Cheltenham is a spa town in the Cotswolds which over the past few years has seen a big increase in street art. Primarily the result of the Cheltenham Paint Festival it has resulted in a series murals positioned around the town. Such has been the volume of street art in the area, the town has fast gained a reputation as one of the must see locations for street art in the UK.
Starting in 2017 the Cheltenham Paint Festival has operated every year since then. The brainchild of local artist Andy Davies, he has led the festival ever since. It also held the distinction of being one of the only European street art festivals to continue operating in 2020. The result has been a continuous spread of street art created across the town.
Map of Street Art in Cheltenham
Where to see Street Art in Cheltenham
Cheltenham street art is spread out across the town. From the central location of the Brewery Quarter there are a number of other key locations in the centre which extend from here. Places such as the Honeybourne Line Tunnels, various pubs and the area around the Universities Hardwick campus are all good spots to explore.
Each year murals have been added with the majority of pre-existing murals staying where they are. This post will attempt to capture a flavour of these evolving artworks. It’s left quite a legacy across the town with a mixture of local, national and international artists taking part over the years.
Core to the street art scene in Cheltenham is the central area of the Brewery Quarter. On the old brewery itself Gnasher added the first mural there in 2017. Showing a chameleon on a can against an industrial setting it reflects Cheltenham’s evolution to now. Pieces either side were added in 2018 with works from Pogo and Inkie. In 2019 a little further away on Henrietta Street, Zabou added a piece in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Cheltenham’s Literature Festival.
North Place Car Park
Always a hugely popular spot which has been well used by the Cheltenham Paint Festival over the years. The North Place Car Park is a large area of brown field space with boarding surrounding a number of the edges. Used now as a car park it has been a primary locations for the ‘paint jam’ elements of the festivals. Indeed a lot of street art will have been added to this spot over the years. None though that were specifically designed to last. Along with the Honeybourne Lane Tunnels and the Aggs Pavillion these spots tend to have a turnover of artworks within them.
High Street Car Park and St George’s Street
Around the corner from the Brewery Quarter the area of the High Street car park has generated some impactful murals. In 2018 Curtis Hylton created his first mural in the town here, creating a pair of birds interwoven with flowers. He would go on to add two others the following year at Winchcombe Street and on Princess Elizabeth Way. Joining Curtis at the other end of the car part in 2018 was My Dog Sighs. His giant ‘hug’ dominates the area and adds a welcome splash of colour. In 2020 a collaboration between Jim Vision and ‘This One‘ was added to the side of that piece. Other murals nearby include works from Rocket01 and Faunagraphic added in 2019 and this can be found on St George’s Street to the side of the car park.
Note: As of August 2021 the car park is closed off and much is inaccessible though you can still glimpse at some of the pieces
Further up the High Street past the area of the car park a number of other works can be seen spread out. Starting at the Frog and Fiddle, the courtyard space provided an area for artists to paint throughout the festivals from 2017 to 2019. Street art here includes pieces from popular Bristol based artists Georgie and Angus. Further up the road Peachzz 2020 collaboration with Leanne Conroy can be seen on the side of Manns off license. Then further still on the side of ‘Dream Seams’ and on the corner with Devonshire Street is a 2017 mural from Bristol’s Andrew Burns Colwill.
2 Pigs and the Minster Area
In the central area of Cheltenham surrounding the Minster street art can be seen often hidden from direct view. The area of the 2 Pigs in particular is a key location with it’s courtyard boasting a number of pieces from across the years. Wolfskull Jack and Rafaello Bertolini from 2018, Peter Sheridan from 2019 and Si Mitchell from 2020 are just some of the works that can be seen here. Nearby on the corner of the Bank House pub there is a piece by Inkie from 2019. Then a bit further around towards the back of the Wilson on Chester Walk near the Minster is David Hollier’s text based portrait from 2017.
The Railway Pub
In the back of the Railway Pub is a large scale mural from Argentine artist Caro Pepe painted in 2018. The mural can be seen from the road and shows a multi faced woman.
The Bayshill Pub
Multiple artists have works around the Bayshill pub including work from the 2018 festival headliner Beau Stanton. The American large scale murals shows and archer painted in a kind of Greco-Roman style. A tiny piece from Lisa Sea Urchin was created at the same time nearby. Subsequent years have seen works from Pad303, Snik and China Girl Tile added to the work on display
Honeybourne Line and the Tunnels
The old train line which has now been converted into a footpath leads from the station into the town. Approximately half way along the some of the old tunnels have long been used as legal graffiti spots. Now the tunnels play a key role in the Cheltenham Paint Festival. Often getting refreshed with different artists coming along they play a busy role in each event. A little further along the Honeybourne Line, some of the bridges too have artworks on them. It’s a case of wandering along and discovering what you might find. The Honeybourne Line runs up past the Hardwick Campus and towards Pittville Park to the north of the town.
