Cotswolds

Cheltenham Racecourse

Whether it’s the pounding of hooves, the roar of the crowd, the thrill of the unknown, or simply the sheer volume of fizz, there’s nothing quite like a day at Cheltenham Racecourse. Famed world over for its prestigious racing events, it’s also a centre for entertainment, hosting a plethora of festivals and family-friendly events throughout the year. 

 

About

Cheltenham’s racecourse is at the centre of jump racing in the UK. Attracting the crème de la crème and birthing legends, its high-profile races are considered to represent the very pinnacle of the hunt racing world. Needless to say, if there is a champion in the making, both jockey and horse need to prove themselves on the Cheltenham stage. Thrilling for spectators and momentous for the equine elite, it offers an experience unlike any other.

As well as its horse racing days, Cheltenham Racecourse also doubles as a superb hub for entertainment and events throughout the year. From late night music to stand-up comedy performances to family-friendly festivals, there are all kinds of attractions to look forward to. If you are planning a luxury break in Cheltenham or nearby in the picturesque throws of the Cotswolds, then you should definitely keep an eye on what’s on.

History

The history of Cheltenham Racecourse goes all the way back to the early 19th Century, when in 1815 the very first flat race meetings were held on Nottingham Hill. The first races then took place on Cleeve Hill in 1818, sparking widespread interest and attracting onlookers from near and far hoping to experience the drama of the races for themselves. Over the course of the next decade, 30,000-strong crowds were in attendance, congregating each July for the now 2-day event: the Gold Cup.

Ever-expanding, Cheltenham’s races were becoming more and more popular with every year. That was until 1829, when a local priest took umbrage to proceedings. Exhorting punters to forego the event and warning of the evils of horseracing, Reverend Francis Close managed to garner significant support – so much so that the course’s grandstand was actually burnt down in 1831. In response, the racecourse was moved to its current location, Prestbury Park in the same year, and continues to receive spectators to this very day – flaming stands a thing of the past!

Horse Racing

Of course, the main events at Cheltenham Racecourse revolve around horse racing. Set within 350 acres of magnificent countryside sheltered by the undulating Cotswolds Hills, it provides one of the most idyllic settings from which to enjoy the action. Dubbed “the jewel in jump racing’s crown”, it hosts 16 race meetings throughout the year, including the Cheltenham Festival in March, the April Meet, the Showcase Meeting, the November Meet and New Year's Day Racing.

With the racing, the tradition, the history, the hospitality and the views all combining to create an infectious atmosphere and unforgettable experience, you’ll find yourself swept away by the occasion whenever you choose to attend. That said, it’s definitely the Cheltenham Festival that ignites the most excitement. With its 40,000m2 racecourse and world-class line-up of events, it is as thrilling to newbies as it is to seasoned professionals and attracts over a quarter of a million racegoers every year.

The Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup

With the chop of helicopters overhead, the heavy thrum of hooves, the pop of Champagne corks and the furore of the crowd, it’s hard to not get whipped up by the excitement and drama of the Cheltenham Festival. Held each year in March at Cheltenham Racecourse on the outskirts of the town, it is one of the best events in the town’s social calendar and one that every racing enthusiast and competitor knows about. One of the greatest racing events in Europe and hugely important for jump racing, it draws hundreds of thousands of spectators each year as well as the most famous names in the equine world.

Made up of 28 races over 4 days, the Cheltenham Festival is packed full to the brim with action and entertainment, all played out with a gorgeous backdrop of the Cotswolds Hills. With each day of the festival an attraction in its own right, it features the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday, the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday and concludes with the Gold Cup on Friday – the most widely anticipated of all. Book yourself tickets and head over for the fun – just be warned, tickets sell out quickly!

Events

Horseracing may be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about Cheltenham Racecourse, but the venue plays host to a surprising variety of other events and happenings throughout the rest of the year. As well as one-off shows including live music, comedy and talks, it also hosts annual events that draw new fans and devotees alike each year. And, with Cheltenham being the official Festival Town of the UK, the racecourse is no stranger to a festival or two either.

If you’re interested in finding out about what’s on during your holiday in Cheltenham or the Cotswolds, then you can follow the racecourse’s events page. Particularly recommended is the Wychwood Festival, one of many festivals that take place in Cheltenham each year. Proclaimed one of the best family-friendly festivals in the UK, the 3-day Wychwood Festival offers a bit of everything with live music, comedy, literature, workshops and more.  

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

 Cheltenham Racecourse, Evesham Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4SH | 01242 513 014 | www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham

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