Roll up, roll up! When Cheltenham Festival comes around every March, this serene town turns into a circus of excitement. People arrive from far and wide, ready to revel in Cheltenham Racecourse’s famous four-day festival of horse racing. Punters dress to impress, gamble fast and loose with their pocket money, and don’t shy away from drinking a shandy or two. It’s the most exciting time of the year to stay at one of our Cheltenham hotels. To help you make the most of the four-day extravaganza, we’ve put together this page to tell you more about it.
The Cheltenham Festival is one of the major meetings of the National Hunt racing calendar. It takes place in March of each year, and culminates in the world-renowned Cheltenham Gold Cup. In terms of prize money, it’s only beaten by the Grand National. As far as the atmosphere goes, you could argue that there’s no better racing festival in the world. That may, in part, be because the festival usually coincides with St. Patrick’s Day.
It’s worth visiting just to hear the famous ‘Cheltenham Roar’ – the name given to the noise that erupts from the stands when the tape is raised for the first race of the festival. From then on, over the next four days, hundreds of millions of pounds are gambled, and who knows how many pints are drunk.
On each of the festival’s four days, seven races are scheduled to take place, including a championship race on each day. The biggest of these is the Cheltenham Gold Cup – one of the most-prized titles in racing, which was first held in 1924. Surprisingly, it’s not the Cheltenham Festival’s oldest race – that title goes to the Stayers’ Hurdle, which is the opening day’s championship race.
In total, more than a quarter of a million people pass through the gates of Cheltenham Racecourse over the four days of the festival. When the races have been run, our Cheltenham Town Centre hotel is only one and a half miles away, which is easily walkable within half an hour. If you do decide to walk back, and you aren’t in any particular hurry, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a number of our favourite Cheltenham pubs, which are well worth hunting down for a pitstop too.