Cheltenham Festival is one of the premium horse racing events in the world and is a perfect venue for a trip away with your mates. Few sports capture the imagination more than Cheltenham, especially the ultimate prize of them all – the Gold Cup.
Thousands of fans make the pilgrimage to attend Cheltenham Festival every year. It’s the horse racing equivalent of Coachella or Glastonbury – without the camping, unless you particularly want to. The who’s who of horse racing from across the globe are there in their droves, along with many of the great and good of British and Irish popular culture.
The Festival usually begins in the second week of March, beginning on the Tuesday with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdles and it winds down on Friday with the signature Gold Cup. Each day is packed with entertainment, although the final day takes some beating for a spectacle.
You do not have to be an aficionado of horse racing to attend although, if you’re planning to make a couple of wagers, it’s best to go armed with the best information. Tracking the latest racing results from Paddy Power before you attend Cheltenham will give you a good idea of which horses to back and which ones to avoid.
Tickets vary in price depending on where you wish to watch the races. If you’re quite happy to spectate from the terraces, where you’ll find the best atmosphere, tickets can be bought for only £25 for a spot in the Best Mate Enclosure. The Tattersalls Enclosure costs slightly more at £40, while the Club Enclosure prices begin at £75.
The step-up in price begins with the Guinness Grandstand with tickets beginning at £85, although it does come with an improved view. If your pockets are very deep and you wish to dine in with the best of them, restaurant packages are available from £250 per person. Although the hospitality section is very luxurious, it does not quite have the feel of the stands where the roar erupts down the stretch of the track, especially on Gold Cup Friday.
Then there is the all-important dress code. Jeans are no at Cheltenham Racecourse – and why would you waste a perfectly good opportunity to attend the races dressed to the nines? Gents are encouraged to wear suits at the event, although a blazer, dress shirt and smart trousers with boots or posh lace-up shoes will also do the trick. More important than studying the dress code, however, is studying the daily racing tips to aid you in coming up with that special unexpected winner. One such example was Champ’s success in the thrilling RSA Novices’ Chase this year.
Even if you don’t come away with winnings, it’s certainly an experience that cannot be passed up if you’re a horse racing fan, or simply just fancy a trip with your friends to laugh and unwind. And although March 2021 might seem far away, if you fancy experiencing the best hotels in Cheltenham or the Cotswold region and the top tickets for the Festival, it’s always best to try and book early to ensure that you’re not disappointed.