Things to do for families around Cheltenham?

(15 Posts)
Threecouldbefour Mon 24-Aug-20 14:04:53


We are contemplating a move to Cheltenham. Where we have lived for the last 6 years hasn't been great and we feel as though there is so little to do for families unless you want to drive 30 minutes. What we are looking for is somewhere with small low key places to pop out to, as well as having options for the weekend where we would happily drive further afield. We have three children 13, 10 and 18 months.

Where we lived before here we probably had six or seven places we could pop out to within a ten minute drive. The sort of places that we're just good for a potter for an hour or so. National Trust estate, parks, villages with cafes and lakes to walk around and feed the ducks, craft centre with a nursery, aquarium, lake or fruit picking, farm shops - all low key but within easy reach of where we lived. Not driving out on motorways for 30 minutes just to get out for a breath of fresh air.

We like the look of Cheltenham. We've spent a day there and plan to spend another day there soon to drive around and see the different areas. Schools seem good too. Of course I can see online what are the big attractions (Wilson, Pitville Park etc) but I'm wondering if any locals can tell me what you do on a regular basis please? Both low key quick pops and at weekends?

Thank you so much for any knowledge you are able to share smile

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Threecouldbefour Mon 24-Aug-20 23:53:16

Hmmm... not sounding promising! grin

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Mrsladybirdface Tue 25-Aug-20 09:27:29

Cheltonian here!
Disclaimer...i love cheltenham.
Lots and lots of amazing walks within a 10 minute drive or walk depending where you live
Cotswold farm Park is 25 to 30 minutes.
Cheltneham science/literature/music Festival (usually!)
Trampoline places
Mini golf
Gloucester quays and the River Severn
Canal walks
South Cerney water park is 35 minutes drive away
Strawberry picking

They are building a cyber park and there will be a lot more investment in entertainment type things being built to try and encourage the young people to come and live here smile

BiarritzCrackers Tue 25-Aug-20 10:37:21

Cheltenham is one of the places I drive 30 mins to for things to do! Not that where I live isn't lovely, but I do like Cheltenham, and could see myself living there in ten years time if DS has flown the nest by then.

I'm not a recreational shopper, but Cheltenham's where I go for clothes when I have to, because it's a really pleasant town to drift about in. The Lido is just wonderful. Pitville Park is very nice, but I have never seen the playground not utterly rammed at weekends, even in winter. The Wilson Museum is good; not made it to the other museums yet as I normally go in on Sundays.

Realistically, I'm not sure how much bucolic restfulness is ten mins drive away; I think you'd be looking at more like 15-20 for a variety of things to do and the more appealing villages to potter in. But it's a nice area to drive in, and I've never been in traffic at weekends, and I speak as a reluctant driver. The Nat Trust places around here are more of the barn variety than great houses, but Sudeley (not NT) is good with a great adventure playground - there are quite a lot of privately owned properties that admit visitors, but not HHA or NT, so you can't pop in for a hour in the way membership enables.

Cheltenham also seems a good place as your children get older and more independent, doing more with friends at weekends, as it's 45 mins or so to both Bristol or Birmingham on the train for when they want to go further afield, but enough to do locally, and in Gloucester and Worcester too.

mamaoffourdc Tue 25-Aug-20 10:51:19

I've just moved to Cheltenham with my 4 kids and we love it! So much to do!

Threecouldbefour Tue 25-Aug-20 11:16:12

Thank you both for the replies. I'm encouraged by the amount of things that would appeal to our older children too - where we are there is literally a lake (which is lovely) and a leisure centre and school holidays are a real struggle at the best of times!

Would you mind sharing some of the other privately owned properties that are worth a visit please? Are there any nice villages that have nice cafes/paint a pot etc? 15 minutes would be fine. It's just I don't want to have to drive for 30 minutes to only be out for an hour or two. With three children I just want to be able to be spontaneous and not waste half my time in the car.

Festivals sound great and it would be so nice to have things to do in the Summer. Shopping also a bonus. If the weather was dire, where is the nearest indoor shopping centre where you can park and walk in? I think we were a bit spoilt where we lived before we we had two or three within 30 minutes.

I found this place -

This is the sort of thing I mean - pop out, playground, coffee, a few animals.

Thank you very much for the wonderful information.

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Threecouldbefour Tue 25-Aug-20 11:19:06

Hi @mamaoffourdc

That's interesting...! We are also contemplating a fourth. So we'd have two big ones and two little ones. Hence I'm trying to find somewhere with things to do for all ages and is as a family together.

Are you in central Cheltenham? I'm not sure we'd get the type of house we need inside so were looking at surrounding areas.

What have been your favourite things to do so far? We love walking so think we'd be spoilt for choice in that regard!

