Living in Cheltenham, we know it well and I also know quite a lot of its history: how it became a famous spa town during the Regency era (early 1800s) and how a lot of its buildings sprung up during those relatively recent times.
When we were invited on a Regency Bike Tour of the town with Compass Holidays and the Bicycle Hub, we jumped at the chance. The tour, which includes a detailed guide and mobile app, follows a six-mile route along the Honeybourne Line where you can see the recent street art from the Cheltenham Paint Festival. It then follows through the beautiful Pittville park and along the Regency streets to Montpellier.
As a family, we went along on a sunny Sunday which was also a race day (I would probably avoid race days as there are lots of cars in town!) The Bicycle Hub is behind Cheltenham Spa Railway Station and we were all kitted out with bikes and a trailer for my 3-year-old son to ride in.
We followed a map on the Compass Holidays app which includes quite a lot of history about the places you pass along with information on where to eat and drink. The tour could easily take all day as you stop to read the guide and enjoy the many cafes along the route.
Interesting history that we read about includes how Pittville Pump Room was intended as a focal point for the ‘world’s first garden suburb’ with over 600 houses. However, the developer, Joseph Pitt was left in severe financial difficulties following an economic depression and was unable to complete his plans.
In the guide, there is a lot more history to learn about and you can read it as you stop along the way. It would have been great to have a ‘audio’ version of this that you could listen to as we went along. Maybe that’s something for the future!
Along with the map and guide in the mobile app, you can click on a list of ‘Arts and Culture’ places to visit including Holst Birthplace Museum, and The Wilson Museum along with Sandford Parks Lido. There’s also a list of ‘Food and Drink’ places in Cheltenham from restaurants to cafes. If you were staying in Cheltenham, the app would also be good to use if you were walking around the town. You can also click on ‘Gardens’ for a list to visit.
Overall, we really enjoyed it as we love getting out and about with the family. My husband and I enjoy reading to our kids from a guide book (I think they enjoy it too!) I would recommend this mainly to people visiting the town but perhaps people who live here and want to know more history too.