Having been born and raised in Cheltenham, it’s safe to say I’ve made my way around most of the pubs the town has to offer – and thankfully, there are a lot! In fact, I think the vast amount of pubs in Cheltenham is part of the reason it’s such a great town to visit. No matter what kind of watering hole you’re after – a great range of real ales; excellent pub grub; or just a nice spot to grab a decent pint after Cheltenham Races, the town has a pub or two for you. Here’s my guide to the best pubs in Cheltenham.
The Beehive, Montpellier Villas
Situated in a quiet street in the classy Suffolks area of Cheltenham, The Beehive is a favourite among locals and racegoers alike. Considered to be Montpellier’s favourite pub, there’s always a vibrant and fun atmosphere at The Beehive. One of the best pubs in Cheltenham, The Beehive has an impressive offering of locally sourced real ales, and some great food to boot. A Regency pub with Victorian features, it has an ale house feel. Enjoy some casual dining during your visit – there’s a tasty selection of pie and mash on offer, and they do a cracking Sunday roast too. It also boasts two pub gardens for the summer months.
Looking for an al fresco pint? Check out my guide to the best beer gardens in Cheltenham.
Sandford Park Alehouse, High Street
It took just two years for the Sandford Park Alehouse to claim CAMRA National Pub of the Year award back in 2015, and it remains one of the best pubs in Cheltenham today. No matter your age, head to Sandford Park Alehouse for a fun atmosphere and a great range of drinks. There’s an impressive range of over 1000 different ales and lagers. If you’re overwhelmed by choice, the friendly staff are on hand to recommend something to you. There’s a great range of dishes and pub snacks on the menu if you get peckish. Don’t miss the extensive beer garden too, which is the perfect sun trap in the summer months.
The Retreat, Suffolk Parade
The Suffolks’ iconic dark red pub, The Retreat, has been a must-visit for years when it comes to the best pubs in Cheltenham. Established back in 1982, it’s still going strong. Visit on a Friday or Saturday evening for fun vibes and young and old enjoying a drink or two. The Retreat is often packed out during Race Week, with dozens of racegoers beginning their day with a hearty breakfast and a Guinness. Aside from the lively atmosphere, The Retreat also serves some excellent food. Head here for a pub lunch in the beautiful area of Montpellier, and enjoy their Supper Club which takes place a few times a year.
If you’re after a bite to eat in Cheltenham, check out my guide to the best restaurants in Cheltenham.
The Bottle of Sauce, Ambrose Street
Come for the booze, stay for the food. Of course no list of the best pubs in Cheltenham would be complete without a mention of Dodo Pubs’ The Bottle of Sauce. Tucked away on Ambrose Street, inside you’ll find rustic benches, neon lights, great drinks, and some bloody excellent food. It’s always busy too, which is testament to just how great this pub is. Grab a round for your mates and arrive hungry. Their menu is full of American style goodness – burgers, artisan pizzas, and spicy wings. If you like your drinks spicy, they do a cracking margarita complete with whole chilli.
The Railway Inn, New Street
Tucked away in the lower end of Cheltenham’s town centre, you’ll find The Railway Inn. A traditional pub, there’s a fully stocked bar boasting drinks from local independent brewers, cider makers, and local distilleries. There’s also an extensive wine menu for those fancying a glass or two of decent grape juice. One of the best pubs in Cheltenham, The Railway is also well known for its food. The home of ‘Smokey Phi Phi’s’, you’ll find an exciting menu of Thai street barbecue food. Grab some dishes to soak up the booze – the spicy Thai fishcake and smoked chicken satay dishes are to die for. Enjoy the cute little beer garden area in the summer months too for a little R&R in the sunshine.
The Exmouth Arms, Bath Road
Affectionally known as ‘The Exmouth’, you’ll find this pub conveniently located on the pub crawl strip of Cheltenham’s Bath Road. One of the best pubs in Cheltenham, The Exmouth Arms offers a wide range of tasty ales and fine wines. The large beer garden is very popular in the summer months for sipping on a glass of Pimms or an icy cold cider. There’s a decent pub food menu too, featuring classics like juicy burgers, herb roasted salmon, and warm cajun chicken salads. You’ll often see a calendar of events at The Exmouth Arms, including comedy evenings, live music, and film screenings.
The Tivoli, Andover Road
A beautiful pub located in the upmarket Tivoli region, The Tivoli is one of the best pubs in Cheltenham. This welcoming pub is the perfect place to relax with some great food and drink. Discover a range of cask ales, new craft beers, an extensive gin selection, and a wide range of wines. If you get peckish, have no fear – there’s a generous snack menu as well as some pub classics. Tuck into a pie of the day with rich buttery mash, slow-cooked roast lamb shank, or a tasty range of burgers. It’s a great spot for a drink after work, or for whiling away a few hours at the weekend with a delicious Sunday roast.
The Langton, London Road
Situated in a gorgeous Georgian building, The Langton is an upmarket pub with a courtyard and garden on Cheltenham’s London Road. Discover its impressive character inside, complete with elegant decor, roaring log fires, and a relaxed atmosphere. One of the best pubs in Cheltenham, there’s a wide range of drinks. Sample seasonal cocktails, premium gin and tonics, a wide range of wines and champagnes, and craft beers and ciders. The food menu is not to be missed either – the rack of lamb, and pan-fried sea bass with chorizo dishes are delicious. Their Sunday roast with all the trimmings is a must too!
The Gloucester Old Spot, Tewkesbury Road
With a strong focus on great food and real ale, there’s no denying that The Gloucester Old Spot is one of the best pubs in Cheltenham. In fact, it has featured in guides like The Good Pub Guide and The Michelin Guide to Pubs as testament to its popularity. Located on the outskirts of Cheltenham, The Gloucester Old Spot offers a country pub vibe with excellent food and a great range of local ales, ciders, and wines. There’s a cosy bar, dining room, and plenty of rustic outdoor seating. They offer arguably one of the best roast dinners in Cheltenham too – choose from beef, pork loin, or chicken wrapped in bacon.
Jolly Brewmaster, Painswick Road
Affectionately known as the ‘Jolly Brew’, it’s undoubtedly one of the best pubs in Cheltenham. Located in the chic area of the Suffolks in Cheltenham, near Bath Road, the Jolly Brewmaster packs bags of character. You’ll find original etched windows, a horseshoe bar, and an open fire among loyal locals and beer fanatics alike. The Jolly Brewmaster has won CAMRA Pub of the Year several times, and I can see why. There are dozens of rotating ales and ciders. If you get peckish, hot snacks and rolls are usually served. It’s a great spot in the summer too, with a lovely beer garden and live music throughout the year.
That’s my guide to the best pubs in Cheltenham! Are there any other great pubs I’ve missed off the list? Let me know your favourites in the comments below.