Cheltenham audio tour: Discovering Cheltenham: The Party Capital of Regency Era England

Discovering Cheltenham: The Party Capital of Regency Era England

Walking Tour

90 mins

About the Tour

Why did an obscure one-street town in Gloucestershire become the go-to party destination of Regency high society? On this walking tour, you’ll discover how the humble pigeon transformed Cheltenham into a leading resort town, with a Regency building boom that attracted royal patronage. The great and the good of the Regency era flocked to Cheltenham to enjoy the benefits of its mineral waters, to find marriage partners, and to party.

This walking tour traces the town’s modest origins as a royal Saxon estate, its growth into a one-street market-town and, along with the discovery of mineral waters, its evolution into the architectural gem and cultural destination that it is today. Along the way, you’ll see sweeping Regency terraces, magnificent parks, grand promenades, historical spa buildings, and chic shopping arcades. You’ll also hear about famous Cheltenham residents like Dr Edward Jenner, the inventor of the vaccine, Gustav Holst, composer of ‘The Planets’, Brian Jones, founder of the Rolling Stones, and John Hampton’s exploding hot-air balloon and subsequent death-defying parachute jump.

Join me as we follow in the footsteps of England’s high society.

Tour Producer


Owen Bowles

I'm a Blue Badge Tourist Guide for the Heart of England region, offering tours of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution in Shropshire, and the West Midlands' cities of Birmingham and Coventry.

Major Landmarks

  • Royal Crescent

  • Montpellier Arcade

  • Montpellier Walk and the Caryatids

  • Queen's Hotel

Directions to Starting Point

The nearest large car park is the NCP Car Park in the Brewery Quarter, Monson Ave, Cheltenham GL50 4EJ. It is an 8-minute walk to the Wilson Museum in Clarence St, GL50 3JT.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

If you would like to experience some fine dining, try No. 3 Royal Crescent - a restaurant run by former England rugby player and 2011 Masterchef winner, Phil Vickery. Bookings recommended:

If in need of liquid refreshment, take tea in the stylish surroundings of the Queen's Hotel on the route.

Best time of day

This tour can be walked all year and best enjoyed in dry weather as there is little shelter on route. Cheltenham hosts many festivals throughout the year, so at times it may be crowded. Look up the Visit Cheltenham website to check the dates and times of the festivals:


This walking tour involves crossing a number of roads. Please cross at designated crossing areas, indicated by lowered kerbstones, and use traffic islands and refuges wherever possible.


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Discovering Cheltenham: The Party Capital of Regency Era England