Cheltenham Spa GL50 1QZ
Cheltenham has been described as "a town within a park" and for many years people have enjoyed the beauty of the town's parks, open spaces and floral attractions.
Imperial Gardens are in the heart of Cheltenham’s Regency quarter and are considered the ‘Jewel’ in the town’s ‘Crown’. During the summer months the formal gardens are filled with over 25,000 bedding plants to produce magnificent floral displays.
Following royal patronage after the mineral springs were discovered in the 18th century, Cheltenham rapidly developed into a fashionable Spa Town. The town was laid out in fine Squares, wide tree-lined Streets, Terraces, elegant Crescents and Imperial Square is a fine example of this Regency architecture.
The Queen’s Hotel (GL50 1NN)
The Mercure Queen's Hotel on The Promenade overlooks the Gardens. It is an elegant and imposing Regency structure built on the site of the Sherborne or Imperial Spa. In front of the main entrance to the Hotel is the restored Sebastopol Crimean War memorial.
The hotel’s name commemorates Queen Victoria’s Coronation in 1838 and has had its fair share of famous guests - the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, the explorer Nansen, the composer Edward Elgar, the author Arthur Conan Doyle and comedian Bob Hope. Contact: Tel: +44 (0)1242 514 754.
Gustav Holst Statue
In 2009 a magnificent life-sized bronze statue was erected in the Gardens to Cheltenham’s most famous composer, Gustav Holst. The statue is the centrepiece of a fountain and surrounded by an octagonal plinth depicting the planets (a reference to his best-known composition, Op. 32 “The Planets”).
Gustav Holst was born in 1874 and spent his early years at 4 Clarence Road, which is now the Holst Birthplace Museum. He never forgot his happy childhood in Cheltenham and wrote that he was grateful for three things in his life: music, friendship and the Cotswold Hills.
Cheltenham Town Hall
On one side of the square, situated within Imperial Gardens, is the Town Hall. Built at the beginning of the 20thcentury to provide a venue for concerts and other cultural and social events, it is still being used for this purpose and is the main venue for the renowned Cheltenham Festivals.
Forming part of Imperial Gardens is Skillicorne Garden which was constructed in honour of Captain Henry Skillicorne who established Cheltenham’s first Spa.
Although apparently a Regency terrace, The Broadwalk was built at the end of the 20th century to complete the traditional Regency Square as envisaged by the original 19th century planners.
During the summer months, Imperial Gardens becomes host to many outdoor events and festivals including the Literature, Jazz, Science and Music Festivals.
Garden bar during summer months
Public toilets at the Town Hall
Despite some modern building, Imperial Square and Gardens is a good example of Cheltenham’s original Regency grandeur and well-worth visiting.
Google Maps - Imperial Gardens