Pitch, putt, swim, row, bounce, bowl, walk, stroll, cower, hike, cycle and strut your way around Cheltenham with our guide to the Regency town’s activities. We pick out some of our favourite outdoor options, as well as indoor alternatives too.
Activities in Cheltenham
Escape to the great outdoors and get involved in some of Cheltenham’s excellent outdoor activities. If you like golf, Cleeve Hill Golf Club is an inland links course with some seriously impressive views, thanks to the fact that it’s at the highest point in Gloucestershire.
On a clear day, you can see as far north as Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Severn Bridge to the south. Be warned, the course can be a challenge for even the most accomplished golfer – and on a windy day, it can be an unforgiving mistress – but, if you’re given the chance, don’t turn down the opportunity of a round at one of the best courses in Britain.
Pittville Pump House and its park are two of the finest attractions in Cheltenham, and that’s without even taking into account The Boathouse, where you can enjoy a round of mini-golf, play a game of tennis, relax over a day’s fishing, or – from spring through to autumn – rent a boat and row out onto the lake.
On the other side of the town, Sandford Parks Lido is one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in the country and consists of a 50-metre main pool, a children’s pool and a separate paddling pool. Visitors are often surprised to discover that all of the pools are heated to 21ºC and have been ever since the Lido first fired up its coal boiler.
Our last recommendation is just over half an hour’s drive from all of our hotels in Cheltenham. Nevertheless, Cotswold Farm Park more than makes the grade and is well worth taking the time to visit, particularly if you’re staying in Cheltenham with a young family. The farm is the home of Adam Henson, the nation’s favourite farmer, and host of popular TV programmes, including Countryfile. While you’re there, you can learn about the farm’s rare breeds, and get right up close to all your favourite farmland animals in the petting section.
Pittville Pump Room
Sandford Parks Lido
Cotswold Farm Park
While we can promise plenty of great days out in Colchester, one thing that’s never guaranteed is the weather. If it takes a turn for the worse, and you’re looking for something to do indoors, there are still some great options to choose from. We’ll get started with a bit of an oddball. Rollerworld is one of Europe’s finest roller skating rinks and home to the UK’s only perfectly flat, Olympic-standard maple wood floor. It hosts a roller disco every Friday and Saturday night, so dig out your flares, book yourself in for a perm, pop that collar, and pop on down to bust a move to some disco grooves.
If you’re staying at our Colchester Cowdray Avenue hotel there are a couple of fun options right on your doorstep. If you want to take part in the trampolining craze that’s taking the country by storm then head over to Jump Street Colchester. It’s a huge indoor park practically covered from floor to ceiling in trampolines. You can go for a casual jump around, or get competitive in a game of dodgeball, defy the rules of gravity and master the slam dunk, or take part in one of their exciting but exhausting fitness classes. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, your other Cowdray Avenue option is Tenpin Colchester. It has a fully licensed bar, plenty of lanes to choose from, free parking, pool tables, and an amusement arcade.
As part of Cheltenham’s initiative to make its residents more active and healthy, the town hosts the Cheltenham Festival of Cyclingevery year. There is a wide range of events for people of all ages and cycling ability to get involved in. It coincides with the Tour of Britain, and the renowned race’s stage seven finish line is right in the town centre.
If you’re interested in doing some cycling yourself, there are some great routes for you to tackle. The Cheltenham Flat Loops Cycle Route is a 12-mile circuit which circumvents the town centre and takes you right past Cheltenham Racecourse. It’s almost entirely flat ground, takes an easygoing hour to complete, and has minimal traffic so it’s great for beginners.
Slightly more of a challenge is the Cheltenham Hill Climb Blitz Cycle Route. The circuit takes one to two hours to complete. It begins at Cheltenham Racecourse before heading north, around Alderton and back through Winchcombe. Just like the slightly longer Cheltenham to Winchcombe Arch Cycle Route, it boasts incredible scenic views and a thigh-burning climb up Cleeve Hill.
With the Cotswolds on the town’s doorstep, there’s no excuse for not exploring this most picturesque corner of the great British countryside. The Cotswolds and Gloucestershire Tourist Guide Association has a team of nearly 20 specially trained, fully qualified guides, each offering a different take on the Regency town and its surrounding area.
It means you can pick your guide to suit you, depending on whether you want to go hiking in the Cotswolds, or perhaps to delve into the political history of Cheltenham.
Alternatively, you could discover the spooky side of Cheltenham by taking part in a Cheltenham Ghost Tour. Setting off from the corner of the Imperial Gardens, it takes you around the town to some haunted hotspots while talking you through their horrible histories.