The Promenade is Cheltenham's best known and most impressive avenue. Its origins go as late back as 1790s when a row of shops, known as the Colonnade, was built on the south side of the High Street, where that street now joins the Promenade. The intention was to continue the line of shops southwards, but that had to wait for another 20 years.
known as Sherborne, or Imperial Promenade, The Promenade was established in 1818 as
a tree-lined carriage drive connecting the High Street to the new Sherborne
Spa, which stood where The Queens Hotel now stands. From 1823
onwards a hotel, now occupied by Ottakar's bookshop, and a succession of large detached and terraced houses, now the Municipal Offices, were
built along its length.
In 1826, Thomas Clark and William Debenham opened a branch of their London draper's business, which became known as Cavendish
House, as the London branch of their business was based in Wigmore Street, near Cavendish Square. The transformation of the Promenade into a commercial
street begun. Although the original building of Cheltenham's oldest department store is long gone, Cavendish House is even today Cheltenham's leading department store.
The Promenade has won the title of Britain’s Favourite
High Street, beating off stiff competition from 24
other high streets across the country.
Sometimes known as 'the Bond Street of the West', it has remained the focus of Cheltenham's fashionable shopping. Several of its businesses date back to the 19th century, such as Martin's the jewellers, which can be traced back to the 1840s.
One of the most impressive facades in the northern part of the Promenade is that of Ottakar's bookstore. Built in 1823 it was first occupied by a fashionable English portait and minitature painter Hamlet Millet. His house later became the Imperial Hotel, and by 1856 the Imperial Club, the membership of which was offered to 'resident noblemen and gentlemen'. In 1874 it changed it's purpose yet again and served as Cheltenham's main Post Office until 1987 when it was converted into a prestigious shop.
|Minotaur and Hare
Not to be missed is a modern art sculpture of Minotaur and Hare, situated in front of the building in the centre of the Promenade. It was created by Sophie Ryder in 1995 and was acquired by public subscription in 1998.
At the west side of the Promenade, in front of the Municipal Offices, visitors can relax among beautiful flower bed displays called the Long Garden. The impressive Neptune Fountain, which was modelled on the Trevi Fountain in Rome, situated next to the garden dates back to the late 19th century.
||Russell & Bromley
|Crabtree & Evelyn
||The Woollen Mill
|Martin & Co
and many more