On Monday, 6 December Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) hosted the first of two festive networking events at the Queens Hotel. The morning saw a variety of Professional Services businesses within the Cheltenham BID zone get a chance to network with other local businesses whilst enjoying some light refreshments in the beautiful Queens Hotel. After the networking session, our BID businesses were invited to join us for a skating session on Cheltenham’s all-weather ice rink located in Imperial Gardens, Montpellier.  

Lisa Hudson joined us from The Workplace – a co-working space which has recently opened a second site at Star Lodge in Montpellier. She had this to say about the event: “I really enjoyed attending the Cheltenham BID event at the Queens Hotel. Having the opportunity to meet other people from a variety of different businesses was interesting and informative. Sometimes the links needed between businesses can be small but have the potential to help support and attract new clients. Skating after a light lunch was a refreshing way to spend Monday lunchtime.”  

Our second event is this coming Monday, 13 December and we hope to see many more of our BID businesses there. In addition to networking and ice skating, there will also be a prize draw for all attendees to win either a £25 Cheltenham Gift Card or £25 worth of vouchers to spend at Cheltenham Christmas Market.  

Cheltenham celebrated the opening of a new Christmas Market on the Promenade on Saturday 20 November, bringing huge crowds to town.  There was a feeling of festivity amongst the crowds, as visitors perused the stalls enjoying the variety of products, with the smell of mulled wine and cider in the air.

Christmas market on pedestrian area.  Wooden chalets with medium gathering of people looking at a stall.
Cheltenham Christmas Market and Christmas Lights switch on Picture by Mikal Ludlow Photography Tel; 07855177205

This is the first year Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) has worked with Market Place Europe to bring a new Christmas market to town. Market Place Europe are one of the country’s largest operators.  They run the Belfast and Glasgow Christmas markets and are very excited to be in Cheltenham this year.

Open every day until 19 December, the market offers a great selection of gifts, food and drink.  From handmade wooden and personalised ceramic Christmas decorations to winter boots and handmade cotton clothing, there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets.  Food from around the world includes exotic burgers, German sausages and Gluhwein, crepes and Belgian waffles, mead and gin, Hot chocolate and chocolaty treats.

Fir covered archway leading into Christmas fmarket with Waterstones book shop in the background.
Cheltenham Christmas Market and Christmas Lights switch on Picture by Mikal Ludlow Photography Tel; 07855177205

Keen to offer trading space for locals too, Market Place Europe ran a competition called Pitch Perfect, giving one lucky new business an invaluable opportunity to showcase their products to new audiences.  Cheltenham based trader Soup Cans were the delighted winners.  Selling gender neutral clothing, all their Tee’s and Sweatshirts are Fair Trade Certified, organic and 100% cotton.

Abi Walker, owner of Soup Cans said: ‘I usually sell online so this is an amazing opportunity to get my products in front of people so they can feel the quality. The fact that I design all the clothing, which is organic and ethically made, makes a real difference to shoppers.

People have been so interested in the story behind my business.  My ethos is to stop labelling people – labels are for soup cans!’

Belinda Hunt, BID operations manager said: ‘This is the first time the BID has brought this market to Cheltenham.  We’re delighted with the response from the public and enjoyed seeing all the happy faces on Saturday.  We have coach parties booked to come from Wales, Manchester and the Midlands so are looking forward to welcoming locals and visitors from further afield to the Cheltenham Christmas market.”

The market runs from Monday – Wednesday 10am -7pm, Thursday – Saturday 10am-9pm and Sunday 12-6pm.

After a year of closures and limited openings, today the members of TURF Cheltenham are bouncing back with the launch of an online auction of unique hospitality experiences.

Up for offer are 60 lots from over 37 independent hospitality venues across Cheltenham. The experiences are as individual as the businesses promoting them, but they are all similar in offering “The Very Very First” opportunities.

To celebrate the end of lockdown, you’ll be able to bid on a range of experiences in support of local owner-operated hospitality venues, including the first Birdcage Booth at new bar Imperial Haus, a private room for six at Bar Padron and a table at the first jazz gig after reopening at Smokey Joe’s.

Other BID businesses involved in the auction include Woodkraft, Domaine 16, Lumiere, The Find, COCO, Under the Prom and GL50, as well as several more of Cheltenham’s very best venues.

