*Hotel stay complimentary, but all thoughts my own*
Cheltenham is somewhere that I’ve always heard lovely things about, but never quite managed to make the visit across the country to tick off. Normally, if I’m venturing that far west from London (and ticking the spa town box too), it’s for a visit to Bath- a treasure known for it’s architecture, baths and rolling greenery in the textbook bucolic countryside setting.
But, head north a little and you’ll reach Cheltenham- a beauty spot known for ticking many of those boxes too (if you replace baths for their brilliant Sanford Parks Lido instead).
A stones throw away from the Cotswolds and largely known for it’s infamous races and festival- it truly is somewhere Joe and I fell in love with, and made for the perfect staycation slumber spot…
After kindly being invited by no. 38 The Park for a stay in their park side property, we couldn’t have asked for a better, or more warm and homely place to rest our heads. Having seen this place pop up time and time again, we felt incredibly lucky to be staying the night- and being just a short walk from the station, made for the perfect location for both exploring and getting around. With our room being suitably fit for a queen, the roll top bath and open bathroom shower were comfortably bigger than almost the whole of the upstairs of our house- and had me questioning, how clean is TOO CLEAN (and feeling extremely spoilt too) the headboard! The wardrobes! On top of that, in the morning you also have orange juice and pastries delivered to your room- and if that ain’t the perfect start to the morning, I don’t know what is.
We were also offered diner the hotel’s beautiful restaurant, Prithvi– one of the most delicious Indian restaurants we’ve had the pleasure of visiting- with a truly refined and delicate menu, with some of the lightest most flavoursome food we’ve both had in an intimate setting (there’s only about 12 tables, so you really feel like you’re getting a true experience). If you’re after a special meal in Cheltenham, this has to be on your list.
One place that came up time and time again with recommendations was Olive clothing. Having shopped with the brand since I started blogging 9 years ago, their smock dresses and cute-as-a-button designs have always had a place in my heart. Although the store was beautifully merchandised with gorgeous product (including accessories), I’m always disappointed with their size selection (with most items being a ‘one size’). I didn’t want to not include it in this guide as I know so, so many people mentioned it- but I also felt it important to flag this, as it’s definitely something that’s puzzled me from such an otherwise lovely brand, and is definitely something to be mindful of when visiting.
It’s very rare when we visit somewhere that we have time to utilize the outdoor spaces and scenery, but with our hotel being so close to Cheltenham’s Pitville Park and Pump Rooms, it felt rude to not indulge the not-rainy weather and take a little stroll. It’s incredibly easy to see why this park is so well loved- with a boating lake, enormous stretches of greenery and the historic Pump Rooms (which we managed to poke our heads into), it’s the perfect spot for a sunny day picnic.
Popping up time and time again with recommendations was Baker & Graze, a bakery turned café in the heart of Cheltenham’s Montpellier. Although we didn’t have time for a proper sit down breakfast (the bacon fried bread and ricotta pancakes had me at hello) we did stop by for a couple of their incredible donuts, taking a passion fruit cream and rhubarb for the road, which was worth the visit alone.
Under the same umbrella as no. 38 The Park, comes no. 131. The Lucky Onion’s sister hotel and restaurant is in the heart of town and boasts the most beautiful bar and lunch spot after a morning of exploring. Opting for the risotto with FRIED CHEESE BALLS ON TOP, the menu is fuelled on quintessentially British favourites and much loved favourites (with fresh cakes and tea, in case you’re after some ladies who lunch sophistication too).
After stumbling across their gorgeous menswear store and picking up my brother a birthday present, Joe and I headed to The Union Project’s second shop which is solely design and home focused- HEAVEN. With picks from Ferm, Hay and endless beautiful Copenhagen brands I’m sure I wouldn’t see anywhere other than Brittany Bathgate’s feed (no, really) we could have gone absolutely ham in here (for want of a better phrase, pardon the brashness) and completely fell in love.
Some other beautiful spots to add to your must-visit list:
• Botanica: Serving coffee from Girls Who Grind and filled with houseplants, what more could you want from a morning wake up?
• The Daffodil: Situated in a an old 1920’s art deco cinema, this restaurant is a truly special place to go for dinner, lunch or drinks.
• Along with: Wild Beer at Jessop House, The Cheltenham Stable, Vinegar Hill and The Coconut Tree