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Cheltenham (England)

Cheltenham is located in the South West of England in Gloucestershire in the heart of the Cotswolds,an area of outstanding beauty.150km from London,it is within easy reach of Oxford and Wales.It has a population of 115300.

A spa town since the discovery of the natural spring in 1716, Cheltenham is famous for its Regency architecture, a rich heritage with coloured houses superbly decorated with ironwork balconies: 200 buildings are listed.

Cheltenham is a cultural centre of international repute hosting high standard festivals.

  • Cheltenham music festival established in 1945. This festival of classical and contemporary music is held in July. It is among the best in the UK.
  • The Times Festival of literature created in 1949 is held every year in October. It is the largest and most popular literary event in Britain.
  • The International Jazz festival began in 1996.It takes place the first weekend in May. It features world famous performers.
  • The Festival of Sciences created in 2002 gathers international leading scientists for 6 days in June.
  • The Folk festival started in 1997 offers over a weekend in February, the very best of traditional folk music, song and dance with workshops open to the public.

Cheltenham offers a wide range of attractions.

  • The Cheltenham Art Gallery Museum houses local history and a nationally important collection on the Arts and Crafts movement (William Morris).
  • The Gustav Holst birthplace Museum is devoted to the life and work of the composer of « The Planets ».
  • Pittville Pump Room and Museum : one of the most beautiful Regency buildings in Cheltenham, and The Townhall of baroque style built at the turn of the 20th century, play host to a rich programme of festivals, concerts, dance, and exhibitions throughout the year.
  • The Everyman Theatre opened in 1891, stages a varied choice of music events, dance, drama, comedy and a pantomime at Christmas.
  • The Playhouse Theatre is the base for Cheltenham's amateur companies.

Cheltenham's motto « Salubritas et Eruditio » (« Health and Education), the books on the Coat of Arms show the importance that has been given to education and teaching for a very long time. Among Cheltenham‘s prestigious schools and colleges :

  • Pate's Grammar School was founded in 1574.
  • Cheltenham College, The Ladies'College, Dean Close Schools date back to the Victorian era.

Cheltenham is a student town open to the world :

  • The University of Gloucestershire spreads on 3 campuses: 2 are in Cheltenham, 1 is in Gloucester, the capital city of Gloucestershire.
  • Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology is one of the most important colleges of further education in the country.

Sports play an important part in the life of the city and contribute to its worldwide fame.

  • The Cricket Festival, the oldest cricket festival in the world (1872) is held every July on the grounds of Cheltenham College.
  • Cheltenham Racecourse « home of National Jump Racing » hosts in March the prestigious four-day National Hunt Festival with the Cheltenham Gold Cup : the highlight of the festival and of the jumping season.

In addition to the races, the Racecourse plays host to numerous events: music festivals, fashion fairs, charity balls, concerts...

On May 23rd 2012, the Olympic Flame was welcomed at Cheltenham racecourse as part of its journey across the UK.

Zara Philipps carrying the Olympic Flame, rode into the racecourse on her favourite horse « Toytown ».Zara Philipps is Queen Elisabeth II's eldest granddaughter and Princess Ann's daughter. She lives in Gloucestershire. In 2006, she won the Eventing World Championship. In July 2012 in London, she won a silver medal at the Eventing Olympic competition with the Eventing British Equestrian Team.

Cheltenham offers multiple leisure and sporting facilities : playing fields, golf courses, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gyms...

The variety of clubs, the extensive associative life allows activities to suit all tastes.

The magnificent parks and gardens, the tree lined avenues, the floral displays, the hanging baskets bring Cheltenham its national fame. The city has won many national awards.

Cheltenham is renowned for its stylish shopping on the High Street, on the Promenade, in the Montpellier or Suffolk areas.

There is always something to do at any time day or night.The city offers a wide choice of excellent cosmopolitan restaurants, trendy wine bars, brasseries, pavement cafés, pubs serving food, pubs with live music, night clubs.

Annecy and Cheltenham have been twinned since 17 June 1956.

Both Town Councils organize a summer work placement exchange : students from each town work in the council services for a month. Read their report here (pdf-442 Ko).

Every year in July, the town of Annecy arranges a 3 weeks' language course at the International Summer School of Gloucestershire College in Cheltenham. The French students stay with local host families.

Every summer, Annecy plays host to the Rencontres Européennes  « a European Get together »for youngsters from all of Annecy's twin towns.