Our Guide to The Cheltenham Literary Festival 2015


book tunnel The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (aka The Cheltlitfest) was founded in 1949 and to date is the longest running literary festival in the world. From its humble beginnings in 1949, the festival has continued to gain momentum and attract some of the greatest writing talents from around the globe. Initially launched by poet Cecil Day-Lewis, the Festival hooked up with 'The Times' and 'The Sunday Times' who came on board as sponsors. The Autumnal gathering of literary legends has gone from strength to strength since.

The festival runs over a ten day period. This year's writing rendezvous takes place from 2nd - 11th of October. The annual event promises to deliver in spectacular style with appearances from six Booker prize winners. Among the impressive guest speakers are John Banville, Julian Barnes, Anne Enright, Peter Carey, Pat Barker and none other than Salman Rushdie. Following the release of the full programme line-up on Saturday 8th August, we can now confirm that the Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, culinary queen Nigella Lawson and travel writer Bill Bryson are also on the bill.

The Festival's children and family programme 'Book It!' provides ample opportunities for children and teenagers to get involved. It also includes Family Fun days incorporating varied activities at no extra charge. Other highlights include a visit from renowned author and illustrator Brian Selznick. Brian penned 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' and 'Wonderstruck' and has a special spot reserved to share passages from his new work 'The Marvels.'

How to get there

Cheltenham is easily accessible by road, train, bus or coach. It's roughly one hundred miles from London, forty-eight miles from Birmingham, forty miles from Bristol, a mere nine miles from Gloucester and forty-three miles from Oxford.

The event is held at various locations around the town with the main sites at Imperial Square, GL50 1QB and Montpellier Gardens on Montpellier Walk. There is a 10 minute walk between the two sites and Montpellier Gardens is 1 mile / 20 minutes walk from Cheltenham Spa train station. If you are driving, bear in mind that parking in the centre of town will be limited over the festival period. The closest car park to the main venues is Rodney Street and additional parking facilities can be found on here.

imperial square map

montpellier gardens map

More information can be found on the official Cheltenham Festival’s website.

NewsVictoria Fielden