Which is nicer Cheltenham or Gloucester?

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Cheltenham Town and Gloucester City are two important settlements in the Cotswold area. People often ask the question ‘which is nicer Cheltenham or Gloucester?’

I have been living in a little settlement close to Cheltenham and Gloucester for the past 3 years as at the time of writing. I regularly go around both Cheltenham and Gloucester and I can give you my opinion about the two settlements.

Discussion around which is nicer between Cheltenham or Gloucester depend on whether you are considering where to live, work or visit. From a general view point, this article compares Cheltenham and Gloucester on the following important points.

Town and City Centre

Both settlements have a vibrant centre. Cheltenham is generally regarded as a posh and affluent settlement because of the big High Street brands in the shopping centres. John Lewis opened their store on Cheltenham High street in 2018, this also established Cheltenham Centre as a must-do in Cheltenham.

Cafe at Cheltenham Town Centre

Cheltenham Promenade was listed by Google as one of the best shopping streets in the UK. The Montpellier Arcade is one of the oldest purpose-built shopping arcades in the UK.

Gloucester City Centre is not as classy as Cheltenham but it also offers a very good shopping experience. Eastgate Shopping Centre is the main shopping mall at the centre. The usual high street brands are available at the Gloucester city centre.

Gloucester City Centre is a 10-minute walk from Gloucester Quays which offers an opportunity to shop at the big brand shops.

Both Cheltenham and Gloucester centre has good restaurants where you can enjoy good cuisine. Cheltenham possibly has better restaurants.

John Lewis Department Store in Cheltenham

Events and Entertainment

Cheltenham is generally regarded as the home of festivals because of the number of festivals that take place in Cheltenham annually. The prominent of these festivals is the Horse Racing Festival popularly called Cheltenham Festival.

It takes place in March of every year and attracts visitors from all over the UK and abroad. The Royals do attend this festival.

There are other festivals like the Science Festival, Literature Festival, Music Festival, Jazz Festival and Food Festival.

Gloucester does have some events of its own that take place annually. However, Gloucester’s events are not as popular as Cheltenham events.

Of course, there are some occasional events in both settlements where a national artist comes to perform.


Both Cheltenham and Gloucester are reasonably safe and good places to live and visit. Cheltenham’s crime rate is lower than Gloucester’s.

Cheltenham –  72.73 (total number of crimes recorded over a 12 month period, per 1000 residents).

Gloucester –  87.76 (total number of crimes recorded over a 12 month period, per 1000 residents)

The crime rate in Cheltenham is above the average crime rate for the Gloucestershire area.

The crime rate in both Gloucester and Cheltenham is lower than the national average. There is a good resource for checking the crime rate on the Gloucestershire County Council website. You can also find crime information for Gloucester and Cheltenham on the Gloucestershire Constabulary website.

Pittville Park, Cheltenham

Things to do in Cheltenham and Gloucester

Gloucester is known for the cathedral which is one of the identities of the city. In fact, having a cathedral is one of the criteria for any settlement to be called a city in the UK.

The Gloucester cathedral is a great place to visit for people who love history and architecture. The cathedral and the environment are very nice environments.

Gloucester also has a dock which is an important feature of the city.

Cheltenham is known for her Georgian architecture. You will love the architecture of the town and more importantly, Pittville Park is a nice part of Cheltenham town you must visit if you are in Cheltenham. the park has a huge play area for people who have kids. There is a pump room that tells part of the story of the town.

The park is very big and has various parts which you can explore. There is a coffee shop within the park where you can buy a hot or cold drink with snacks.

Below are the lists of some of the most important places to visit in Cheltenham and Gloucester.


1. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway – You can get to enjoy the incredible landscape views. This is an amazing scenic railroad. This is a delightful steam train ride that takes you through the Cotswold countryside and the Cheltenham Race Course.

2. Pittville Park – This is the biggest park in Cheltenham. Pittville has two parts, there is the part which has the beautiful lake, ducks, and moorhens. The second part has a boating lake.

Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham


3. Walks With Hawks – Enjoy this amazing nature and wildlife park. If you love nature, at this location you can be in the company of the Harris Hawk, Kestrel & Blue Eagle birds of prey plus…

4. Montpellier District – This area gives you the experience of beautiful Georgian Architecture. Lots of places to eat and good access to the main shopping area.

5. Brennen & Brown – Experience a fabulous gin at this distilleries.

6. Cheltenham Racecourse – The horse racing takes place every year in March. The highlight is usually the Gold Cup.

7. Everyman Theatre – Enjoy stage plays in real theatre format.

8. Cotswold Farm Park – If you have young children, this is a good place to visit. There are a lot of rare breed animals to see here.

9. The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum – Art lovers can have a good time at this Art Gallery.

10. Sandford Parks Lido – There is a pool for all ages. The main pool entertain adults and small children can swim in the children’s pool.  Sandford Parks Lido is a good place in Cheltenham to enjoy outdoor swimming.

Gloucester Cathedral


1. Gloucester Cathedral – A great Architectural landmark in Gloucester that has a lot of history. Buildings. This great Cathedral is in some of the scenes of Harry Potter.