Rob Metz, Owner of Café Boho, said: “I got the idea from a friend of mine back in Holland. He told me about a group of businesses that got together to see how they could get their customers back into their venues once lockdown was over. They wanted this to be something different, something special and very unique and so the Auction was created. As a member of TURF Cheltenham I just knew we could do this as well. All of us are not just independent hospitality business owners, but also people that are creative and like-minded and would be up for doing something different. After presenting the idea to the group, we formed a small core team and, well, the rest is history I suppose.”

As TURF Cheltenham is also keen to give back to the community and support a local charity, 5p of every £1 bid will be donated to National Star College in Ullenwood. The other 95p will go directly to the venue you are bidding for.

Monica Farthing, Fundraiser at National Star, said: “Never in National Star’s 54-year-old history has the need for our support been greater as during this pandemic. Our frontline nursing, care, therapies and education teams have gone above and beyond to keep the vulnerable young people at National Star safe, well and happy. We could not provide the high standard of facilities, which enabled us to respond quickly to the pandemic, without the fantastic support of the local community. We can’t thank TURF enough for choosing to support National Star through their auction.”

Set up just over a year ago, TURF Cheltenham is made up of 34 independent, owner-operated businesses who work together to have their voices heard and to share thoughts, ideas and build a great community.

To view the auction prizes available, visit:  www.turfcheltenham.co.uk/auction

For more information on how the auction works, visit: www.turfcheltenham.co.uk/the-very-very-first-auction

The auction runs for three weeks from midday on Wednesday 31 March.  Follow TURF Cheltenham, and TURF Members, on their social channels for further updates: Instagram,  Facebook and Twitter 

After outgrowing their current venue on Coronation Square, Escape Rooms Cheltenham are opening a new venue in Cheltenham town centre at the end of March and are inviting BID businesses to be a part of their newest puzzle.

The Great Eggscape will be a family-oriented walking trail around Cheltenham town centre this Easter. Each participating business will display a poster of a unique egg QR code in their window and players will have to locate each egg and solve a small puzzle relating to the host business. After submitting the answers on an accompanying webpage, players will be in with a chance of winning gift vouchers to use at the escape rooms once they re-open in May.

The trail is due to launch on April 2nd and will run until the end of April. By encouraging people into the town centre as restrictions begin to lift, it is hoped the The Great Eggscape will benefit all BID businesses while promoting the opening of the new venue.

There is still plenty of room for more businesses to be part of the trail. If you would like to take part, please email: pete@escaperoomscheltenham.co.uk.

Cheltenham BID would like to welcome Escape Rooms Cheltenham to the BID zone while recognising its great eagerness to work with other local businesses to improve the town centre.

You can find more details about The Great Eggscape at: https://escaperoomscheltenham.co.uk/the-great-eggscape/

Cheltenham would have been gearing up for the return of Light Up Cheltenham this weekend. The giant observation wheel would have been in place in Imperial Gardens. This time next week, many of Cheltenham’s stunning Regency buildings would have been bathed in coloured light.

However, due to the continuing threat of COVID-19 and present lockdown, Light Up Cheltenham cannot go ahead in 2021.

The event, launched by Cheltenham BID in 2018, has seen thousands of people come to town during what would normally be a very quiet time of the year. The annual event has grown and gone from strength to strength in recent years, becoming a firm favourite with local residents and those from further afield.

Spark!, the world-renowned street theatre drumming group, has kicked each year’s event off with a bang, while 2019 was the first year to host the popular Observation Wheel in Imperial Gardens. February 2020 saw over 30 buildings beautifully illuminated, attracting thousands of visitors to the town centre over three weeks.

Belinda Hunt, BID operations manager, said: “When we launched Light Up Cheltenham, we knew it would be popular and draw people into town during the hours of darkness throughout February. We wanted something that would appeal to a wide demographic and support the Night Time Economy businesses.

“We felt that the financial commitment to light up the town would not be a responsible use of levy-payer’s contributions, as the businesses the event is designed to benefit remain closed.”

Cheltenham BID continues to support town centre businesses in many ways, including remaining available to provide advice or answer queries, promote lockdown services across social media, tidy up the town centre and support the work of Visit Cheltenham and Cheltenham Borough Council.

Photography: Mikal Ludlow

Photography: Mikal Ludlow

Cheltenham is sparkling in a beautiful Christmas glow following the switch on of the town’s new festive lights.

