Visiting the Cotswolds during Cheltenham Festival?
There are many festivals in the Cotswold gateway town of Cheltenham Spa, including the Jazz, Science, Music and Literature festivals. But the biggest and most famous is the Cheltenham Festival of Racing – an annual horse racing event. Planning your visit to the Cotswolds during Cheltenham Festival could be great idea!
Held over 4 days each March, the Cheltenham Festival is a HUGE event for the Cotswolds area. It’s quite different this year, no thanks to COVID-19, since no spectators are allowed.
But, if you’re planning a trip to the Cotswolds during Cheltenham Festival week next year, here are our top 5 tips.
5 things to remember if visiting the Cotswolds during Cheltenham Festival
1. Book your accommodation early
Some accommodation providers in Cheltenham can be booked up years in advance. Repeat customers and corporate groups often secure the best spots.
If you want to stay in Cheltenham during Cheltenham Festival week and haven’t booked well ahead… umm… good luck! You might have more luck with smaller guest houses, or holiday cottages, but they might not be cheap!
Most people travel into Cheltenham from the Cotswolds, or one of the larger surrounding towns like Gloucester, Worcester or Stratford-upon-Avon. Be warned: don’t leave it too late! Even at an hour’s drive or more away from the racecourse, accommodation options can be limited.
2. Book your transport early
If you plan to travel into Cheltenham, think about how you’re going to get there and back again. Public transport can be tricky, taxis can be very expensive, and parking at the racecourse is limited. Just about everyone will end up stuck in traffic at some point!
If you’re in a large group, you might want to hire a minibus or coach. Again, think about this well before your trip. There are only a handful of minibus and coach operators around, and demand for passenger vehicles is extremely high.
3. Embrace the crowds in the Cotswolds during Cheltenham Festival
Cheltenham is an average-sized town with a resident population of around 115,000 people. Most of the year, it’s pretty quiet. But during Cheltenham Week, the population swells to three or four times that number – so don’t expect it to be quiet then!
But busy isn’t always bad. There is a special energy and vibrancy to Cheltenham and the Cotswolds during the Festival.
Embrace it and join in the fun!
4. Try other local races
5. Explore the Cotswolds during Cheltenham Festival week
Cheltenham is a beautiful town with a rich history and vibrant foodie scene. It’s definitely worth a visit! But, with its Regency period architecture, Cheltenham isn’t ‘typical’ of the Cotswolds at all. In fact, it actually lies just outside of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
To explore picture-perfect villages and quaint Cotswold stone cottages, you’re going to want to get out of Cheltenham and into the Cotswolds ‘proper’.
Book now for 2024 and beyond
If you’re planning to take one of our tours of the Cotswolds during Cheltenham Festival week in 2022, don’t leave it too late!