Cheltenham is often known for its architecture and stunning buildings, but did you know that the town also has over 600 acres of parks and gardens for you to explore?
In fact, it’s often called ‘The Garden Town of England’!
With that in mind, here are four Cheltenham parks and gardens you absolutely must visit…
1. Pittville Park
Pittville Park really steals the show when it comes to parks and gardens in Cheltenham.
Open to the public since 1825, it’s (by far) the largest park in the town. There’s lots to see here including a canal, lake, myriad of cafes and tea rooms, as well as Pittville Pump Room, a magnificent example of Regency architecture in Cheltenham and a Grade 1 listed building.
The Pump Room houses the spa waters that really helped to put Cheltenham on the map in the 18th century, and occasionally throughout the year, you’re allowed to venture inside to have a taste. (We’re reliably informed that it’s disgusting and very pungent!)
Interestingly, it’s not just the Pump Room that has a historic status. Pittville Park itself has been given a Grade 2 listed status under the English Heritage Register of historic parks and gardens.
Aside from all the natural and historic beauties to behold, it’s also a great park for those of you visiting with children as it houses a large play park alongside bird aviaries and rabbit pens.
During your visit, we’d highly recommend stopping off at The Boathouse Cafe, a charming riverside cafe, with great views and row boats available to hire.
2. Montpellier Gardens
Montpellier Gardens is less of a grand park to visit than Pittville Park, but its appeal lies with something else that’s just as exciting.
These gardens are often home to Cheltenham’s free festivals that happen throughout the year, so if you’re visiting at the same time as one of these festivals is on, then you’re in for a real treat.
During other times of the year, Montpellier Gardens is much more understated, making it the perfect place to while away a few hours with a picnic and good book.
When visiting, we’d recommend getting some ice cream from The Garden Cafe… it’s delicious and very well priced!
3. Imperial Gardens
Found close by to both the town centre and the famous Promenade, the Imperial Gardens are another excellent park area you must visit when in Cheltenham.
These gardens are really well looked after, which means even if you’re visiting as late as autumn or winter, you’ll still be able to see beautiful flowers in bloom. In fact, around 25,000 flowers are planted every year!
Surrounding the Imperial Gardens are some of Cheltenham’s finest examples of Regency architecture, making for some interesting photos that blend nature with traditional town life.
Similarly to the Montpellier Gardens, the Imperial Gardens also play host to much of Cheltenham’s festival calendar, giving it extra buzz at those times.
While you’re in this area, you should stroll along the street called Board Walk, which is near to the gardens. Keep going right to the end on the Eastern side and you’ll find the Imperial Fountain, which is practically hidden behind a corner and has a very interesting history.
The plaque next to the fountain reads:
“According to tradition, this marble fountain was looted from Italy by the French in 1800. It was captured by the English while on its way to France and later sold to a Cheltenham solicitor, Thomas Henney. In 1826 Henney installed the fountain in a pavilion near the Imperial Spa, now the site of the Queen’s Hotel. In 1834 it was moved to the Montpellier Gardens. It was repaired in 1902 and put on display in the Town Hall until 1926, when it was moved to the public library. It has now been restored and is on loan from Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museums.”
4. Sandford Park
And finally, the last park you must visit, is Sandford Park. This is one of the lesser known parks in Cheltenham, which means it offers a quiet rest area to those who go in search of it.
There are three main sections within the ornamental side of the park hosting summer blooms, plenty of quiet seating areas, a fountain and even edible herbs and plants you’re welcome to pick.
Nearby, there’s the Sandford Parks Lido, which is great for lane swimming during the warmer months. There’s even an adult dog swim during the autumn (just before the lido closes for the winter).
Well, there you have it… the four Cheltenham parks and gardens you absolutely must visit! Which one are you most excited to see first? Let us know in the comments…
Are you looking for more fun things to do in Cheltenham? Take a look at our other blog post!
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