Sometimes a place can be so familiar to you, you feel like you know every street, its character, the feel of it. And yet sometimes, you get to see a new side of a town you think you know, and it’s utterly delightful.

And so it was on our weekend in Cheltenham, a place we lived and worked for years. Cheltenham is a place with many faces - the bustling shopping, the racing, the festivals, and that famous spa.

And it wears its Regency heritage everywhere you look – but seeing something every day is not the same as knowing it. So we started with a visit to the Holst Birthplace Museum, which falls into that category of ‘places tourists and schools go but normal people don’t’.

It doesn’t look much from the outside – it could be any other Regency building - but behind the door is a fascinating treasure trove of memorabilia that tells the story, not just of Gustav Holst, but of the life of the time.

Not that Gustav’s story isn’t fascinating. Did you know for example, that he was Cheltenham born and bred, with three English grandparents? Did you know his great-uncle was an artist who was the first illustrator of Frankenstein (but is said to have died of disappointment) or that Gustav wrote his first music as a teenager in Cheltenham?

From his service in the war to the photo that shows him as the only man at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, there are gems to discover everywhere. The basement contains the greatest collection of irons I’ve ever seen (yes, I really am serious) including one, ahem, interestingly shaped device that turned out to be for adding pleats to skirts. And if kitchen gadgets take your fancy, there’s plenty, from monkey-shaped blancmange moulds to sugar cones and pincers.

Upstairs we meet Theodor Von Holst – his paintings, anyway, including a remarkable portrait of his brother, Gustav’s grandfather, with Theodor himself lurking in the background, and a collection of toys that include a board game called British Empire, or Trading with the Colonies’ and a beautiful old globe that shows the constellations instead of the land and sea. A

All in all, we left thoroughly enchanted with Cheltenham’s most famous resident, and went in search of our hotel.

Winding out of town, up Cleeve Hill, we found our home for the weekend, The Cleeve Hill Hotel - a grand old dame of a house, which its new owner Lindsay Holland is gradually transforming. We took tea in a drawing room straight out of a period drama overlooking the town below, and watched walkers on the Cotswold Way pass on the hill above us. Our room featured the largest bed (with canopy, no less) that we’d ever seen, a smart newly-refurbished shower room and a sofa with an equally impressive view.

A quick chat with Lindsay – who clearly loves her hotel, and is relishing figuring out what the building wants to be – and we took a taxi back to town in search of sustenance.

We were meeting friends, but if there’s one thing Cheltenham isn’t short of, it’s excellent places to eat and drink. Try Koj, for dumplings and cocktails, or the newly refurbished Old Courthouse, with its grand ceilings, press gallery and modern English menu (it’s very Instagrammable, and so also very busy). Try a range of gins or craft ales at John Gordons, eat in comfort at the Lucky Onion’s No 131 – there’s literally something for every price and style.

A taxi back to our hotel might have added a few pounds to the bill, but it’s worth to eat breakfast in front of that Cleeve Hill view. And a great breakfast it was too, including an excellent selection of non-cooked items (if bacon and eggs isn’t for you first thing in the morning).

Suitably sustained, we considered our options: out of the back of the hotel for a wander on Cleeve Common or the bike tour we had our eye on – you can hire your bikes from the Bicycle Hub and follow a two-hour route that takes in Pittville Pump Room, Sandford Parks Lido and Montpellier before landing back in town for a good lunch.

Sadly pouring rain put an end to both those plans and instead we settled for a mooch round the Literature Festival tent (always good for spotting a celeb or two, in our case Greg James and Chris Riddell) and lunch at The Ivy, recently opened in a beautifully-restored Lloyds Bank in Montpelier. A classic shepherd’s pie and some crab pasta later and we departed for home, feeling like we’d seen a new side of the town we used to call our home. And we really liked it.