Surrounded by picture-postcard views of Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, the affluent town of Cheltenham is an urban idyll for both residents and visitors alike.
With the Cotswolds on its doorstep and mineral springs beneath its foundations, perhaps it comes as no surprise that the town motto translates from the latin to “Health and Education”.
In fact much of Cheltenham’s growth came about as a direct result of its spa town status: when springs were discovered under Cheltenham in the early 18th century it brought about a huge influx of health-conscious aristocracy hoping to gain benefit from the local water’s mineral wealth.
These days the water is no longer taken, but the town’s attraction to tourists remains, holding as it does a variety of festivals throughout the year, from jazz to folk, science to iterature.
Cheltenham has a reputation as a seat of learning because of renowned institutions such as Dean Close School and the Cheltenham Ladies College, both of which have taught for more than two centuries.
In part because of its location, and partly because of good schools the town has developed into an extremely affluent part of the country.
Just outside town you can find Cheltenham’s other famous sight – Cheltenham racecourse, which is home to British jump (National Hunt) racing. Every March the racecourse plays host to its blue riband event: The Cheltenham Festival, included in which is the Cheltenham Gold Cup – nationally one of the biggest races of the season.
Due to their country’s links to racing and the festival’s proximity to St Patrick’s Day, there are always many Irish visitors to Cheltenham during this period.
Cheltenham has been home to a few famous faces, from vaccine-pioneering doctor Edward Jenner to the late Rolling Stones Drummer Brian Jones.