The new Christmas lights, organised by Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), are accompanied for the first year with golden baubles hanging from the trees on the pedestrianised Promenade and gold powder-coated holly, reindeer, stars and harps adorning the lampposts, allowing people to feel festive throughout the day and night. Alongside the new additions on the Promenade, there is also a stunning new Christmas tree on Montpellier roundabout.

Although the traditional Christmas light switch-on event was unable to go ahead this year, the lights offer a festive experience for those taking their daily exercise or using click and collect from local businesses.

Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager at Cheltenham BID, says of the lights, “We are pleased that we took the decision earlier this year to have new Christmas lights.  We could not have foreseen how important these decorations would be and the fact that the display is as attractive during the day as it is at night is extra special. 

“With the support of Cheltenham Borough Council, we have been able to give local businesses and people something to enjoy when they come to town, whether that is for their daily exercise or do their Christmas shopping when the restrictions are lifted.”

Cllr Victoria Atherstone, Cabinet Member for Economy and Development, added: “The Christmas lights are absolutely stunning and I’m certainly feeling in the festive spirit now. It is a real shame the traditional Cheltenham Christmas lights switch-on event, normally enjoyed by so many, had to be cancelled, but public safety quite rightly has been prioritised. I do hope however the people of Cheltenham are able to safely visit the town centre to experience this wonderful festivity for themselves.”

The spectacular Christmas lights follow the announcement of Cheltenham’s Christmas campaign which urges local residents and would-be visitors to support local businesses this Christmas.

As well as the Christmas lights, Cheltenham BID is pleased to be working with the Queens Hotel which has recently announced an exciting new project which will see its current scaffolding lit up with a projection of a giant advent calendar.

Supporting local charity, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which aims to help young people thrive, the organisations have developed a new children’s artwork competition surrounding the theme of ‘Kindness at Christmas’. Each day from 1 December a lucky winner will have their artwork revealed within the advent calendar. The winners will also be able experience the grandeur of the venue with an afternoon tea for them and their family when restrictions permit.  

For more information on Christmas in Cheltenham including gift guides, takeaways and shops offering click and collect, see visitcheltenham.com/christmas

To celebrate the theme ‘Kindness at Christmas’, our partners No Child Left Behind and the iconic Queens Hotel in Cheltenham, will soon light up an advent calendar projection of school children’s artwork.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) partners Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) and Marketing Cheltenham have worked with The Queen’s Hotel in Montpellier, to develop an innovative way of making the most of the scaffolding and fabric covering for the building works over the Christmas period.

To make the most of this dressing, the organisations have developed a children’s artwork competition to complement the NCLB theme of ‘Kindness at Christmas’.

The closing date for participating schools, all of whom have signed up to the NCLB Community Agreement, will also coincide with World Kindness Day Friday 13 November. The winners will see their artwork revealed and projected onto the fabric in the form of an advent calendar and will also be provided with an afternoon tea at The Queens Hotel.

Cllr Flo Clucas, member for healthy lifestyles said: “Christmas is all about kindness and this is just the kind of lovely, innovative and inclusive thinking that we want to inspire in our community.

“We are really excited about our collaboration with The Queen’s Hotel. It will be a truly magical and proud moment for local children to have their pictures revealed on the side of this iconic building, and then experience the grandeur of the venue for a fancy afternoon tea. Father Christmas will be delighted and so proud of our children and the pictures they have done.”

Queens hotel manager, Erol Uray, continued: “We are really pleased to work with the No Child Left Behind project and provide something a little bit different for all. We’re really looking forward to seeing the children’s artwork displayed and to welcome the children and their families to their afternoon tea.”

Belinda Hunt operations manager, Cheltenham Business Improvement District said: ‘’The Christmas light switch on is one of the key highlights in our calendar and we’re delighted that The Queens Hotel have worked with us and NCLB to offer something different and creative to what has been a very different year. We’re looking forward to the big reveal of the advent calendar which will form part of our brand new display.’’

To find out more about the NCLB community partnership and how to get involved visit nclbcheltenham.org.uk.

The NCLB advent calendar will each day reveal a winning picture on the calendar. The winners (with up to four family members accompanying them) will be invited to afternoon tea at the Queens.

For participating schools who are signed up to the No Child Left Behind community agreement the child needs to return their entry to school by 12 November.

Ten new BID businesses have been invited to be part of Cheltenham’s newest FREE interactive town centre trail – the magical Christmas Spirits Trail. The magical trail will start – Monday December 7 – Sunday 3 January.

