The market spa town of Cheltenham was relatively unknown until the year 1716, when some local pigeons surprisingly put the town on the map. Residents noticed hundreds of the birds flocking in a nearby field. They soon discovered that the field contained a mineral spring, triggering a hundred-year wave of development. Because of this, the humble pigeon features on the town crest and the town remains one of the UK’s most prosperous Regency cities.
A cultural hotspot, Cheltenham boasts neoclassical spa facilities, opulent gardens and, of course, the famous Racecourse. And its location within the stunning Cotswolds puts the area’s charming countryside well within your paws! A pooch amongst the pigeons you shall be in dog-friendly Cheltenham – don’t forget to pack pup’s fascinator!
Where to eat in Cheltenham
There isn’t a bad time to visit Cheltenham. The town hosts several festivals, including literature, jazz, food and drink and – randomly – the ukulele. Walking the town is lovely. Start with affluent Montpellier, at the end of Promenade South, famous for its bars, restaurants and shops. Take pup through the iconic Georgian streets and explore the dog-friendly gardens together.
You’re feeling peckish, or need to rest those paws? Head to a very special dog café, Archie’s, on the Rotunda for a coffee and a bite to eat. In Montpellier towards dinner time and fancy a wine date with pup? The Retreat Wine Bar is a fun, dog-friendly venue, full of charm with a relaxing atmosphere. You’ll love the decor and fido will love feeling sophisticated for an evening.
While Montpellier is a scene stealer, Cheltenham town centre has just as much to offer. It’s a short walk from Montpellier, with gorgeous Georgian architecture on every corner and stately, plush buildings hugging the pavements. Nearby, The Tavern is a characterful, contemporary diner, serving comforting Deep South-style food like gourmet burgers, wings and shakes, alongside a delicious drinks menu. Dogs are welcome in the downstairs area, where you can relax with pup and a fun flavoured sundae.
Also in the town centre is the Old Courthouse. Pups are welcome in the impressive, stately bar, which dates all the way back to 1870. Huge marble columns point towards the glass window features in the ceiling. The bar presides over the room, offering a fabulous array of local ales, tasty wines and warming spirits.
Sumptuous dog-friendly hotels in Cheltenham and its surrounds
Heading towards Pittville, you can let sleeping dogs lie at Number 38 The Park. This wonderfully enticing dog-friendly hotel offers guests and their four-legged friends comfy beds, contemporary styling and luxurious furnishings. All the rooms are pooch-friendly and include a lovely bed, bowl and treats for your dog. For you, there are Egyptian cotton bed sheets, tasty local menus and great coffee.
Across the street from Number 38 is Pittville Park, where you can take pup for a run around the pavilion and lake. The park is lovely; from the ornate entrance through to the iconic Pittville Pump Room on the other side.
Additionally, the beautiful Cotswolds are easily accessible from Cheltenham for a lovely day trip or overnight stay. Check into Cowley Manor. Just 5 miles from dog-friendly Cheltenham, it’s a characterful and colourfully decorated hotel and spa that caters to our four-legged friends very well. There are 55 acres of grounds to explore and two spacious pet-friendly rooms that come equipped with doggy bed, bowl and treats.
Alternatively, enjoy a luxurious stay at the grand Ellenborough Park hotel. On the edge of Cheltenham it enjoys fabulous views of the Racecourse, around which you can walk with fido. A quintessentially British manor house with opulent spa attached, pups are welcome throughout the hotel and you can dine together in the hotel’s rustic pub, The Horse Box.
Finally, a trip into the Cotswolds wouldn’t be complete without a jaunt up nearby Cleeve Hill, the highest point in the Cotswolds, which lies just behind Ellenborough Park. We say jaunt – take plenty of water for you and pup! And watch out for those pigeons, you might just discover a mineral spring.
For more insider tips on where to eat, sleep and play in the Cotswolds, visit our destinations collection on the Cotswolds for other wonderful dog-friendly trips to enjoy with your pooch.