Unfortunately, the text that I had spent HOURS on has disappeared. Here is a replacement, with as much as I can remember of that afternoon.
By the time Ali and I got to Cheltenham, the sun had broken through. And it really made the city shine!
Cheltenham is a city of over 120,000 people, and today it is buzzing with activity. Not only has the sun brought out all the residents, but the Cheltenham Jazz Festival starts on Friday, so the city is filling up with music fans. Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town since the discovery of mineral springs in 1716. While the city sits on the edge of the Cotswolds, you don't feel like you're in the Cotswolds. The city is known for its Regency architecture (in fact, it is said to be the most complete Regency town in England), and looks much like Bath with its regal buildings and crescent-shaped streets and townhomes. I only had a few hours, so only enough time to explore the centre of the city, taking in the shops, the sun and the beautiful buildings.
Cheltenham is a very old city, but the only surviving medieval building is St. Mary's Parish Church. It is believed to have replaced a Saxon church in the 8th century, and through the centuries various architectural developments and replacements have been made, right up to Victorian times. The church is now surrounded closely by various buildings, making it awkward to get a full picture of the church.
The Promenade is a very wide street lined by designer shops, cafes and government buildings (including the tourist information centre). There were lots of people strolling or sitting on the various benches. The sculpture "Minotaur and Hare" by Sophie Ryder (born in London) is a feature on the Promenade, having been purchased by public subscription in 1998. It was a very controversial purchase due to the anatomically-correct Minotaur.
Only too soon, it was time to head back to the foggy, northern Cotswolds. I have found another city that I could return to. I would love to come back for the Jazz Festival!