The town is located on the edge of the Cotswolds and is generally regarded as respectable and wealthy. It has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springss there in 1716. It is popular as a shopping centre, and is particularly known for its private schools, Cheltenham College and Ladies' College. Cheltenham is also well known nationally because of the horse racing - the Cheltenham Gold Cup, that is hosted there annually.
Cheltenham holds a literary festival every year.
Cheltenham has a number of light industries, including: food processing, aerospace, electronics and tourism. The British government's electronic surveillance operation GCHQ, is located in Cheltenham.
The most famous child of Cheltenham is Gustav Holst.