2. Jet Age Museum – This museum showcase Gloucestershire’s rich aviation heritage. You can see displays of jets from the early days of flight, from the birth of the Jet Age to the present day.

3. Gloucester Docks – Part of the historic area of Gloucester with the opportunity to stroll around this amazing landmark. It’s very close to the Gloucester Quays and Waterways Museum is just around the corner.

The historic Gloucester Docks featured in many blockbuster movies.
Gloucester Historic Docks


4. Gloucester Quays – A shopping mall with a lot of British household names. Walk around and have a good time shopping here. There are also places to eat at the mall.

5. Kingsholm Stadium – Rugby sports arena for good entertainment. Enjoy a great game of rugby here if you love rugby.

6. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal – Enjoy a boat ride by travelling through a stretch of canal.

7. Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum – A fascinating Military Museums that tells the story of the history of the military.

8. National Waterways Museum Gloucester – A speciality museum that tells the 200-year story of inland waterways.

9. Robinswood Hill Country Park – A local park with incredible space to enjoy the fresh air.

10. Three Choirs Vineyard – Lovers of wine can take a tour and take part in a wine tasting session.


Bus Stop


Like other UK towns and cities, Gloucester and Cheltenham have good transportation systems.


Both have good train stations. However, Cheltenham train station is not at the town center while Gloucester train station is at the city center where you can walk into the shopping areas within 5 minutes.

While Cheltenham train station is not in the town centers, it is still within walking distance to the shopping areas. It takes about 15 minutes to walk to the shopping center from the train station.


Both settlements have regular bus services to various neighbourhoods. As Cheltenham and Gloucester are not far apart, there are bus services between the two settlements. It takes about 15 minutes on the bus to travel between the two settlements.


M5 is the motorway that is very near to Cheltenham and Gloucester. Junction 11A is the junction that takes you in and out of Gloucester while Junction 10 and 11 takes you in and out of Cheltenham.

Good Neighbourhood


The high sort after neighbourhoods in Cheltenham is Leckampton and Charlton Kings. These two areas are some of the most expensive areas in Cheltenham to buy a house.

You will need a very deep pocket to buy a house in this location. Other areas to consider are Warden Hill, Up Hatherley, and Prestbury. if you like the town center, there are few areas in the center that are reasonably safe.


In Gloucester, Longlevens is one of the good neighbourhoods to consider when thinking about a place to live.

One of the good areas of Gloucester is Quedgeley. This neighbourhood is a suburban town and a modern new build neighbourhood in the southwest of Gloucester

You can also consider Coopers Edge. This is another new build suburb, which is situated in Brockworth, between Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Abbeydale and Hucclecote are also good areas in Gloucester.

Areas to Avoid

Every neighbourhood in any settlement will have a nice and not so nice area. The same can be applied to Cheltenham and Gloucester.

The main areas to avoid in Gloucester are Matson and Barton. This area is a very deprived area.

In Cheltenham, avoid areas around Princess Elizabeth way and the GCHQ area.

Breathtaking views of Cheltenham from a suburb village.
Cheltenham Suburb

Neighbouring Settlements

There are nice villages and settlements around Gloucester and Cheltenham that can be considered a good place to live.

Churchdown is a village between Gloucester and Cheltenham and it is a very good place to live because of its proximity to Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Bishops Cleeve – This village has seen a lot of new developments recently and it is gradually losing its village feel. however, it is still a very good location to consider outside Cheltenham. It is less than 10 minutes drive from Bishop Cleeve to Cheltenham.

Highnam and Maisemore are two separate locations not too far from Gloucester. These two can be considered if you are looking for a nice place to live outside Gloucester.


Both Cheltenham and Gloucester have good schools. However, the schools in Cheltenham have higher ratings than Gloucester schools.

Gloucestershire as a county pride itself is one of the few counties in the UK that retained their grammar school. Grammar schools are selected schools which means students that go there are usually selected based on their performance in an exam called 11plus.

There are 4 grammar schools in Gloucester while Cheltenham has only 1. It is worth mentioning that the one in Cheltenham which is Pates Grammar School is the best in Gloucestershire and one of the best in the UK. Getting a child to Pates is highly competitive.

One of the best comprehensive school in Gloucestershire is Balcarras Academy which is located in Cheltenham.

As well, there are fee-paying independent schools in both Cheltenham and Gloucester. It is also important to mention that the independent schools in Cheltenham are highly rated than those in Gloucester.

Final Thought

As someone who has seen both Cheltenham and Gloucester, I think Cheltenham is possibly nicer than Gloucester.

If you are considering a place to live, Cheltenham will be my preference. However, the average property price in Cheltenham is higher than Gloucester.

Thinking about just a visit, you will definitely have a great experience in both Cheltenham and Gloucester. I don’t see any reason why you cannot visit both settlements. Gloucester and Cheltenham are about 20 minutes apart which is around 9 miles.

There are also very nice villages around Gloucester and Cheltenham to consider for a place to live.


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