Normally a lively student haven in the Cotswolds, during the week of The Festival the small town of Cheltenham positively erupts with activity. The Cheltenham Racecourse itself is located away from the town centre, but that doesn’t mean that visitors are removed from enjoying the delights of the locale when visiting.
At the racecourse itself, visitors can enjoy the world-class hospitality of The Festival through a host of exhibits. True to Cheltenham’s claim to be the Home of Jump Racing, visitors can find cast-bronze statues of legendary Festival champions throughout the enclosure areas and can also visit the famous Trophy Room, where all Festival trophies are housed until they are awarded on the Friday of the event.
In keeping with the theme of historical importance, the racecourse also houses a Hall of Fame exhibit. Here visitors can engage with the festival’s history through statistics, stories and even a hologram of racing favourite Desert Orchid.
The Festival also features the energetic ‘Guinness Village’, where every day is Saint Patrick’s Day! Here visitors can enjoy a fresh, cold pint of the world-famous beverage and enjoy live music by traditional Irish bands throughout the day. Of an evening, The Festival offers its very own premier post-race destination in the form of ‘Final Flight Bar’, which is open until 7.30pm and features its own take on live music and a cocktail bar.
Further down into Cheltenham town, visitors can enjoy an exploration of the area’s prestigious shopping districts. Favoured among Hollywood celebrities looking to go shopping low-key, Cheltenham features a unique mixture of high street shopping and designer brands for a comprehensive shopping experience that will leave your wallet a lot lighter!
Cheltenham town’s position as the home of several campuses for the University of Gloucestershire means the town enjoys the services of many local clubs and lively bars, which offer a vibrant place to party once the races kick out. The town also enjoys the services of a host of overnight accommodation options ranging from big-brand hotel chains like Holiday Express, to independent premier luxury hotels that are (in some cases quite literally) fit for a royal.
For guests looking to shake off the cobwebs from the previous day (or evening), Cheltenham’s proximity to the Cotswolds means hiking routes in the area are plentiful. The local scenery casts a vivid natural backdrop that visitors can explore at their leisure – just remember to bring some wellies or similarly sensible footwear!