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Forging new links and friendships with Weihai

Twenty three residents from Cheltenham celebrated over 30 years of friendship with its Chinese twin town of Weihai and 20 years since the two towns were officially ‘twinned’ during a recent 3 -day stay in the beautiful coastal city of Weihai.  Weihai, formerly called Weihaiwei, is a prefecture-level city in eastern Shandong province, China, and a major seaport. It borders Yantai to the west and the Yellow Sea to the east.

Memoranda of Understanding were signed by the Mayor of Cheltenham, the Mayor of Weihai and Judy Woodman, International Manager at Gloucestershire College on 19 October 2018 setting out closer future cooperation in the fields of education, sport, and promoting Cheltenham and the Cotswolds as a tourism destination to the Chinese market.

Highlights of the stay included visits to Weihai Ivy International School, which looks forward to developing links with Gloucestershire College and attracting overseas participants to its Summer Sailing School, and  Weihai Vocational School, which featured an impressive arts, crafts and textiles exhibition. A visit to a silk shop and exhibition provided fascinating insights into this important Chinese tradition.

A visit by ferry to nearby Liugong Island was particularly special for Annette Walker and her son Sam where they were able to see the place of her mother’s wedding on 18 April, 1938.   Liugong Island was once an important navy base during the Qing Dynasty, and now a popular tourist destination.  With over nine miles of coastline, the island is home to the Sino-Japanese Museum, former residences and restored buildings of historical interest.

With 1,000 km of coast, Weihai boasts beautiful scenery, a temperate climate, and world-class seafood cuisine. Its slogan: East or West, Weihai is the best. For anyone interested in information on Weihai, the International Choir Festival or the International Triathlon taking place next year in Weihai, please contact the Twinning Officer. 


From Weihai the group travelled with the bullet train to Beijing and spent two adventurous days visiting the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and other attractions, organised by Worlds Apart in Cheltenham in conjunction with China Links.


Fund Raising Supper

On Tuesday 18 September, 7pm, a fund raising dinner will be held at the Spice Lodge in Cheltenham.  Tickets are £25 per person and the proceeds will go towards the Twinning Association to support young people taking part in twinning activities and the Mayor’s Charities which are the Pied Piper Appeal and the Cheltenham Animal Shelter.  Entertainment will be provided by a magician and there will be a raffle with great prizes.  Do come along, meet fellow twinners and support the Association.

Tickets are available from Annette Wight on 01242 264311 or by email.

2018 Twinning Events and Activities

A busy year of twinning activities is scheduled between Cheltenham and it’s twin towns.  Do have a look here.

Cheltenham Festival in Göttingen 2015

The Cheltenham Festival in Göttingen, often referred to as the Big Party Visit, will take place from 25 to 31 July 2015Gott - Gänseliesel 02This visit to our German twin town is open to everyone, young and young at heart, who wish to spend 6 days in Göttingen experiencing German culture and life.  Accommodation can be with a family or in a hotel / guest house and a full programme of activities is organised for the group including a twinning receptioGott - Market placen and party, local sightseeing and tours to places of interest with time to spend with host family and friends enjoying the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Göttingen city.  Further details on cost and transport will be posted towards the end of the year, but if you are interested in particpating please email the Twinning Officer to register your interest.

Volunteer for Sochi Winter Olympics

The next winter Olympics will be held in Sochi from 7-23 February 2014 and applications for volunteers are open until the end of February this year – 2013.  So visit their website and apply soon if you fancy being part of this exciting event in our twin town.

Successful Weihai trip

Fourteen local residents and business leaders had a very successful trip to Weihai, Cheltenham’s Chinese twin town at the beginning of April.   Their aim was to promote Cheltenham from a business and educational point of view. It is hoped the self funded trip will have created excellent business, educational and tourism relationships.

The trip included visits to:

  • The Weihai campus of the Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Wego Group – a large manufacturer and direct supplier of medical equipment
  • Weihai Jiguan Kindergarten and Huancui International Middle School
  • The Sunshine Centre, training adults with learning difficulties to achieve employment and return to their families
  • Liugong Island, with a trip to see the pandas.

The Mayor of Cheltenham said that the visit gave a great insight into the wonderful cultural differences between Cheltenham and Weihai which would help develop the twinning link and the Chief Executive said that despite the vast difference in population of the two towns, the visit enabled the group to build good relations in person and to set the agenda for working together in the future.   Representatives from Gloucestershire College and Cheltenham Ladies College also took part in the visit and made valuable links.

Look in the Weihai photo gallery for pictures of the visit.

Anyone interested in establishing links with Weihai should contact