out Dunkerton’s in Dowdeswell, a micro brewery selling cider, locally sourced organic bread, cheese, chutneys and sausage from Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park.
You get a stellar education in Cheltenham. Give them world-famous tuition at Cheltenham College, a high-achieving, co ed, day and boarding school for ages 13 – 18 right in the heart of the spa town. Or Cheltenham Ladies’ College, with its top-class facilities, one of the top performing schools in the world for the International Baccalaureate. St Edwards and co-ed Dean Close School are also great options. There are four highly rated grammar schools here, including Pates (Sunday Times State Secondary School of the Year 2020) and Sir Thomas Rich’s boys school. For ages 3-11 there is the highly regarded, co-ed prep Richard Pate school. For state options Balcarras School is one of the top rated secondaries in the whole country, competition to get in is fierce so make sure to be well within the catchment area (we’re talking metres).
Incredibly well placed and connected. Sitting on J11 of the M5 so close to Bristol and Birmingham, plus it has a major train station, which although not super-fast (yet), will get you back to London in little over two hours.
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