Any property search around Cheltenham Spa will soon uncover the town’s regency credentials. Buying agents looking for a genteel location needn’t look very much further.The name itself dates from 1716, when mineral springs were discovered and it became a fashionable resort. Although Cheltenham only has a population of around 117,000, from a property finder perspective it punches far above its weight.
The town is on the edge of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and when it comes to Regency architecture, it’s like a living museum, in the very best ways. While many tourists head south to Bath to sample the waters, Cheltenham has its own charming outlet, the Pittville Pump Room, which you can still visit today. When the town first became a spa, a visit from George III and Charlotte, his Queen Consort meant that the location enjoyed royal approval.
Many parts of Cheltenham are a dream for a buying agent – they date from a more elegant time, with names like Lansdown Crescent, Charlton Park and Montpellier. Montpellier Gardens actually form part of the Cheltenham Central Conservation Area and many parts of the town have Green Belt designations along the edges.
If you’re a property buyer who loves festivals, Cheltenham is the perfect location.Horse racing enthusiasts and buying agents will know the town as the location of the Gold Cup, while any property buyers more at home with the literati know to make sure they’re in town in the autumn for the annual celebration of books, writers and all things “story”. Literary links include Alice in Wonderland – apparently Lewis Carroll was inspired to write the tale by a looking glass in a house in the town where he regularly stayed.
Other festivals to keep property buyers entertained celebrate music, cricket, cheese and chili; beer; gin and tonic, wine; trees; comedy; jazz, poetry, cycling, steam, perfoming arts, science, food and drink; balloon; and spiritual life.
Sports are important here too. Cheltenham is home to one of the oldest croquet clubs in the country, and the Head Quarters of the sport are here. There are also excellent tennis and swimming facilities. One of the largest outdoor pools in England, the Sandford Parks Lido, is home to the swimming and water polo club.
For property finders who need to take the transport perspective into account in a major way, Cheltenham is extremely accessible.
It’s extremely easy to reach Gloucester, Bristol, Swindon, Cardiff Central, London Paddington, Wales, and the Midlands. Cheltenham is right next to the M5 and the A417, and very close to the A40 for those property finders who need to make sure Oxford is not too far away. For property searchers with a little more time on their hands, then a trip on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway allows you to see the gently rolling countryside at your leisure.
From an educational point of view, property buyers can be reassured that Cheltenham is most definitely on the map. There are several very highly regarded establishments here, like Pate’s Grammar School, Dean Close School, and Cheltenham Ladies College. Cheltenham is also home to the University of Gloucestershire.
Fine diners are spoiled for choice – choose French cuisine, tapas, pan Asian, Indian, Italian, Japanese, veggie/vegan, Mediterranean, Thai, Malasysian and vintage retro. Lunch or dine at high street chains, traditional tea rooms, or quaint rural pubs, with log fires, snugs and great food, washing your meals down with a choice of beers, cider and local cordials.
Discerning shopaholics can browse dozens of antique and vintage stores. There are plenty of top-end high street brands lining the streets too, as well as exclusive designer jewellery stores, high end cosmetics, unique gift shops, vintage and cutting-edge clothing boutiques. There are even several specialist artisan stores like bakers, butchers and cheesemongers, florists and delis. There are a couple of dedicated fancy dress shops, a toy shop, an old fashioned sweet shop, and even a tattoo parlour. There are also numerous spas and health centres, hair salons and traditional barbers in the heart of town, perfect to take a break from the serious business of property searching.
The town is also known as very safe overall – with GCHQ as a major employer, snug inside its “doughnut” shaped headquarters, property buyers wouldn’t really expect otherwise. Property buyers can also take comfort from the fact that the climate is relatively mild and warm, although notoriously damp on occasions. (Remember the childhood nursery rhyme about Dr Foster visiting Gloucester? Well, that’s the next major town along the M5…)