Cotswolds

Holst Victorian House and Museum, Cheltenham

An independent museum in the heart of Cheltenham, Holst Victorian House and Museum is a must-visit attraction in Gloucestershire for history-buffs and music-lovers. The birthplace of one of the county’s most famous figures and Cheltenham’s only Victorian house open to the public, it provides a veritable window into the past. Find out all about Gustav Holst, his family and his work and discover the museum’s facts and finds detailing Victorian life.

Gustav Holst was an English composer and music teacher born in 1874 in 4 Clarence Road – the site of the museum today. Though he composed throughout his life, he is best known for his seven-movement orchestral suite The Planets, which he wrote in 1916. The product of legendary influences including Wagner and Strauss and the inspiration for many subsequent musical prodigies, his work has had a far-reaching impact and is still celebrated today. 

If you are enjoying a holiday in Cheltenham, then you should definitely consider popping some time aside to visit the museum. A time capsule of 19th Century life, it features rooms and exhibitions revealing what life would have been like in Holst’s day. Amongst the array, you can see Holst’s music room and the piano that he used to create many of his compositions, the room in which he was born, a working Victorian kitchen, scullery, children’s playroom and more. 

As well as his own personal collections including photographs from his childhood and his own gramophone, the rooms also showcase period furniture and family artwork. Born into a family of artists and musicians, Gustav’s world was hugely creative. His great uncle, Theodor von Holst, was a famous British literary painter who illustrated Mary Shelley’s original edition of Frankenstein and many of his works can also be seen in the museum.

Adding to the family-friendly appeal, the Holst Victorian House and Museum hosts a variety of events and children’s activities throughout the year, including a popular Bake Back in Time event. Assisted by the museum’s inhouse baker, you can try your hand at baking traditional Victorian recipes on the kitchen’s working coal-fired range. Some of these include rhubarb suet pudding, caraway seed cake, treacle biscuits and melt-in-the-mouth scones. 

 Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Cheltenham here.

4 Clarence Rd, Cheltenham GL52 2AY | 01242 524 846 | holstvictorianhouse.org.uk 

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