Outdoor Adventures – best walks in and around Cheltenham

23rd May 2024

Cheltenham, whilst arguably best known for its Regency architecture and festivals, is also a gateway to some of the most scenic walks in the Cotswolds. Whether you’re a nature lover, a fitness enthusiast, or simply looking to unwind, Cheltenham and its surroundings offer a variety of walking routes that cater to all tastes and fitness levels. StayLets Cheltenham, your home away from home, provides the perfect base to explore these outdoor adventures. Here are some tips on the best walks in and around Cheltenham, their highlights and how to get to them

Cleeve Hill and Common


Highest Point in the Cotswolds: Stunning panoramic views at 330 metres above sea level or 1,083 feet.

Wildlife and Flora: Cleeve Hill and Common is home to such a rich and diverse range of wildlife and flora that it has been awarded Site of Special Scientific Interest protected status. Amongst the wildlife you may see are foxes, badgers, stoats, weasels, roe deer, skylarks and if you very lucky a hare. Some of the most notable plants you can see are wild thyme, rock roses, fairy flax and small scabius.

Historical Sites: Ancient earthworks and ruins. There no less than three Scheduled Ancient Monuments on the hill dating back to the Bronze Age. There is also the site of a First World War rifle range, the foundations of a Second World War site founder and what are believed to be the foundations of Cheltenham Racecourse when it was located on top of the hill. The racing moved there in 1818 and only moved to its existing site Prestbury Park after a fire burnt down the grandstand in 1830.

Starting just a short drive from Cheltenham (16 minutes), Cleeve Hill offers breathtaking views over the Cotswolds and, on a clear day, as far as the Welsh mountains. The common is dotted with ancient sites and a variety of wildlife, making it a perfect spot for a scenic hike.

Free parking is available at the Radio Masts, at Wardens’ Wood car park at the far end of the Common, at the end of Wickfield Lane (the access road to the Golf Club) and in the laybys near the top of Stockwell Lane. Alternatively, the route W bus from Cheltenham has three stops at different points along the hill.

If you want to follow a pre-determined 4 or 6 mile walk there is a route on the National Trails website which can be found here.

Leckhampton Hill and the Devil’s Chimney


Unique Rock Formation: The Devil’s Chimney. The Devil’s Chimney is a limestone rock formation that stands above a disused quarry in Leckhampton. It is so named for its peculiar shape, that of a crooked and twisted chimney rising from the ground, but its shape can actually be put down to erosion.

Spectacular Views: Overlooking Cheltenham and beyond, including the Malvern Hills the Wrekin and as far away as the Brecon Beacons (some 90 km away).

Historical Quarries: The site has been quarried for hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years but the most recent quarrying, for which there are records, took place for a period of about 150 years from the late 18th century to the mid 1920s.

The walk up the hill is moderately challenging but rewards hikers with stunning views and an opportunity to explore the historical limestone quarries.

Leckhampton Hill is a 6 minute drive from Cheltenham Town Centre. Park in Daisybank car park or just a few yards further in the Folk car park. The bus route L provided by Pulham’s Coaches goes from Cheltenham Town Centre to Leckhampton Hill with a stop at Pilley Lane.

There is a pre-planned three mile walk that includes Devil’s Chimmney on the Cotswold Edges Walks website and it can be found here.

Pittville Park

Opened in 1825, Pittville Park is the largest ornamental park in Cheltenham and features the magnificent Pittville Pump Room and lakes. This park is given a grade 2 listing under the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens, with the Pump Room being a grade 1 historic building. The park is just a 24 minute walk from StayLets in Bath Street and you could also visit The Holst Museum enroute with a very short diversion.


Beautiful Gardens: Well-maintained flower beds and lakes.

Historic Pump Room: Iconic Regency architecture. Built by Joseph Pitt, the Pump Room took five years to build, opening in 1830. It was the last, and largest, of Cheltenham’s spa buildings. Pittville was Pitt’s vision of a planned new town development of the 1820s with the pump room as its centrepiece. Through its colourful history the iconic pump room has been an entertainment venue, hosted Royalty and housed American GIs during the Second World War after the US entered the war in 1942. For details of days that the Pump Room is open visit this Cheltenham Trust page.

