Pubs in Cheltenham: 12 of the most charming to visit

(c) Yutacar on Upsplash

(c) Yutacar on Upsplash - Credit: Archant

There are lots of reasons why Cheltenham is a wonderful town to visit, and the abundance of delightful boozers is definitely one of them! With gorgeous interiors, great beer on tap and menus of delicious fare, we pick 12 of the best pubs to visit in the town

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1. The Beehive, Montpellier Villas

Tucked away in a quiet residential street in the upmarket Montpellier area of Cheltenham, The Beehive is renowned for its food as much as its drink. Behind the bar you’ll find local ales from Cotswold Lion and Prescott Brewery as well as a number of traditional ciders and an ever-changing wine menu. No trip to this pub is complete without trying either the trio of pies or a roast dinner on Sundays in the Supper Room. The Beehive also has two beers gardens: one at the front and one at the rear, which are perfect for summer drinking sessions.

2. The Vine, High Street

From the outside, The Vine looks like a traditional London boozer with red bricked walls and green metro tiles but inside you’ll find one of the most atmospheric pub decors in Cheltenham. Think cosy nooks and crannies, fairy lights, bottles of wine and good conversation by candle light. The pub is famous for its authentic Thai menu and there are a number of real ales behind the bar but we always look forward to a large G&T with loads of ice when visiting.

3. Wild Beer at Jessop House, Cambray Place

Located in an old Georgian building, the layout of Wild Beer is not too dissimilar to that of a house, with the pub sprawled out across a number of different floors and rooms. There are plenty of comfy armchairs and sofas so kickback with a glass from the pub’s eclectic selection of beers and ales (20 taps to be exact). The food menu isn’t to be sniffed at either with an array of small plates and dishes from the grill, all designed with a pairing from the Wild Beer collection in mind.

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4. The Kemble, Fairview Street

The Kemble is perhaps one of Cheltenham’s best kept secrets as it is hidden away in a quiet street in the Fairview area of the town. It’s a real local’s local and a number of faces will be found around the bar every time your visit – but don’t let that put you off, the regulars and staff here are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet in the area. The pub has not long had a refurbishment and is now serving an ever-changing selection of home cooked dishes and a succulent roast every Sunday. There is also a wonderful beer garden tucked away at the back of the pub for sunny days best spent with a beer in hand.

5. The Strand, High Street

Located just a short walk from the centre of town, The Strand is a popular and fun place for workers to unwind after a day at the office and shoppers and families to escape to at the weekend. The pub has had a recent face lift and you can now expect dark and trendy interiors with mismatched furniture. The menu is great for those who like to share their food and see eating out as a social occasion as there are a number of sharing boards and platters to choose from. Also worth mentioning is the beer garden out the back which is a real sun trap in the summer.

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6. The Retreat, Suffolk Parade

The Retreat has been firmly established on the Cheltenham pub scene since 1982: fast-forward over 35 years and you’ll find it’s still going strong today. If you like a bonhomie atmosphere, head here on a Friday or Saturday evening and you’ll find punters both young and old enjoying a well stocked bar and weekend vibes. Alcohol aside, The Retreat is also a great spot for a pub lunch and a Supper Club is held here several times a year. Keep an eye on the website or social media channels for updates.

7. The Railway Inn, New Street

If you’re looking for a decent boozer sometimes it’s worth wandering away from the thick of it all and you won’t be disappointed if you make the effort to find The Railway. The pub has had a recent revamp and a new menu, getting people talking for all the right reasons. The theme of the new menu is ‘Smokey Phi Phi’: think Thai street food straight from the barbeque with a smokey applewood and oak twist. Order a few dishes to share with friends and soak up the relaxing atmosphere of this friendly local pub.

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8. The Exmouth Arms, Bath Road

Sitting alongside the popular drinking strip of Cheltenham’s Bath Road, The Exmouth Arms offers ales aplenty and a fuss-free menu of tasty pub classics. The Exmouth is one of those pubs that truly caters for all. You can find quiet corners for coffee and cake in the morning, large groups tucking into dinner and a busy calendar of events including comedy evenings, live music and film screenings. There’s even a large beer garden to enjoy a cold, crisp Exmouth lager outside during the warmer months.

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9. Sandford Park Alehouse, High Street

After opening its doors in 2013, the Sandford Park Alehouse can already boast the coveted CAMRA National Pub of the Year award (taking home the award in 2015). Attracting customers young and old, the atmosphere is a jovial one with chatter filling the pub and its sun trap garden day and night. Beers are the name of the game and over a thousand different ales and lagers are on offer to patrons while knowledgeable and enthusiastic bar staff will help you pick the perfect pint. Feeling peckish? There’s a great selection of bar snacks and pub classics to soak up all the drinks you’ve been enjoying.

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10. Jolly Brewmaster, Painswick Road

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For a traditional pub experience you can’t go far wrong with the Jolly Brewmaster, a short walk from the stylish Suffolks and busy Bath Road. Even though the character-rich pub doesn’t boast a town centre location, you’ll always find a pub full of faithful locals and happy visitors sitting alongside one another, sampling the fantastic range of real ales and ciders on offer. On a sunny day take advantage of the peaceful oasis in the beer garden at the back of the pub – they even host live music throughout the year.

11. The Royal Union, Hatherley Street

We promise you won’t miss The Royal Union – the iconic pink frontage is bound to catch your eye if you’re walking around the Tivoli area. A warm, friendly welcome from the team ensures visitors are made to feel at home whether they’re visiting for the first or hundredth time. Relax among the pub’s cosy interiors (or next to the logburner on a chilly evening) and tuck into the pub’s home-cooked fare. We have it on good authority that the chicken with chunky chips and roasted veg sharing platter is a truly tasty way to spend the evening.

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12. The Hewlett Arms, Harp Hill

Situated a short walk from both the town centre and Cheltenham Racecourse, The Hewlett Arms is one of Cheltenham’s hidden gems that’s worth making the trip to. The focus here is on top-notch food and drink, with a regularly changing menu to reflect local and seasonal produce. The Hewlett Roast rewards those venturing from their homes on a lazy Sunday – a range of succulent meats served alongside all the trimmings will be sure to leave you feeling satisfied.

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