The businesses now confirmed are Loake in Ormond Street, Hays Travel on High Street, Mister’s Cafe on Grosvenor Terrace,  Sevenoaks Sound and Vision in Pittville Street, Montpellier’s Co-op Food, Cheltenham Martial Arts on Winchcombe Street, The Clementine Café on Queens Circus, Vinegar Hill on The Promenade, The Everest on Portland Street and The Play Farm found in The Brewery Quarter.

Every parent’s mind will be on restrictions this Christmas and how they will affect them and their families. Cheltenham BID is keenly aware of this and has planned activities for families that can be done safely, socially distanced and contactless. For one of these, they’ve teamed up with QR code trail experts High Street Safari to create an interactive story-trail that is designed to encourage children to walk, have fun, get engaged and most importantly, take their minds off the pandemic.  

The trail is positioned around the town centre with 10 ‘Christmas Spirit’ characters and takes on average about 45 minutes to complete. It’s completely free for families and groups to take part in and they will win a heart-warming Christmas e-book at the end. At around 1.5 miles, or 3,500 steps, it should keep families fit and active too.

The trail works by utilising contactless QR codes, without the need for families to download or sign up to anything. 10 jolly window characters, all specially created for the trail have been placed around Cheltenham town centre for families to hunt down. There is no need to actually go inside the venues.

The Christmas Spirit Trail revolves around a magical story that includes Albert Claus, the less famous brother of Father Christmas. His job is to maintain the Spirit of Christmas by spreading joy bubbles on Christmas day, but he’s gone missing! By visiting the trail stops and speaking to each of the cheerful ‘Spirits of Christmas’, players will learn what has happened to Albert and, finally, be able to solve the mystery, save him and read the conclusion with the free e-book at the end.

When families in Cheltenham scan each character’s unique QR code the character will burst to life with an animation on their smartphone and they’ll learn their names, stories and gather clues, with the opportunity to also take and share selfies with the character. Younger children will enjoy spotting the colourful characters in shop windows and older kids, and grown-up ones, will engage by hearing the stories.

Stay up to dates with the Facebook Event here.

To find out more about the trail, visit the website: www.christmasspirittrail.com

For the trail map, visit: www.highstreetsafari.com/locations/cheltenham.

Join the enhanced Augmented Reality (AR) Hidden Cheltenham Trail and ENTER the in-app competition to win a one night stay for two at The Queens Hotel, two adults and two children’s goodie bags full of surprises from more than 20 businesses, including two family tickets for Hollywood Bowl, a couple of free games at Mr Mulligans Cheltenham and prizes from Toys 2 Grow, WH SMITH, The Works, Boots, Pound land, Games Workshop, Harper and Cooper, New Look, Claire’s, Body Shop and so many more…

October’s Hidden Cheltenham trail will start on Monday October 26 2020 – Sunday November 1 2020.

All you have to do is visit all 12 locations, scan the codes and answer the question- how many different hats does Lucy wear throughout the trail? to be in for a chance of winning our brilliant prizes.

Competition end date Sunday 1 November 2020. (the competition terms and conditions can be found in-app. Please ENTER via AR)

The QR codes can be found on the round green Hidden Cheltenham floor stickers placed around town. Take a look at the map

Just open your phone camera and scan the QR code or download a free QR code scanner app from your play store After your first scan a link will appear on your screen – click it then re-scan the code to experience the AR.

You will meet Lucy who will tell you historic information, fun facts and introduce interactive challenges and competitions, creating a real-world experience in the palm of your hand

Find the window stickers in businesses where you can discover free giveaways, offers, discounts and competitions.

Cheltenham BID are confident that the trail can be played in a very safe and responsible manner. Players will likely be in family/small groups and will not need to enter any buildings to play. All displayed materials will discourage players from physically touching the windows/posters and the BID will install markings around the window decals to give families space to interact with them one group at a time.

Keep up to date with prizes, tips ands clues by pressing ‘interested’ or ‘going’ on the FACEBOOK EVENT

Completely new Christmas lights will be seen across the town centre from Tuesday November 24, brought to you by the BID and supported by Cheltenham Borough Council. There won’t be an official switch-on this year because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions but we’re confident the new look will be a major draw that will help all our businesses when they reopen after the national lockdown.

As well as the sparkle during the darker hours, the new Christmas lights will bring a gleam during the day.  Golden baubles will hang from the trees on the pedestrianised Promenade and gold powder-coated holly, reindeer, stars and harps will adorn the lampposts in other streets.  A new Christmas tree will be installed at the Montpellier roundabout.

