We love where our head office is based, and it appears we are not alone….. In recent conversations with Nick Chivers, Partner at leading property specialist Knight Frank, it is clear that there is a lack of mid to high-end property in the Cheltenham area as people seek to relocate from London and the Home Counties, out to the Cotswolds. Is it for the landscape, the schools or just a change of pace from City living as we emerge from Covid with a new way of working? Let’s explore……
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire’s elegant, festival-focused spa town on the western edge of the Cotswolds.
What is happening now?
The literature festival is about to start, running from October 8-17. The world’s inaugural literature festival is now in its 72nd year with a Read the World theme.
What else will I experience in Cheltenham?
This is a small town with a big calendar of annual events. Other headliners are the Jazz festival in April and the Science and Music festivals in the summer. And Cheltenham is the home of National Hunt racing. The Cheltenham Festival in March is when the town is at it buzziest best: 28 races over four days culminating in the Gold Cup.
How is it for year-round living?
Architectural beauty, excellent schooling and immediate access to the wonderful countryside are among the reasons residents love Cheltenham. It’s a welcoming town and a green one with parks, tree-lined streets and Sandford Parks Lido, one of the UK’s largest open-air pools.
How do I get there?
By road, Bristol is 40 minutes and Birmingham is about an hour away, both via the M5, while it’s just over two hours to central London on the M4. Longstanding plans to widen a three-mile section of the A417 linking the M4 and M5, a heavily congested accident blackspot known as the “missing link”, finally have the green light. The fastest rail services into London Paddington take under two hours but off-peak trains often take longer. Transport links could be better.
How’s the high street?
There’s room for improvement there too. John Lewis was warmly welcomed when it opened in 2018 but a number of shop closures over the past 18 months have dented the high street and the once magnificent Regency Promenade. LK Bennett, Jack Wills, Gap and French Connection are among the departing retailers. Meanwhile Julian Dunkerton, the founder of the label Superdry, has invested heavily in his hometown with stylish hotels (the George and No 131) and bistros, adding further informal sophistication to the town’s café culture.
South of the high street is always popular, says Nick Chivers from Knight Frank Cheltenham, along the Promenade and up to the intimate bars and restaurants of Montpellier. Carry on up Park Place to The Park for more beautiful period homes. Family homes in the best catchment areas — around Balcarras academy school in Charlton Kings for example and the High School in Leckhampton, newly opened this autumn — are heavily in demand. Moving just to the North are the beautiful sought-after villages of Prestbury and Southam, situated around the Racecourse which includes Cheltenham’s outstanding 5-star hotel Ellenborough Park, at the foot of Cleeve Hill.
Cheltenham’s gorgeous period architecture covers Regency and Georgian homes, Victorian townhouses and chunky red-brick Edwardian semis. Two-bedroom apartments in a period conversion in the centre start at £300,000; three-bedroom semis on the outskirts cost from £550,000.
“In the year to August 2021 we saw a 30 percent increase in prospective buyers compared with the five-year average and a 45 per cent increase in offers accepted,” Chivers says. “Demand has risen sharply over the year, especially for homes over £2 million which recorded more completed deals in the 12 months to July 2021 than we’ve ever seen.”
Cheltenham and the surrounding area is home to some large employers, including the likes of Spirax Sarco, GE Aviation, EDF, St James’ Place, Superdry, Endsleigh / A-Plan, Kholer, Moog, Trelleborg, Hazlewoods, Dyson, GCHQ, Renishaw, etc. The region also offers a range of fast-growing SME’s and the upcoming Cyber Park will bring a number of new Tech-focused organisations to the Town.
Move here if . . .
You have young children. Cheltenham is a fabulous place to raise a family, filled with good sports facilities and 35 schools rated outstanding or good by Ofsted. State options include top-rated grammar school Pate’s (twice voted The Sunday Times state secondary school of the year) while Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Cheltenham College and Dean Close are among leading private schools
Don’t move here if . . .
You plan a daily commute into London, but links will get better as the infrastructure grows.
Credit: The Times