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A Weekend Away in Cheltenham

8 November 2017 | Katie Da Cunha Lewin

Cheltenham may be famous for the races, its literary festival and the Ladies College, but the city offers a lot more than horses, books and elocution lessons. With its neat architecture, manicured gardens, and close proximity to the countryside, Cheltenham is a great place for a busy weekend away.

First things first, no visit to Cheltenham is complete without a visit to the Hare and Minotaur statue in the centre of town. Created by Sophie Ryder, a Gloucestershire-based artist, the statue was acquired in 1998 after the popularity of her 1995 exhibition. Now placed in the busy town centre, the bronze statue sees the mythological minotaur nestled closely to the hare, reminiscent of an old couple sitting on a bench. Any Cheltenhammer worth their salt will know about this unusual centrepiece to their town.


Image credit: muffin/ via Flickr

Once you’ve got your bearings, it might be time to take in some history: why not have a look at the birthplace of one of Cheltenham’s most famous sons at the Holst Museum. Best known for his composition The Planet, Gustav Holst was born in this house in 1874. Or, if you want some art, why not visit The Wilson, Cheltenham’s art gallery and museum.


Image credit: Bill Bagshaw
 
Clearly an important part of any weekend is the food. Why not head over to Café Moochoo for a coffee and a cake, or check out Huffkins for a pasty or afternoon tea. For dinner, treat yourself and enjoy a fine dining experience at Lumiere. Using only the very best in seasonal, British produce, the award-winning restaurant serves contemporary cuisine which is sure to leave a lasting impression. Alternatively, head to Indian restaurant Koloshi. Although a little out of the way, it is well worth a visit, particularly if you’re in the mood for an amazing fish curry.


Image credit: Koloshi Restaurant
 
For a slower way of seeing Cheltenham and the surrounding gorgeous countryside, try the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway. This sweet, old-fashioned train runs for 24 miles from Cheltenham to Laverton, and you can pick it up at any point along the line. The railway is run by volunteers, all of whom are train enthusiasts and really care about the train and your experience. So sit back and enjoy the quiet rumble as the train makes its way through fields and hills.
 
If you are interested in live music, then you’ll want to check out the 2 Pigs, an alternative music venue on Church Street. This venue has been hosting live bands for 20 years, as well as weird and wonderful club nights, including Judder, the always popular cosplay night.

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