The well-heeled spa town - famous for its Regency architecture - has plenty to offer buyers.
What does Gustav Holst, arts and crafts and horseracing have in common? The answer, of course, is Cheltenham – a very English spa town in Gloucestershire, which is either the birthplace or home to all three.
Famous for its Regency-style homes, Cheltenham boasts some of the most desirable housing in the whole of Britain. Period property in the town dates back to between 1800 and 1830 when King George IV was Prince Regent and is a continuation of the predating neo-classical Georgian style of housing.
Unsurprisingly, Cheltenham has also been recognised as the best place to raise a family and one of the safest place for students to attend university. But what can you expect if you are house hunting there?
To help navigate this property hotspot, our guide to Cheltenham identifies what’s currently available for first-time buyers, families and those looking to rent. You’ll also find average prices on all types of homes for buyers and renters, including the biggest discounts, as well as expert insight from locals.
Firstly, where is Cheltenham?
The town is situated on the outskirts of The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Gloucestershire. It sits 88 miles west-northwest of London, 38 miles northeast of Bristol and 41 miles south of Birmingham.
How much will it cost me?
For buyers, the current average asking price stands at £360,905. The table, below, shows how many properties have sold in Cheltenham over the past 12 months, the average sale price, the current average value based on Zoopla's data and how values are on the rise.
What about renters?
Renters will need to budget around £947 a month for a two-bedroom flat or £1,632 a month for a four-bedroom house.
Where to start your property search
If you want to get your hands on a period property, be prepared to pay a premium. The real cream of Cheltenham is probably Montpellier, which is adjacent to the town centre, with its affluent grand squares, crescents and streets brimming full of Regency-style homes.
Pittville, on the other side of the town centre, is another flagship example of a Regency-style housing and an affluent neighbourhood. Still central, Battledown is another good bet if you value a good dose of English elegance in your property. Here you’ll find late Victorian and Edwardian detached and semi-detached homes.
Also within a stone’s throw of Cheltenham town centre and Cheltenham Spa train station, is the residential area of St Mark’s. This isn’t first choice for Regency-style homes, but you’ll find a diverse range of property here - detached, semi-detached and terraced. Together with St Peter’s just further up towards the River Chelt, these areas are a popular choice among growing families.
The villages to the north of Cheltenham, most notably Prestbury and Swindon Village, offer the chance to buy even older property than the Regency-style homes. Here you’ll find a picturesque thatched cottages, little shops and centuries-old churches all set in agricultural land dating back to the Doomsday Book.
Up Hatherley on the opposite side of Cheltenham has seen considerable housing redevelopment from the post second world war years and up to the late 1990s. The result is a wide choice of affordable homes but still set within a village environment, close to the town centre – and with breathtaking views of Leckhampton Hill.
The Reddings is Cheltenham’s newest and probably most affordable suburb. Having been developed by George Wimpey in the early 1950s, the area is mainly comprised of modern redbrick family homes, but is still surrounded by the greenery of the pasture farmland on which it was built.
Commuting into London
Travel in and out of Cheltenham
If you are driving to London, you can take the A436/A40 straight out of Cheltenham to Oxford, where you can meet the M40, taking you right into the west of the capital.
Locally, Cheltenham is easily accessible by foot or bicycle. In terms of public transport, the town centre and its outskirts are well-serviced by various bus routes.
Cheltenham has 14 Ofsted 'Outstanding' rated schools within three miles of the town. The Outstanding secondary schools are Belmont School (also primary), Balcarras School and Pate’s Grammar School. You can compare school and college performance on the Government website here.
Among the cultural treasures you’ll find in Cheltenham, is the Holst Birthplace Museum – dedicated to Gustav Holst, The Planets composer – and the Pittville Pump Room which is a venue for concerts, shows, dances and other events.
Cheltenham Town Hall is another iconic venue, with a year-round programme of events, while in summer, a visit to the art deco Lido at Sandford Park is a must.
Situated on the outskirts of the town is the legendary Cheltenham Racecourse, home to some of the best horse racing in the world, including the Cheltenham Races and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Legend has it that unassuming pigeons were influential in Cheltenham gaining its spa-town status. In the early 1700s, it is believed that locals were drawn to a robust-looking flock of pigeons pecking at salt on the nearby ground. Their curiosity paid off with the uncovering of the area’s natural spring water.
The spa became recognised in royal ranks with a visit from King George III in 1788. His five week stay and consumption of the water for medicinal purposes led to an explosion in the town’s popularity.
Where to eat, drink and make merry
If you’re feeling fancy, splash out and venture to Le Champion Sauvage, a two-Michelin starred restaurant, serving modern French cuisine. If you can’t get a table there, try Lumiere, another award-winning restaurant offering the best in British seasonal produce.
Indulge in an afternoon tea at the quirky Well Walk Tea Room or, for those thirsty for cocktails, Clarence Social is home to expert bartenders and a hidden speakeasy bar. For the craft ale lovers, head to the vibrant Bath Road area to find traditional pubs such as The Tivoli, the Jolly Brewmaster and The Royal Union.
Cheltenham is somewhat of a shopping haven with its blend of independent shops and modern retailers. Situated on the High Street, the Regent Shopping Centre hosts over 60 big-name retail stores whereas independent boutiques are spread across the rest of the town. Montpellier and The Suffolks are home to established antiques dealers and Cheltenham’s farmers market is regularly held on the Promenade.
Punters bet, on average, £150m a day at the annual Cheltenham Festival.
What's for sale…
... for the first-time buyer?
First-time buyers will be spoilt by this stunning two-bedroom terraced house. The contemporary interior design means there’s no renovation necessary, leaving buyers to enjoy the enviable location. The trendy bars and shops of Bath Road are within walking distance, while Cheltenham town centre is less than a mile away.
Available via Elliot Oliver Sales and Lettings
... for the family?
Situated in popular Leckhampton, this beautifully refurbished three-bedroom home offers spacious living and a family-friendly garden perfect for the summer. With the option of several ‘Outstanding’ graded local primary schools, this property is an ideal place to raise a family.
Available via Andrews
... for renters?
Renting in Cheltenham doesn’t have to mean foregoing period property. This apartment offers comfortable living in the exclusive location of Montpellier, making it appealing for those who want to be immersed in the charm and heritage synonymous with the town.
Available via Leaders
... with the biggest discount?
Originally on the market for £150,000, this charming apartment within a short walk of the town centre has seen its asking price reduced by £40,000. The low maintenance property is ideal for a first-time buyer or could be a good investment.
Available via RA Bennett & Partners
The most popular Cheltenham property currently for sale is...
This sublime home is turning heads for good reason. Set on the private Battledown estate, the villa combines traditional elegance with high specification fixtures and fittings. Complete with a swimming pool, this six-bedroom property offers the very best in luxury living against the backdrop of beautiful surroundings.
Available via Kingsley Adams
The most expensive streets to buy...