Western England and Wales 2016 travel blog

1 - Queen's Hotel

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13 - Our Renacense Suite

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18 - Town Center

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30 - Cheltenham Racecourse

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43 - Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

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64 - Glyn Cornish - Chairman Railway Trust

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Cheltenham is a spa town approximately 50 miles northeast of Cardiff, Wales. It is located on the edge of the Cotswolds, an area in Gloucestershire, England of exceptional beauty. The area is defined by the bedrock of Jurassic limestone that is quarried for the golden colored Cotswold stone. The predominantly rural landscape contains stone-built villages, historical towns and stately homes and gardens.

With a motto of Salubritas et Erudito meaning 'health and education', Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs in 1716. Its reputation for elegance was first gained in the late 18th century when high society flocked to the town to “take the waters”. King George III spent five weeks in Cheltenham to drink its medicinal waters. As a result, several more Royal parties came down to Cheltenham in the late 18th century, and the spa town exploded in popularity as a fashionable destination.

THE QUEENS HOTEL

This beautiful, elegant boutique hotel has a unique history.

One of the first purpose-built hotels in Europe, Queens Hotel was built on the site of the old Sherborne Spa, meeting the demands for appropriate lodgings from higher echelons of society of the time. The hotel was declared then, as now, as ‘one of the noblest buildings of its kind in Europe’.

A fine example of neo-classical architecture, with its imposing white façade of Roman temple scale, tall Corinthian order columns, carved cornices and Georgian windows, the hotel was one of a number of imposing landmarks conceived by Robert Jearrad and his brother Charles, who modelled the hotel on the Temple of Jupiter in Rome.

Queens Hotel was opened on the 21st of July 1838, named in honor of Queen Victoria whose coronation fell in the same year. While it has predominantly retained its purpose as a fine hotel, gratified by the visits of such eminent figures as General Sir Charles Napier, Edward Elgar and Sir Arthur Conon Doyle, it has also served as a social refuge for women in WWI and a military hospital.

The hotel has been listed as a Grade II English Heritage building since 1955. It retains many of its original features including the wallpaper designed by Pugin, a key figure in nineteenth century architecture and design. Guests will also be delighted to encounter the hotel’s towering Georgian staircase, drawing guests upward over the remarkable crowned glass roof.

Photos 1-12

Our Renacense Suite

Photos 13-17

TOWN CENTER

The Queens Hotel is conveniently located in the town center making it easy to walk and enjoy the sites, shops, and multitude of choices for places to dine.

Photos 18-29

CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE

Horses and horse racing are a passion in this area.

Photos 30-42

GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARWICKSHIRE STEAM RAILWAY

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is a volunteer-run heritage railway that runs 12 miles of line, operating between Cheltenham Racecourse and Laverton Halt. The railway operates a wide variety of both steam and heritage diesel locomotives.

It was inspiring to speak with the many volunteers who have a passion for trains and donate many hours for training and for providing the friendly and helpful experience to people like us. Glyn Cornish, Chairman of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway Trust, gave us a tour and explained the history of the railway

Half the fun of the ride was figuring out the time schedule and the multiples change of trains we had to make for the round trip.

Photos 43-72

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