The pleasure grounds that were opened in the 1820s, crowned by the magnificent Pump Room, were the forerunner of today’s Pittville Park, which is the largest park in Cheltenham and has a grade 2 listing under the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens. In 2016 it was awarded Green Flag and Green Heritage Site status and is the only park in Gloucestershire to hold the prestigious Green Heritage award.
Friends of Pittville have helped Cheltenham Borough Council to produce a 10 year plan for the Park.
The East Side
The eastern section of the Park was created in the 1820s by Joseph Pitt as the centrepiece of his Pittville estate, providing a private area of “walks and rides” for residents of the estate and visitors to the Pump Room. The Park contains 44 acres of parkland, including an ornamental lake with elegant bridges and a wide variety of trees.
The Park was originally enclosed by railings, and was a private facility until the 1890s when ownership was transferred to Cheltenham Borough Council.
The building which now houses the award-winning Central Cross Café dates from 1903 and was originally the entrance lodge to the park, where visitors paid for admission until charges were abolished in 1954. It retains many original features, including the spa tap from a small spa called Essex Lodge which occupied an adjacent site in the 1820s.
The West Side
The west side of the present-day park was not part of the original Pittville Estate but was opened as a public pleasure ground in 1894. It has a more informal layout with some areas of woodland, and includes the Boating (or Lower) Lake and the Boathouse Café. Boats can be hired, and angling, golf, tennis and skateboarding are available.