Ryanair adds extra flights for Cheltenham festival, Easter

Ryanair has announced record Cheltenham 2014 bookings, with over 14,000 Irish racing fans set to fly to the UK’s premier jump racing festival in March.

The Irish budget airline is the official airline of the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival. It has added over 50 extra flights to Birmingham, Bristol and East Midlands airports during the four-day festival, beginning on March 11, with the highlight being the £275,000 Grade 1 Ryanair Chase on Thursday, March 13, one of the most valuable races at Cheltenham 2014.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: ‘Ryanair is under starter’s orders with only one month to go until the 2014 Cheltenham National Hunt Festival and it’s shaping up to be a classic.

Ryanair’s low fares, best customer service and biggest route network in Europe prove you’ll never beat the Irish – and we’ll be hoping for more Irish winners at Cheltenham this year, in particular at the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase on Thursday, 13th March, which we’re sure will be another festival highlight.’

Also, to meet the increased demand during Easter, Ryanair has added extra flights on four Cork routes to Lanzarote, Liverpool, Palma and Tenerife, along with extra flights on four Dublin routes to Kaunas, Lanzarote, Malaga and Tenerife.

Ryanair’s Maria Macken said: ‘Ryanair is pleased to announce extra Easter flights from both Cork and Dublin airports, following strong demand for Ryanair’s low fares this April and May.

To celebrate our extra Easter flights from Cork and Dublin, we are releasing 100,000 seats on sale at fares from just €19.99 for travel in March and April, which are available for booking until midnight Thursday (13 Feb). Since these low prices will be snapped up quickly, we urge passengers to book them now on www.ryanair.com.’

To celebrate Cheltenham, Ryanair will be giving away tickets and flights on its Twitter account, @Ryanair, in the build-up to the festival. Racing fans may also book their seats for Cheltenham on the www.ryanair.com website.

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.