Light Up Cheltenham | Our favourite lit up locations this year!
Famous for being a quintessentially English and a traditional spa town, Cheltenham sits on the edge of the Cotswolds and is steeped in historical charm. It’s vibrant modernity alongside its rich heritage, makes it a perfect place to spend time and explore.
For the past few years, Cheltenham has hosted the ‘Light Up Cheltenham’ event which focuses on the amazing architecture and beauty of the town.
Here are our top 5 recommendations for places to visit this February with the spectacular light displays emphasising everything that Cheltenham has to offer:
1. The Brewery Quarter
The Brewery Quarter is now a bustling centre for shopping and tucking into some delicious food, but up until 1998, it was famous for brewing, hence the name. Founded in 1760 as Gardener’s Brewery, it was Cheltenham’s first working brewery and went through several different names and identities. It flourished and expanded for hundreds of years until brewing stopped in 1998. The Brewery Quarter has been a hub for entertainment and leisure since the early 2000s and has recently had a revamp. The complex lends itself perfectly to being lit up and is definitely worthy of a visit during the Light Up event.
2. The Promenade
Dating back to 1818, Cheltenham’s Promenade and tree-lined avenue is one of the town’s most beautiful spots. The Promenade balances the modern world with that of the past. Cafes, bars and shops blend in perfectly to the historic façade, earning the street the reputation for being one of the best shopping streets in the UK. Regency buildings line the promenade with the perfectly preserved structures such as the Town Hall and the Municipal building, the street looks fabulous under the lights!
3. The Neptune Fountain
The Neptune Fountain truly is the spectacle of the Light Up Cheltenham festival. Its Italian inspiration has been heavily debated but shows stark similarities to both the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the Piazza Della Signoria in Florence, but this does not take away from the craftmanship of the fountain. It sits at the end of the Promenade and is carved from Portland stone. It is statuesque in nature, which when lit up in multi-coloured lights, makes it well worth the visit.
4. Cheltenham Town Hall
The Town Hall makes it into our top 5 places to visit due to its correlation with the rich heritage of Cheltenham. Built in 1902-1903, the Town Hall was built with the sole purpose to accommodate the local people and allow balls and concerts to take place there, making it the sole location of the town’s social calendar. Unlike most Town Halls, Cheltenham Town Hall is not the seat of the borough council but instead a public venue, making it very unusual. It’s large architectural presence on the landscape of Cheltenham makes it perfect to visit, and an ideal Instagram photo spot when lit up in all its glory.
5. Queens Hotel
Like the Town Hall, the Queen’s Hotel’s history is closely linked to the popularity of Cheltenham. It was built on the original site of the Sherborne Spa, along the Promenade and was the playground for nobility and royalty for a long time. It opened its doors in 1838, the same year as Queen Victoria’s coronation, and its popularity soared. It served as a social refuge for women in WW1 and even later, a military hospital. The exterior of the Hotel was inspired by the Temple of Jupiter in Rome, and as a result is a marvel to look at; it makes an impact and most definitely holds its own among the many other beautiful buildings in its vicinity.
The Light Up Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest events on Cheltenham’s social calendar and teaches the history of the town as well as celebrating the culture and architecture by both literally and metaphorically putting a spotlight on it.