As our 50 things to do in Cheltenham guide continues, we decided to bring you an eclectic mix of places to visit with the emphasis on places to dine, shop, and enjoy a drink or two in traditional English pubs. Of course, while we think these places are amongst the best that Cheltenham may offer, you may prefer to compile your own list of best places to dine and enjoy a glass of wine and that is part of the fun of exploring a new area. All kinds of cuisine are catered for and all price ranges are covered. At certain times of the year such as the Cheltenham races, these places are likely to be very busy and full of high-spirited race goers. Never fear though because as the visiting Irish are wont to say, it will be mighty craic, and you may get a tip for the races as well.
Onwards then we go on our voyage of discovery starting with attraction number 32.
- 32. John Higgs Tombstone – We had to include this oddity, which is hidden in the graveyard next to St Mary’s Church. It is a headstone of a man called John Higgs who died in 1825, occupation pig killer! His epitaph reads, “Here lies John Higgs,” it says. “For killing pigs was his delight / both morning, afternoon and night”. It will be a conversation piece for openers in the pub anyway.
- 33. Pub Grub – There are many excellent places for authentic pub grub but we like The Royal Well Tavern, which serves a fusion of French and British cuisine with honest to goodness ingredients. Located at Royal Well Place, the restaurant offers a fixed price menu until 7pm, which offers terrific value. Sirloin steak and chips to duck rillettes on toast ensure all appetites are catered for.
- 34. Touch of the Med in Cheltenham – Brosh is a restaurant with an Eastern Mediterranean menu offering a meze of babaganush (aubergine and garlic dip) hummus, falafel and carrot and coriander salad and authentic east meets west cuisine.
- 35. Fine Dining – Try the Michelin 2 star Le Champignon Sauvage where the three-course menu is reasonably priced. They offer the freshest of ingredients sourced locally. The two star chef Everitt-Matthias handpicks wild fruit and garlic for the restaurant frequently.
- 36. Montpellier Shopping – Get your boutique buzz in this area where there are several unique outlets in the quaint Courtyard Mall. From the couture of Caroline Charles to Pretty Special who sell organic baby wear there is a wealth of design on offer at purse friendly prices.
- 37. Enjoy a Pint in a Classic Pub – The Royal Oak is a favourite with race goers before the starting pistol goes off on race day. The pub boasts an array of fine pub food and real ales and has a fascinating history dating back to the Domesday Book.
- 38. A Glass of Wine – The trendy Montpellier Wine Bar attracts a stylish crowd who enjoy the wide selection of wine available. It is a great meeting spot for lunch and afternoon tea as well as an evening venue.
- 39. Indian Curry – Almost England’s national dish these days, Cheltenham boasts many Indian restaurants, said to be a legacy of the officers who retired to Cheltenham from the Raj. For something different, enjoy a Kingfisher Indian beer with your meal at a restaurant like Hassans.
- 40. Nightlife – Monty’s Brasserie is a popular cocktail bar and on the Promenade, the venue Subtone hosts four bars in a listed Regency townhouse. Located at Imperial Lane, the Boogie Lounge does music from the 70s to the 90s.
- 41. Playhouse Theatre – Situated in an historic building opened in 1806, the theatre was once the Montpellier Baths, a highly fashionable venue where mineral baths were enjoyed. The venue now plays host to many first class amateur theatre productions and is worth a visit for the architecture and the entertainment.
- 42. Everyman Theatre – The Everyman Theatre was opened in 1891 with a production starring Lily Langtry. The Everyman is in good company with the London Hippodrome, London Coliseum, and London Palladium having been designed by architect Frank Matcham,. Famous stage personalities, such as Charlie Chaplin, took to the boards at the theatre. Today the venue is in full swing with many events taking place during music and arts festivals as well as the regular theatrical repertoire.