Famous for its municipal gardens and elegant Regency architecture, this Gloucestershire Spa town is regularly cited as one of the best places to bring up a family in the UK. With its array of festivals and events, which range from music, to literature, film, food and drink and more, it’s sometimes dubbed the “cultural centre of the Cotswolds”. That combined with its quality schools—including Pate’s Grammar School, private schools such as Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Cheltenham College and Dean Close as well as numerous well regarded primary schools such as the Ofsted Outstanding rated Leckhampton Primary School—make it an ideal place to buy or rent a townhouse.
The most prominent event in Cheltenham’s calendar is, of course, The Cheltenham Festival. Considered the highlight of the jump racing season, it brings together the finest horses, jockeys and trainers to battle it out over 4 days at the world-famous racecourse for the highest honours in the racing season. The first festival took place at Prestbury Park in 1911 while the Cheltenham Gold Cup was introduced in 1924. Since then, the event has grown and is widely regarded as one of the UK’s premier sporting events. It is now the Gloucestershire’s biggest single revenue earning event generating an estimated £50m for local hotels, shops and restaurants. This year’s meeting runs from today (March 13th) until Friday (March 16th).
Beyond horse racing, work has begun on a £700,000 improvement project to give the centre of Cheltenham a facelift. The project will be delivered in phases with the first expected to be completed in autumn this year. It’s location on the edge of the Cotswolds’ AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is also a large part of the town’s appeal.
Situated off Junction 10 and 11 of the M5 it has excellent links to Birmingham and Bristol and the motorway network. Once the electrification of the train line to London Paddington is complete, the fastest journey to the capital will take just under 2 hrs. Train times to Birmingham and Bristol are from 45 minutes. Alongside the above-mentioned facelift of the high street, John Lewis is set to open their new department store in the centre of town this spring and high-end London restaurant group The Ivy opened a new location in the impressive Rotunda building in December 2017. With brands such as these choosing to open in Cheltenham and improved accessibility for commuters it seems that the appeal of the town can only continue to increase.
The other big draw for Cheltenham is property prices: when comparing average costs per square foot in the best areas of the town (between £370 – £500 per square foot for houses) with those of Oxford (anything up to £1200 per square foot), Cheltenham currently offers a great deal more value.
The Buying Solution’s Cotswold team is able to find properties to buy for families with school-age children, as well as downsizers moving from the surrounding countryside to be closer to town-centre amenities, and investment properties. With our rental search service, we are also able to track down the perfect rental property in Cheltenham which is often the sensible solution for families looking to secure homes quickly for schooling needs.
A brief guide to some of the prime areas of Cheltenham:
Montpellier and Tivoli
Historically the most fashionable area, Montpellier is home to the pleasure gardens and the Rotunda as well as a clutch of independent boutiques and specialist shops and restaurants; it’s also blessed with a number of Georgian townhouses which are characterised by white painted stucco facades and generous sash windows. Some of the best addresses are Imperial Square, Montpellier Spa Road and Bayshill Road. The three leading private schools such as Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Cheltenham College and Dean Close as well as the popular Airthrie Preparatory school are on the doorstep. Tivoli, on the edge of Montpellier, has always been popular with young professionals and is becoming increasingly more so with downsizers.
Average price per sq ft: £400 – £600.
Set around mid-19th century Suffolk Square, it’s known for its string of independent cafes and boutiques which bequeaths the area an artier, Bohemian air. The Suffolks is also home to Michelin-starred restaurant Le Champignon Sauvage. Several events are held throughout the year including a street fair.
Average price per sq ft: £400 – £450
Charlton Kings & Battledown
Once a village, but now part of the town, Charlton Kings lies on the south-eastern fringe of Cheltenham. With a mix of period cottages, Victorian and Edwardian houses and newer stock, the area is popular with families particularly looking in the catchment area for Balcarras, a secondary school rated Outstanding by Ofsted, and Charlton Kings Junior School as well as St Edwards School, an independent prep and senior school. Here you have the benefit of being able to walk directly into the surrounding countryside as well as into town.
Average price per sq ft: £400 – £420
A mile north of the town centre, and home to the 81-acre Pitville Park which boasts tennis courts, a boating lake and a play centre for children. This area is favoured by those who value green space over access to town centre amenities and is popular with families. Birkhampstead preparatory school is another draw to this area.
Average price per sq ft: £350
Situated to the north of Cheltenham Spa on the western edge of the Cotswold escarpment, this semi-rural area is buffered by the Green Belt and in an area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty. This part of Cheltenham benefits enormously from key attractions including the Cotswold Way and Cheltenham Racecourse. Prestbury has seen a gradual but notable growth over the past 40 years as Cheltenham has encroached. This area is appealing to young families and downsizers as it has more of a village feel with amenities including pubs, butcher and shop. There is a combination of traditional period houses and cottages and newly constructed contemporary properties and it offers better value for money than other areas of the town.
Average price per sq ft: £300 – £350