Elm Street & Swindon Road
A couple of murals can be seen in the area of the shops on Elm Street office which also front onto Tewkesbury Road. In particular the 2017 collaboration between N4T4, Peachzz, Lemak and Philth is one of the more long standing works in the area. This can be seen on the side of the William Hill bookies. The piece here got a companion in 2020 when Dotmasters added some of his rude kids to the Post Office itself. A little further along the nearby Swindon Road towards Cheltenham there are also murals from Fabio Petani (2019) and Dilk (2020).
University of Gloucester Hardwick Campus
The Hardwick campus of the University of Gloucester boasts three murals within it’s grounds. The first from Southsea’s My Dog Sighs was painted as part of the first festival in 2017. The year later one of the stand out works from 2018 was added from Erin Holly. Sophie Long then added some Polar Bears in for the festival in 2019. As with much of Sophie’s work she has used the space to warn of the dangers of climate change as the bears wander to discover a new home.
Cleeveland Road and Townsend Road
In the streets surrounding the campus a number of other murals can be seen. For the 2018 Cheltenham Paint Festival Cleeveland Road saw pieces from N4T4 and Philth created along with street art from L7M. At the bottom of the road at the junction with Tewkesbury Road in 2020 a further mural was added from Curtis Hylton. At the same time, just next to it on the parallel Townsend Road, the Stamford duo Snik added their stencil based mural. This latter piece sits at the junction of Tewkesbury and Gloucester Road.
Marle Hill Road & Pittville Park
A popular location across all the festivals has been Pittville Park. Here the large area of green public space to the north of the town has hosted a number of artists. In particular the Skate Park and the Aggs Pavillion have seen a number of pieces created on them. The skate park of course by it’s very nature is ephemeral so expect to see more uncurated work here. Aggs Pavillion meanwhile is a spot which has been used a number of times for the festival but which contains more letter based graffiti art. This can be accessed via Marle Hill Road which boasts works from Irony, China Girl Tile and a nearby piece from My Dog Sighs.
St Pauls Road
Just south of Pittville Park is the area of St Pauls and St Paul’s Road. Here a number of street art pieces can be seen. Leading the way from the 2019 festival is a piece from Johnman created a piece on the side of Central Stores of St Pauls Road. Then in 2020 Bristol’s Lucas Antics decorated the front of a house on St Pauls Parade with her usual fun character based style.
Feathered Fish Pub
Dan Kitchener had a number of murals in Cheltenham. This one added during the festival of 2020. The artist from Southend has a very recognisable style and this piece on the Feathered Fish Pub adds to two murals he has also painted on Princess Elizabeth Way.
A little bit out on it’s own is the 2019 piece from the excellent Trust Icon. His satirical takes on well loved cartoon characters have become popular wherever they are placed. In Cheltenham he has used a tree to disguise his portrayal of the snake from Jungle Book. A snake which is then shown sneaking up on a local traffic warden.
Another artist well known to street art in Cheltenham is Curtis Hylton also known as Samer. His mural on Winchcombe Street was created in 2019 and shows a cat intrigued by a butterfly. The backdrop is made up of Hylton’s usual merging of flora and fauna, a style which has become highly distinctive. Hylton has further murals along Prince Elizabeth Way and in the High Street car park
Williams Cycles, Albion Street
Painted on the side of Williams Cycles are a number of large scale murals which cover three sides of the building. Added in 2018 this was a major addition to that particular edition of the Cheltenham Paint Festival. Murals from Irony, Spzero76, Roo, SNUB, Nol, Andy Davies, Vanessa Longchamp, DK and China Girl Tile.
Cheltenham Railway Station
To the south of the town and the entrance to Cheltenham for many, the area around the train station has a number of pieces of street art. This includes a mural from Greece’s Wild Drawing created for the 2019 event and work from Koeone also dated from 2019. Dotted around are other smaller works such as organiser Andy Davie’s ‘Cheltenham’ sign. Fronting the the station entrance itself are some smaller pieces from artists such as Pogo, Inkie, Wolfskull Jack and another from Davies.
Princess Elizabeth Way
By passing the town of Cheltenham the first street art murals on Princess Elizabeth Way were created in 2019. Most are large and cover the sides of housing blocks which front the road. Hampshire’s Curtis Hylton, Bristol’s Inkie and Southend’s Dan Kitchener were the first to contribute pieces to the area during the festival of that years. In the pandemic year of 2020 two further murals were added including an additional one from Dan Kitchener close to his previous work and one from Bristol’s Jody.
Cheltenham Paint Festival has operated each year from 2017 to 2020 and on each occasion the work produced has added to the town. It is organised by local artist Andy ‘Dice’ Davies. All pictures in this post were taken in August 2021.