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bronzedgodesswannabe Tue 25-Aug-20 11:41:25

Where are you moving from?
It sounds like where I live 🙈🙈

Threecouldbefour Tue 25-Aug-20 12:06:33


We're between Guildford and Portsmouth. I can't work out how to DM on the app so don't want to out myself.

I seriously feel as though I'm going mad here. It's been a long 6 years. I find it hard to talk to friends here about it as I don't want to offend them. Also, they are happy - I guess it's just what you are used to and you don't miss what you've never had.

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Mrsladybirdface Tue 25-Aug-20 12:17:49

Ahh primrose Vale is the strawberry picking place i was talking about, they do Easter and Halloween trails.

There is also Over Farm which does a big Halloween fest thing.

We also have paint pottery type thing and of course I forgot the Lido!

Forest of Dean is 30 minutes to 40 minutes away and has canoing and go ape and national trust houses.

100s of nice villages around too.

DareDevil223 Tue 25-Aug-20 12:21:54

I'm a lifelong local and Cheltenham is a great place for families, it always pops up in those Top 10 places to raise a family surveys.

PP have mentioned some good things. I spent most of my childhood summers at the Lido. The Holst Birthplace Museum in Pittville is lovely, it;s just as it would been in the 19th century. There are regular markets and a nice German Christmas Market.

It's worth venturing to Gloucester, the Quays is nice for shopping, cinema and food. They have things like a Victorian market, an ice rink in the winter, dragon boat racing and the tall ships festival (well pre-Covid they did). Obviously the cathedral is amazing and the Folk Museum which was Bishop Hooper's house (he was burned at the stake during Mary I reign.)

Slimbridge, Berkeley Castle and the Cotswold Farm Park are fairly short drives away. These are all things I did with my DS when he was little.

I honestly think that Gloucestershire is generally a lovely place to live and I don't work for the tourist board grin.

lurking Tue 25-Aug-20 12:54:55

There's loads around Cheltenham for all ages, and just a short 30 minute drive will get you so many options. Over farm, Sudeley Castle, Westonbirt arboretum, cattle country, Slimbridge, just as a few off the top of my head.

There are plenty of parks and countryside walks, loads of festivals, the lido during the summer. The list goes on.

Gloucester is generally cheaper in terms of house prices and really is just down the road, but i personally prefer Cheltenham. There are good bus routes for the older children to get about.

BiarritzCrackers Tue 25-Aug-20 12:58:45

As well as Sudeley, there's Stanway (with its fountain), but other places I was thinking of, like Berkeley Castle, Sezincote and Ragley Hall, are actually more like three quarters of an hour away - I didn't realise they were so far from Cheltenham. Snowshill Manor (NT) near Broadway, is nice, but again, that's only a bit nearer, Hidcote (also NT, not been there yet) is a bit further too. Cathedrals can fill the historic houses gap on wintry days where you don't want a proper country walk as the weather's a bit dodgy - Tewkesbury Abbey and Gloucester Cathedral are both 20 mins away, nice for a potter about, add in walk by river/canal, drink hot chocolate (Café au Chocolat in Tewky). I was actually quite surprised by Gloucester - I wouldn't want to live there, but it's got some good museums, and has helped occupy winter weekends.

As you can tell from just looking at a map, the southern and eastern countryside is the loveliest. I drive in from the west or north, which is fine, but a bit less inspiring!, so maybe that's something to think about if it's important to have good walks a short drive away. And, being the Cotswolds, you get some amazing views as well.

When I said I would move there when DS has left home, it's not that I wouldn't live there now while he's still little (10), but exH and I want to live very close to one another, and although we both like Cheltenham, neither of us can be arsed with the upheaval of finding two new homes, dealing with schools etc at this stage!

BiarritzCrackers Tue 25-Aug-20 13:10:20

This thread is actually good for reminding me of things to do! Still haven't been to Slimbridge. And just remembered the Jet Age Museum, which I really want to go to. I've also realised I sound a bit pre-occupied by winter! It's just that a lot of NT places around here close for winter, as do some museums, so your options do get a bit more restricted, as flooding can limit your country walk possibilities. But it is a wonderful part of the country in which to live, and I feel really fortunate to be here.

Reedwarbler Tue 25-Aug-20 13:38:06

There are hundreds of things to do in Gloucestershire and surrounds, but for most of them you are going to have to accept a drive, they won't be on your doorstep. Also, public transport in many areas is terrible to non existent, so your children will be reliant on you to get them to the more far flung places.
I tend to go on 'what's available within an hours' drive', which opens up a lot more horizons, from Bristol and Bath to Malvern, Oxford, Worcester and possibly even Cardiff at a push. A trip to Hay on Wye, Brecon, Abergavenny and the Brecon Beacons comes within that hour for us (south of Gloucester). The nearest bit of seaside for us is Weston Super Mare, again around an hour away.
I moved to Glos. from London over 30 years ago, and went from hardly using my car to high mileage immediately. You just get used to having to drive a bit more to get where you want to be.

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