Shopping in Cheltenham is a pleasure thanks to the wide variety of quality shops and the abundance of cafes, restaurants and tea shops will give you the chance to relax and regain your strength! Of special interest are the Regent Arcadewith its fascinating Wishing Fishing Clock and Beechwood Place, Cheltenham's latest shopping mall. Cheltenham's International Festival of Music is held each July and has become one of the best regarded music festivals in the world. Performances and talks are given at various venues in the town and in recent years a well supported Fringe Festival has added lively variety to the main event. No year would be complete without the Cheltenham County Cricket Festivalwhen Gloucestershire play host to other first class and often international teams. This festival which has been held since 1872 is hosted by Cheltenham College and the splendid College buildings make for an unusual but pleasing setting for county cricket. A relatively new event is the Cheltenham Festival of Literature supported by The Independent. During the ten days of this festival, visitors are treated to readings by famous authors and celebrities as well as topical discussions.
All year round, the beautifully restored Everyman Theatre hosts productions by renowned theatre groups while the Playhouse Theatreis the base for Cheltenham's many amateur companies. The Town Hall hosts many concerts and exhibitions including the popular Ideal Home Exhibition. Every March, Cheltenham is gripped by Gold Cup fever. The National Hunt festival held at Cheltenham Racecourse just to the north of the town is the premier event in the National Hunt racing calendar and attracts visitors from all over the world. The course itself is set in a natural bowl with the Cotswold Hills making a spectacular backdrop. Apart from the regular race meetings, the racecourse is home to many events throughout the year. Since its inception in 1924, the Gold Cup has established itself as one of the premier horse races throughout the calendar year. Tourists visiting Cheltenham for the annual race can expect a sense of excitement in the air as the race draws closer.