For many centuries Cheltenham was a small market town comprising little more than a central high street. The discovery of mineral waters in the 1700s led to a rapid expansion of the town and from 1800 Cheltenham developed as a series of estates centred on spas.
Cheltenham has continued to grow through modern times, remaining a tourist destination based on its heritage, as well for its sporting and cultural festivals. It has developed leading educational institutions, financial services and manufacturing sectors in addition to the major employer GCHQ.
Together, Cheltenham and Gloucester are the key urban centres in the area and fundamental to its future prosperity and growth.