Cheltenham braced for its annual festival meeting

The historic town of Cheltenham in Gloucester has a lot going for it. It’s within a stone’s throw of the Cotswolds, has plenty of independent shops and fantastic landmarks and scenery. However, this part of the world is perhaps most famous for being home to the Cheltenham Festival, one of the biggest events on the horse racing calendar.

First started back in 1860, when it was known as the National Hunt Meeting, it originally started in Market Harborough, but had moved to its current home permanently in 1911. Some of the festival’s flagship events including the Gold Cup (created in 1924) and Champion Hurdle (1927) were created to make it a must-see for any racing fan, and has grown in popularity with each year.

The Cheltenham Festival attracts visitors from all over the world, especially Ireland. There are two reasons for this: the first being that the Festival usually coincides with St Patrick’s Day, while the second is because Ireland is one of the most prominent horse racing nations. More than 236,000 people attended last year’s event, showing how popular it is.

What to do in Cheltenham?

If you like the idea of going to the Festival, you might want to look at the special offers bookmakers like Ladbrokes currently have on each race, but what else can you do when visiting Cheltenham? As it happens, there are quite a few sights to see and things to do for visitors to the four-day event when the races are either over or yet to begin.

When taking a stroll through the town centre, you might want to pay a visit to the Art Gallery & Museum. Here, you can see plenty of exhibitions showing what Cheltenham was like in the past as well as works from Britain, the Netherlands and even as far afield as China.

The Promenade is Cheltenham’s most famous streets. Walking up and down it will give you endless opportunities to marvel at the town’s Georgian architecture and unique shops. This street looks at its best during summer, but with the Festival on, you’ll be foolish not to have a little stroll.

Cheltenham is also home to a number of great restaurants including the award-winning Le Champignon Sauvage, run for over 25 years by the same chef. The Montpellier Wine Bar and Pie & Mash are also great places to dine out in style.

Being a famous spa town, Cheltenham is home to a number of spa hotels where you can stay if you’re going to the festival. This town is perfect if you’re looking to unwind, as the choice of spas is massive.