Established in 1831 and with a capacity of 67,000 punters, Cheltenham Racecourse is a spectacle of British horse racing at it’s finest. It’s situated on the outskirts of the historic city of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, a stone’s throw from the Cotswolds. Cheltenham Racecourse is famous around the world for hosting some of the biggest meets of the National Hunt Season and UK racing calendar, including Cheltenham Festival and Gold cup, the November Meeting and the Champion Hurdle.
Popular Meets at Cheltenham Racecourse
Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Festival is a spectacular mid-week meet, held in March each year and is the UK’s second biggest horse racing event of the year. From Tuesday to Friday spectators get to watch several Grade 1 races including the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, and Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Day 1: The Unibet Champion Hurdle
The Champion Hurdle takes place on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival and is the most prestigious hurdling event of Cheltenham’s calendar. It’s a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race which is open to horses aged four years or older and comprises 8 hurdles over the 2 mile race. The Champion Hurdle makes up the final leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling and with a $450,000 total purse value, it attracts the very best hurdlers from around the world.
Day 4: Gold Cup Day
Gold Cup Day is the pinnacle of the National Hunt season and final day of the Cheltenham Festival. The race runs over 3.2 miles with no less than 22 fences for jockeys to navigate and is the most valuable, non-handicapped race in Britain with a total purse of £625,000. Previous winners include Arkle, Golden Miller, and Mill House, and 2019’s year winner Al Boum Photo won by only a matter of lengths.
The November Meeting
The November Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse is an unmissable 3 day event in November each year. Seen as the traditional start of the National Hunt Season, the November Meeting has now become the second biggest race meeting at Cheltenham, and serves as a great opportunity to see horses who could become stars of The Festival come March in the following year.
Day 1: Countryside Day
Day 1 of the meet is Countryside Day, held on Friday each year, and is made up of a 6 race card including: The Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase and The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase. Live music is scheduled between races, there’s live entertainment like side saddle demonstrations and hound parade. Then once the racing is over, a headline act or DJ will take center stage to see the day through.
Day 2: PaddyPower Gold Cup Day
Day 2 of the festival is Gold Cup Day, which in the past has been sponsored by Bet Victor and Paddy Power, and is the headline day for horse racing enthusiasts. There is music throughout the day and after the racing, along with a spectacular 7 day card, culminating in the iconic Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is a Grade 3 National Hunt chase, run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of 2 miles and 4½ furlongs, with a total of 16 fences for added thrill.
Day 3: Family Fun Day
Day 3 of the festival is Family Fun day; a thrilling card of racing, with the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle as the feature race. Not only do you get an exciting day of racing, but also Cheltenham Racecourse provides world-class free Family Fun and entertainment throughout the day.
Enclosures at Cheltenham Racecourse
The Club Enclosure
This is the premier enclosure, giving unrivaled views of the racing, plus access to the Pre-Parade Ring, Parade Ring, Winners’ Enclosure, Guinness Village, The Orchard as well as public areas of the Princess Royal Stand and Shopping Village. The Club Enclosure also entitles ticket holders to roam freely through the other enclosures (Tattersalls and Best Mate enclosures).
The Tattersalls Enclosure
This enclosure offers punters an incredible view of the racing, and viewing space stretches from the final furlong all the way past the finish post. Tattersalls also gives access to the Winners’ Enclosure, Tented Village and Guinness Village.
The Best Mate Enclosure
The cheapest option for those who are looking to enjoy the racing without breaking the bank. Tickets can be as cheap as £12 for certain race days, and rarely go above £20. The Best Mate Enclosure still offers a great view of the racing, access to the covered grandstand and plenty of food, drink and betting stalls.
The dress code at Cheltenham Festival is dependent on which enclosure you’re in, and which meet you’re attending. For any Club Enclosure tickets you’re expected to dress up smartly, for men that means suits or collared shirts and shoes; for women a smart dress and smart shoes is recommended, and a lot of attendees will add the classic fascinator or hat to top off the look. This being said, you’re unlikely to be not allowed in if you are dressed more casually, as there is no strict dress code.
For the Tattersalls and Best Mate enclosures expect a mixture of people who have dressed up for the occasion and more casual attire, you’re free to wear what you’d like provided it is not offensive.
Fancy dress is allowed across all enclosures, with the exception of the Club Enclosure during the two major meets of the year: The Cheltenham Festival and The November Meeting.