Since the BID has been in operation, the lights have been extended to include The Strand, Cambray Place, Pittville Street, Clarence Parade, Regent Street and Winchcombe Street as well as The High Street and the new crossing between Boots and Primark is proving to be a popular spot for selfies. This is just one of the successful partnerships the BID has with Cheltenham Borough Council, without whose support we would not have been able to light up such a large area.

The BID would like to thank PDSA, High Street for assisting with The Strand’s ceiling of lights by supplying the electricity for the third year running.

A new campaign has been launched to celebrate Cheltenham’s famous and mouth-watering food and drink offering, providing a much needed boost to the town’s hospitality sector. The Great Taste of Cheltenham, which will run for the next six weeks, will highlight the incredible array of establishments in the town, showcasing its diverse and delicious dining offer together with its renowned hospitality culture.

Cheltenham has long been known as a foodie destination, from its award winning and Michelin-starred dining through to some of the best independent and up and coming eateries in the region. But as new national guidelines are introduced, the new campaign seeks to remind people of just how special Cheltenham’s local food & drink scene is – and why continuing to support the hospitality sector is more important now than ever.

This BID initiative is being delivered by Marketing Cheltenham and will encourage visitors and locals to support our diverse hospitality sector.

David Jackson, Manager of Marketing Cheltenham, says of the campaign, “Cheltenham’s hospitality and food and drink scene is a really big part of the town’s identity and DNA – and we’re lucky to have such an exceptional range of independent and award winning cafes, restaurants and chefs on our doorstep. From our Masterchef finalists and Michelin-recommended restaurants through to our authentic and original Sri Lankan street food, Cheltenham’s food and drink scene competes with the top foodie destinations anywhere in the country. The Great Taste of Cheltenham is our way of reminding people of that and how important it is that we continue to support these businesses through these uncertain times.”

Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager at Cheltenham BID added: “We hope that the timing of this campaign will come at just the right moment to support the many hospitality businesses across Cheltenham who were forced to close their doors during the Covid-19 lockdown. The range and quality of our food & drink offer here in Cheltenham really is superb, so the BID is pleased to bring you The Great Taste of Cheltenham as a wonderful way of telling this story and encouraging both locals and visitors back into the town.”

The campaign, which will be hosted on the Visit Cheltenham website and social media channels, will also feature a series of new videos with local foodie favourites The Taste Plug. And following on from its own recent launch, Cheltenham’s new collective of independent hospitality businesses, TURF, are also partnering on the campaign.

To find out more about The Great Taste of Cheltenham, go to www.visitcheltenham.com/great-taste. To watch The Great Taste of Cheltenham videos click here.

Cheltenham BID is the lead sponsor of the Cheltenham Festivals … around town programme, bringing hundreds of free events to the streets and businesses of Cheltenham during the Jazz, Science, Music and Literature Festivals, including the annual Lit Crawl.

Of course this year’s programme is having to take a very different format, and we would like to thank the team at Cheltenham Festivals for enabling us to continue to support this important event.

As ever, over the two weekends of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival there will be an exciting line up of well-known as well as emerging poets, writers, spoken word artists and song writers for people to listen to.

This year, instead of the usual Lit Crawl format, free performances will be held at the Imperial Gardens Stage’, and brought to you in connection with: John Gordons, The Botanist, Boston Tea Party, Memsahib Gin and Tea Bar, The Beehive, Soho Bar & Eatery and Montpellier Wine Bar.

Find the programme of events here.

Despite the earlier closing time, you will still be able to enjoy an early evening drink in some of Cheltenham’s many safe and friendly bars, grab a bite to eat or have a special meal at one of  the town’s hundreds of restaurants and bars.

Why not take a stroll up to Montpellier before or after the show to enjoy some of the finest selections of whiskies, wines, gins and liqueurs?

Or wander into the town centre for a cocktail and some delicious food.

Looking for somewhere to go pre-show?

The Beehive serves the best traditional ales, the finest local ciders, craft gins and fresh locally-sourced produce, cooked to order in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

This new format has given us the chance to involve one of our professional services businesses for the first time this year and we are pleased to have Cambray Design on board. We have aligned them with some of Gloucestershire’s talented emerging poets whose creativity we thought fits well with this design agency’s ability to solve challenges, change behviours and generate positive change through innovation.

