The History of Ellenborough Park

When it comes to luxury hotels, Cheltenham has a rich provenance


From humble beginnings a tenant farmer called Thomas Goodman discovered a slightly elevated spot and decided to build his house here.Block by block, transported by horse and cart, the building began in 1485 with the Great Hall.

Described as a ‘pretty manor place’ in 1533 by the King’s Antiquary and ‘one of the greatest curiosities in the country’ in 1796 by Samuel Rudder, Ellenborough Park has held a revered position in the county’s archives for more than 500 years.

The many layers of history at Ellenborough Park are personified by the overlying centuries of oak beams, stone fireplaces and intricate stained glass that adorn the hotel. If we look at the Ellenborough era, when in 1833 the 1st Earl of Ellenborough and former Governor General of India purchased the estate as his home, you can see how this fine property gained its current name.

In 1947, a Miss Bellamy opened the Oriel Private School for Girls on the site. This ran for 25 years until the school and property were sold again to become the Hotel De La Bere, which closed in 2008.

The restoration of Ellenborough Park commenced early the same year and took three years to complete. The vision was to transform a dated hotel by breathing new life into its historical elements and intersperse within it the modern luxuries of the world’s finest hotels.

In our seventh year of being Ellenborough Park, we started an extensive refurbishment. The aim of which was to not only rejuvenate the property, but to offer an experience that would delight all guests who visit the hotel. Cheltenham welcomes visitors from all over the world, and to keep our hotel at the exquisite standard that our guests expect, we made the decision to modernise and restore our public areas, in keeping with our history and heritage.

The refurbishment saw the hotel gain a new front entrance in the form of the original door from 1485. The Horse Box brasserie transformed, and our Restaurant received a complete makeover. A new reception area was also created alongside our cocktail bar and lounge, The Atrium.

This amazing building with its mix of architecture and colourful history has not only been preserved but enhanced so all can come and experience the joy of visiting here.

In researching the house, after surviving the turmoil of history for over 500 years, one factor becomes abundantly clear. From home, to school, to hotels, Cheltenham’s modern day Ellenborough lives on, and all those who owned or lived on the grounds adored this property and would not live anywhere else.

We hope future visitors will enjoy Ellenborough Park and relax amid a haven of great hospitality inside our beautiful and historic house.

Visit us to see our history first-hand and discover why we are one of the finest hotels in Cheltenham.