Cheltenham, on the western edge of the Cotswolds, is the region’s major town, and retains an air of gracious refinement left over from its heyday as a spa resort in the 18th century. At the time, it rivalled Bath as the place for sick rich people to go, and today it still has many graceful Regency buildings and manicured squares. These days, however, it’s best known for its racecourse and mid-March horse races.
Cheltenham’s excellent hotel and restaurant offerings make it a much more appealing base to the region than the county town of Gloucester (12 miles west), but this mid-tier town is unlikely to be the highlight of your trip.
Central Cheltenham extends around the grand tree-lined Promenade, at the southern end of which lies the fashionable Montpellier area.