Nominations opened Tuesday, September 22 and close Tuesday, October 6 at 5pm. Make sure to head to the website to nominate: cotswoldlifebidawards.co.uk

Cheltenham BID and Cotswold Life have reopened nominations for the 2020 BID Awards and want to celebrate the brilliant businesses which make Cheltenham town centre the vibrant, dynamic, diverse area that it is through the difficulties of COVID-19.

Back in March the nominations closed for the 2020. Then the pandemic hit and we were forced to put the awards process on hold. Due to Government guidelines we didn’t feel right to complete the judging in March, but six months on the BID and Cotswold Life have decided to reopen nominations for two weeks only.

Let’s highlight and celebrate those in the Business Improvement District for all their hard work, before and during COVID, in what has been such a difficult and uncertain time for all.

All nominations that were made at the start of this year are still valid and will be used in the judging process, but we also want to hear from those businesses who have gone above and beyond during this difficult time.

Perhaps you made you have moved business, made experience extra memorable or possibly opened a new venture or spun their businesses into a new initiative.

We want to hear from the public and businesses big and small in the BID zone, so get nominating those who need the recognition and support for all their hard work.

Previous post –

We are delighted to launch the third annual Cotswold Life Cheltenham BID Awards to celebrate our brilliant businesses which make Cheltenham town centre the vibrant, dynamic, diverse area that it is.

See if a business is part of BID.

Across 10 categories, this year’s awards celebrated the very best traders in the Cheltenham BID zone – the area of the town centre from the High Street, along The Promenade to Montpellier, and down to the Brewery Quarter.

See our gallery for photos from our 2019 celebration at The Old Courthouse

Since its inception in 2016, the board behind the BID – Cheltenham’s Business Improvement District – has done a huge amount to raise the profile of the town as a retail and leisure destination. The BID is behind the Light Up Cheltenham event, which bought the Giant Observation Wheel to the town and saw more than 40 buildings floodlit. It also introduced the popular Cheltenham Gift Card, now accepted by John Lewis & Partners. It’s also campaigned for major infrastructure projects, including the £700,000 project to revamp the High Street.

Those who visit Cheltenham are lucky enough to enjoy the huge range of restaurants, bars and leisure outlets in the dazzling Brewery Quarter.The Promenade must be one of the prettiest shopping streets in the whole of the UK. The charming independent boutiques and salons of Montpellier, along with its quirky pubs, area dream. And with the opening of the dazzling new John Lewis, Cheltenham’s status as the county’s premier retail destination is sealed.

Cheltenham BID has worked with more than 24 businesses on an exciting new Christmas marketing initiative designed to encourage people safely into the town centre this December.

An interactive advent calendar offering daily giveaways will sit on the BID’s social media channels throughout December, each day requiring entrants to answer a question related to a specific BID business.

Participants will be encouraged to go and safely interact with the businesses, and specific questions may require a study of window displays or a peep through to the shop’s interior. Once the answer is sent in, the participants will be in with the chance of winning the prize. 

For more competition information and the terms and conditions, visit https://bit.ly/3kJ9MnL.  

We have kindly been donated lots of high-quality prizes from businesses, including £500 worth of vouchers from Beards, prizes from Anthropologie, W.H Smith, Boots and so many more.

Do you follow Cheltenham BID on social media?

By Maria Allebone

A creative new patisserie called Edible Art, specialising in beautiful, colourful and unique pastries and cakes opened in The Courtyard on Saturday August 1. Damien Wager, owner of the new Courtyard business began his pastry career just four years ago, but he is already known for his wonderful pastry and cake creations, with nearly 80,000 followers on Instagram. We met Lizzie Nicholas, manager of the patisserie at the grand opening of the shop and asked her a few important questions.

Lizzie Nicholas, Edible Art manager

MA: What makes Edible Art Patisserie so different?

LN: Edible Art Patisserie is unlike anything else that can be found in Cheltenham or the surrounding area. Over the past four years Damien has refined the art of pastry to become one of the best in the country and gaining a reputation for his skills which are recognised worldwide. The unique style that Damien has adopted ensures that guests are given an unforgettable experience tasting the most luxurious of desserts. This is the one and only Edible Art Patisserie at the moment with plans to progress further afield in the future. We have a small team of 3 which means everything is completed to the highest standard, for us this is a hugely exciting opportunity and we want to keep coming up with new ideas and creations to keep the people of Cheltenham, as well as those who travel from further afield excited and surprised at what is possible when they visit.