The iconic Pittville Pump Room in Pittville Park

Family-Friendly: Play areas and cafes. Including the Heritage Café itself in the Pump Room Orangery.

For a more relaxed walk, Pittville Park in Cheltenham is ideal. Stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens, enjoy the serene lakes, and visit the historic Pittville Pump Room. It’s a perfect spot for families and those looking to enjoy a leisurely day out.

Cotswold Way National Trail


Long-Distance Path: 102 miles from Bath to Chipping Campden. This includes a section that runs from Winchcombe to Leckhampton Hill.

Varied Landscapes: Rolling hills, woodlands, and charming villages.

Historical Sites: Ancient forts, churches, and manor houses.

The Cotswold Way is a long-distance trail that passes through Cheltenham, offering sections that can be enjoyed for shorter walks. Explore the picturesque countryside, charming Cotswold villages, and significant historical sites along the way.

More information on some of the sections of the Cotswolds Way can be found on the National Trails website.

Crickley Hill Country Park


Woodland and Grassland: Diverse habitats. Crickley Hill features limestone grassland, scrub and semi-natural beech woodland. More than 1,300 species have been recorded here by The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (who jointly care for the site with the National Trust), from rare birds, butterflies and reptiles to wildflowers and toadstools.

Stunning Views: Crickley Hill is a prominent spur of the Cotswold escarpment. It overlooks the Severn Vale, with magnificent views towards Robinswood Hill and May Hill, and the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountain beyond.

Archaeological Interest: Iron Age fort remains. Gloucestershire County Council have put together a really insightful guide to over 4,500 years of settlements on Crickley Hill which can be found here.

Located a 9 minute drive from Cheltenham, Crickley Hill offers a mix of woodland and open grassland walks. The hilltop provides fantastic views and is rich in history, with evidence of human activity dating back thousands of years. There is a free car park with toilets at the Park itself – the opening hours of this can be found here. The bus route from Cheltenham to Tuffley has a stop in Churchdown Lane, Hucclecote which is a 6 minute walk to Crickley Hipp Park.

Sudeley Castle and Gardens


Historic Castle: Sudeley Castle remains the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds – Queen Katherine Parr, the last and surviving wife of King Henry VIII – who lived and died in the castle. Henry himself, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth I and Richard III have all played a part in Sudeley’s story. King Charles I found refuge here during the Civil War, when his nephew Prince Rupert established headquarters at the Castle.

Stunning Gardens: There are 10 magnificent, award-winning gardens which sweep around the castle and grounds. A couple of the gardens stand out. The Tithe Barn Garden sits within the ruins of the 15th Century Barn. The building was partly destroyed by Cromwell in the Civil War, but the ruins are now transformed into a romantic garden by a koi carp pond, with a spectacular view of the Castle. The Queens’ Garden is the magnificent centrepiece of Sudeley’s gardens. Named after four of England’s Queens –Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I – the Queens’ Garden is very special indeed. In Tudor times it would have been planted with herbs and possibly also vegetables, and decorative flowers. It has been redesigned many times over the years, but today it boasts more than 80 varieties of roses.

Scenic Walks/Tours. There are four guided tours of the Castle daily or you can explore the grounds and house on your own.

Just a 16 minute drive from Cheltenham, Sudeley Castle offers historic walks through its grounds and gardens. The surrounding countryside also provides beautiful walking routes with views of the Cotswolds.

StayLets Cheltenham offers comfortable and convenient serviced apartments, making it easy for you to venture out and enjoy these outdoor adventures. Whether you’re seeking challenging hikes or leisurely strolls, Cheltenham and its surrounding areas truly have something to offer everyone.

For more information on our serviced apartments and to plan your stay, view our Apartments and make a booking..