Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

June 2015: Cheltenham & Tewkesbury


Cheltenham is a large town situated on the edge of the Cotswolds, in Gloucestershire. Although it is probably best known for the diverse pursuits of horse racing (the Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup are held every March) and intelligence gathering (as the home of GCHQ), there is more to Cheltenham than that. While it is usually perceived as an attractive and well-to-do spa resort, the range of shops, covering everything from designer brands to discount stores, suggests more of a mixed economy and social make-up. The town plays host to several cultural festivals every year, in fields such as music, literature, science and food. It was the birthplace of the well known composer Gustav Holst. And on top of all that, it's where my friend Bruce spent much of his schooldays. We visited together to sample what the town had to offer in 2015, and to allow Bruce to reminisce about bygone times.

Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury is a small Gloucestershire town lying around 10 miles northwest of Cheltenham. Its main claim to fame is Tewkesbury Abbey, one of the finest Norman buildings in Britain, which was saved in the 16th-century Dissolution of the Monasteries when local people bought it to serve as their parish church. The former Benedictine abbey survives in this role to the present day.

Holst Birthplace Museum

The Regency terraced house where Gustav Holst was born in 1874 is now a small museum, dedicated to illustrating aspects of the composer's life in a Victorian, middle-class home.

Based at:

Holiday Inn Express, Cheltenham

Hilton Puckrup Hall, Tewkesbury

Linked reports from same trip:

The Wye Valley

Worcester and the Malvern Hills

The Cotswolds

Bradford on Avon