Anyone who has been to a horse racing event will know just how exciting they can be, with the action on the course providing much enjoyment for those who are spectating. With drinks flowing, good food consumed and the crowd cheering on their favoured horse and jockey, these thrilling events provide much merriment, and are made all the more enjoyable if your horse comes out on top.
With large events now firmly back on the calendar, it’s time to start filling up your schedule with a roster full of exciting occasions to look forward to, and one that certainly gets the blood pumping in the world of horse racing is Cheltenham Festival.
One of the biggest events in the racing calendar, the festival features four days of racing including 28 races, 14 of those Grade One, and it culminates in the famed Cheltenham Gold Cup. Billed as the jump racing event of the year, the festival takes place in the Gloucestershire based town every March, and this year the action will be hosted from Tuesday 15th to Friday 18th of the month.
If you’re looking to visit and make the most of all that the festival provides, then read on for our luxury guide to Cheltenham Festival.
There are a lot of elements that make the event what it is, but the main aspect is, of course, the racing itself. As mentioned, there are four days of races with highlights including the Unibet Champion Hurdle on the Tuesday, the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on the Wednesday, the Ryanair Chase and the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle on the Thursday, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the Friday.
If you are planning on attending just one or multiple days of the festival, then you are sure to find yourself with plenty of action to partake in. Of course, you’ll likely be placing a bet or two, and for the best odds in horse racing in the UK make sure to shop around. It will also be wise to do a little research on the participants beforehand, especially if you are planning to bet big on the day. A Plus Tard, Galvin, Protektorat, Al Boum Photo and Minella Indo all look set to do well at the Gold Cup (at the time of writing), but take the opportunity to learn a little more of the competitors so you can make an informed decision when it comes to that all-important flutter.
There are a fantastic range of hospitality packages that you can choose from to elevate your visit to Cheltenham Racecourse. From the Gold Cup Restaurant package, which includes a Grand Marque Champagne reception, chef’s table buffet and afternoon tea from £520pp (depending on which day you visit) to the Chez Rouz Restaurant package, which offers fine dining, fantastic views, canapes, a Moet Champagne reception, exquisite four-course menu and drinks from £870, there are plenty of ways to live it up.
If you like your luxury experiences to be a little cosier with friends, family or colleagues, then consider booking an Orchard pod or private box your party. The pods seat 12 to 20 guests and boast private balconies, relaxed dining, and access to The Orchard, which features a DJ each day. Meanwhile, private boxes are ideal for between 30 and 50 guests and include a private bar facility with a dedicated hospitality team, food throughout the day, and varying admirable views depending on which box you choose.
In addition to the above, there is also the opportunity to spend a little of your winnings (hopefully) on some boutique brands at the shopping village. From clothing to homewares and jewellery to art to accessories, there are plenty of ways to spend some time and money on the day.
Where to stay
When all the fun on the day is done, there’s nothing better than heading to a luxury retreat to top off the experience, and Cheltenham provides a range of places in which you can do this. Near to the racecourse is the five-star Ellenborough Park, a 16th-century manor offering fine dining, a blissful spa experience, and sumptuous suites and rooms as well as a shuttle on race day.
In town, choose from No. 38 The Park, The Greenway Hotel and Spa, No. 131, Queens Hotel Cheltenham – M Gallery, and The George Hotel among others, but be quick, as the better places will be snapped up early for this popular event.