MA: What’s your favourite patisserie/chocolate from the shop?

LN: So we all have different favourites; for myself it is the Peanut and Milk Chocolate bonbons, Kacper can’t get enough of the Exotic Fruit tart and Damien loves the bubblegum macaron which will be a new feature on the selection this week.

MA: Is there anyone in Cheltenham that you would like to collaborate with?

LN: We would love to do some form of collaboration with David Everett-Matthias and the team at The Champignon Sauvage at some point in the future. David’s book ‘Essence’ was one of the first books Damien ever purchased when he started out as a chef and his dedication and commitment to his business is admirable. We believe there is a lot we can learn from him and his team to ensure we become a staple in the Cheltenham community for years to come. 

You can find Edible Art Patisserie on the ground floor of the beautiful Courtyard in Montpellier.

Follow them on Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/damienwager/ https://www.instagram.com/edibleartpatisserie/

Website https://www.edibleartpatisserie.com/

Hospitality businesses can now sign up to Cheltenham BID’s business support call.

How? Zoom call 
Date: Monday June 29
Time: 2pm – 3pm
How do I sign up? Request the call link, ID and Password from Maria.

1. Reopening guidance – people and venues
Sylvia Oates
Best Bar None
2. How to make sure you are safe to reopen and licensing updates
Bernadette Reed
Senior Environmental Health Officer at Cheltenham Borough Council and Licensing Department
3. Q & A
4.Your asks of the BID

Important links Government guidance released today – Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services    Sample risk assessement guidance  

After requesting to sign up please take a look at our information for businesses.
Cheltenham BID’s Back to Business campaign
Welcome Back campaign

Ten new BID businesses have been invited to be part of Cheltenham’s newest exciting FREE interactive town center trail – the magical Christmas Spirits Trail. Trail will start – Saturday 14 November – Sunday 3 January.

The Christmas Spirit Trail is an interactive experience trail with a difference. Families don’t just walk from one stop to another looking at things – they fully interact with the trail by scanning the QR codes (kids love to do this), seeing the colourful characters burst to life with animations, learning their unique stories and are finally rewarded with a bespoke Christmas Spirit eBook at the end.

The trail will lead groups to 10 locations within the BID zone (town centre) where Near Field Communication (NFC) – a contact-less communication technology – and QR codes will be used to identify the individual Christmas spirits.

You may not have heard about him but Santa has a less famous brother, Albert Claus. Albert’s job is to maintain the Christmas Spirit and spread joy bubbles on Christmas day, but he’s gone missing!

By visiting the trail stops and speaking to each of the cheerful Spirits of Christmas, players will learn what has happened to Albert and, finally, be able to solve the mystery, save him and read a free Christmas Spirit eBook at the end.  

Meet Koto, ‘Spirit of Christmas Song’, one of the 10 ‘Spirits of Christmas’ on the trail.

Trail map and more information to come.

Keep up to date with the FACEBOOK EVENT.

Cheltenham BID are confident that the trail can be played in a very safe and responsible manner. Players will likely be in family/small groups and will not need to enter any buildings to play. All displayed materials will discourage players from physically touching the windows/posters and the BID will install markings around the window decals to give families space to interact with them one group at a time.

Two new free trails will be run by Cheltenham BID throughout the summer – a new Monster Hero Safari trail and an enhanced Augmented Reality (AR) version of the Hidden Cheltenham Trail.

The Monster Hero Safari is a town centre experience where families are tasked with hunting down 10 monster superheroes, displayed in public windows, and learning their names, origin stories and powers.

Children will delight in spotting the cute, colourful characters and learning all about them in the Monster Hero Safari trail. They will be even happier when they spot all 10 and win a free e-book with the characters’ first team-up adventure.

The trail will lead groups to 10 locations (small independent traders and charity retailers) within the BID zone where Near Field Communication (NFC) – a contact-less communication technology – and QR codes will be used to identify the individual monsters.

The trail will also raise funds for NHS Charities Together, which supports NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients, through a minimum £2 donation from participants.

The second is an enhanced Augmented Reality (AR) version of the Hidden Cheltenham Trail. By scanning the QR codes with a phone camera and activating the AR at the 12 permanent trail points, participants will bring up historic information, fun facts, sounds and interactive challenges, creating a real-world experience in the palm of their hands. 

