Cheltenham has a reputation of being the essence of an elegant Regency town, the immediate image that comes to mind is that it is rather genteel and sleepy, the fact is that there is masses going on in and around the town. It is generally accepted as having the role as the cultural centre of the Cotswolds; festivals are aplenty. Within the town there is plenty of interest from the museum and art gallery to water activities at the 1930s outdoor lido and the boating lake in Pittville Park.
It is largely known for its festivals and horse racing. However, there are plenty of cafés and restaurants, plus parks and gardens in which to meander. There are loads of fashionable shops in the centre but oh-dear what a mess the local planning authority has made which is a great shame. Cheltenham is not alone in this respect but I do begrudge paying their tourist office for a scrap of a tourist map.
Out of town apart from the countryside, Stow on the Wold, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon amongst other significant towns and cities are all within a 45 minutes’ drive. If shopping really is your overriding need; the ‘Designer’ outlets of Bicester and Swindon are around an hour or so away.
Back to Cheltenham; ‘The Bradley Hotel’ sets out and achieves the standard for B&Bs that validates the frequently misused expression of ‘Home from Home’. There is a lot going for the elegant town house, with its all en suite eight bedrooms/suite, in one of Cheltenham’s quiet tree lined terraces in the centre; almost literally next door to Cheltenham Ladies College. Newly opened, it has received a very gentle hand in terms of retaining the original character whilst offering facilities that reflect today’s needs. This approach has been enhanced as the building was purchased together with many of the original furnishings, archives and lots of personal items which are all a part of today’s presentation.
The substantial front door opens out on to the long hallway where Tessa the lively and friendly hostess welcomed us. Off the hall is the spacious sitting room, it is interesting to explore the house’s history whilst imbibing a glass or two from the honesty bar. Our room was splendid with its four poster bed and other elegant furnishings at the front of the house – there was no noise from the road. You really do feel as if you are visiting friends in their own home.
We decided to take supper in-house option which certainly justified the choice and had a delicious freshly cooked breakfast downstairs in a light and airy room which overlooks the small garden to the rear of the house. With all that the Bradley has to offer, it is not surprising that many of our fellow visitors were regular visitors, together with a couple from America who had chosen the Bradley rather than an hotel.
The Bradley has real, individual character which is entirely compatible with the elegance of Regency Cheltenham. We both enjoyed our visit together with the great hospitality of Tessa, and the old world charm, comfort and relaxed atmosphere.