This will then connect to around 48 of our businesses who will have coded QR stickers promoting the trail in their windows. The code will link users to summer offers and discounts at the businesses.

The Monster trail will run from Monday July 13 until September 4 and the Hidden Cheltenham trail will start on Monday July 20 and be permanent with enhancements and changes to follow in future school holidays etc.

For both trails, Cheltenham BID are confident that they can be played in a very safe and responsible manner. Players will likely be in family/small groups and will not need to enter any buildings to play. All displayed materials will discourage players from physically touching the windows/posters and the BID will install markings around the window decals to give families space to interact with them one group at a time.

Please click ‘interested’ in both Facebook events for updated information and prizes.

Monster Hero Safari https://www.facebook.com/events/716473662442445/

Enhanced Hidden Cheltenham trail  https://www.facebook.com/events/949225822199155/

Exciting plans to bring an ice rink and expanded Christmas Market to Cheltenham this winter were given the go-ahead today (May 28).

Cheltenham Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously approved Cheltenham BID’s plans this morning.

The ice rink will be sited on Imperial Gardens, in front of the Queen’s Hotel, and the Christmas Market will be expanded on to the pavements at the Long Gardens and on either side of The Promenade close to the ice rink.

The festive experience will be further enhanced with Cheltenham Trust giving a Christmas theme to the outdoor Imperial Garden Bar at Cheltenham Town Hall.

BID Director Kevan Blackadder said: “We are delighted that we have been given the go-ahead to improve Cheltenham as a Christmas destination, which will be so important on the back of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are aware that we will have to take further advice as to whether it will be safe to go-ahead with the ice rink with social distancing measures still likely to be in place. If that means it will be unsafe to proceed, we now know that we will be able to bring this eagerly-awaited attraction to the town next year.”

The ice rink operators will be 11th Hour, who have run successful rinks across the country, including Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland last winter.

Like the Cardiff rink, the Cheltenham rink will be covered and so will be the only one in Gloucestershire to offer skating whatever the weather. The rink will have glass sides and a transparent roof.

Cheltenham BID will take over responsibility for running the Christmas Market from the borough council for the first time this year. The BID was keen to increase the size of the market to attract a wider range and higher quality of traders

After circulating an expression of interest, it has appointed a different operator, Market Place, to run the market in the new areas approved by councillors today. Market Place set up and developed famous Christmas Markets in other towns and cities across the UK including Glasgow, Newcastle, Belfast, Bath and Exeter.

The market on the pedestrianised Promenade will be run by Cotswold Markets, the popular local operator, which already runs the twice-monthly Farmers Market and monthly Craft Market on the same site.

Planning committee member Councillor Rowena Hay said at the meeting: “This is incredibly important as part of our recovery strategy. The new market will link not only different parts of The Promenade but also link Montpellier to the town centre.

“The ice rink will have minimal impact on Imperial Gardens, as it only uses a small part of the gardens.”

Committee chairman Councillor Paul Baker said: “If you go to Bath, their Christmas Market is so impressive. I congratulate Cheltenham BID on upping our game as we need to compete not only with Gloucester but also with Bristol and Bath.”

Cheltenham Borough Council’s planning committee approved the BID’s plans for an ice rink in Imperial Gardens at a meeting last November.

However, due to on-going work at The Quadrangle, which is undergoing a multi-million-pound refurbishment, the original site planned for the rink within the gardens was not available, which led to the plans being reconsidered today.

With the dawn of spring, preparations are underway to bring vibrant floral displays to all areas of the BID zone.  

BID in Bloom 2020 will see baskets and troughs full of plants adoring balconies, walls and railings from June through to October.   

Businesses from Portland Street to Montpellier will be enjoying a summer of colour when we install more than 100 displays to the town.  

This will be the third year we’ve run BID in Bloom and the feedback from businesses has been very positive.  Allun Griffiths, Manager of The Spectre, said: “The hanging baskets outside The Spectre really soften and brighten up the Strand area of Cheltenham.”  

To make sure the town looks attractive and complements the blooms, we will be arranging several Tidy Up Cheltenham campaigns.   

Starting in March in Grosvenor Terrace, the BID team and local businesses will be out and about litter picking, weeding, cleaning graffiti and stickers from bins and lamp posts. As part of the Town Centre Team we will also be joined by partners from Cheltenham Borough Council’s Environmental Health department in other areas of the town centre.