14 things you must see and do at The Cheltenham Festival
- Credit: The Jockey Club via PA Images
The festival promises magnificent days of racing with top horses from across the UK and Ireland competing at the home of jump racing. Also in store for racegoers are some magnificent food, drinks and hospitality. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, has picked out some of his top selections for a great raceday experience
- Studying the form
With a crowd of 260,000 expected over the four days, the atmosphere is electric from the moment the gates open each day at 10.30am. There's nothing like feeling the buzz and sense of anticipation as the coffee stalls open and people start to arrive. A Race Card can be bought for just a few pounds and this is a must, as it shows a map of the racecourse and the list of runners for each race with plenty of background on each horse so you can study the form. Many people place bets as they go during the day, however The Tote Placepot gives the opportunity to place your bets on horses which you think will gain a place in the first six races and this is a great way to have some fun with a group of friends. And it really can be worth the effort too as, in 2019 one customer last year won £182,567.80 from just a £2 Tote Placepot bet!
- The Park, in the Club and Tattersalls enclosure
A brand new addition to The Festival presented by Magners in 2020 is The Park - a vibrant, lively destination, which promises to deliver an electric atmosphere with live music and top DJs headlining every day. Nick Grimshaw, Laura Whitmore, Roman Kemp and Marvin Humes will be hosting live 90-minute sets. So if you like some music with your racing The Park is definitely the place to visit. All-new bars and street food stalls will keep racegoers refreshed throughout the day. Thrill seekers can take a ride on the free Ferris Wheel and enjoy a bird's eye view of the racecourse.
- The Nyetimber 1968 Routemaster in The Orchard
What could be better than a glass of premium English sparkling wine aboard a beautifully reimagined 1968 Routemaster bus?! Nyetimber, the award winning and world renowned English sparkling wine producer, is the official Sparkling Wine Partner for the event and will be serving their delicious award-winning range aboard the beautiful Nyetimber bus in the exclusive "Orchard" area, and across the site.
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- Chez Roux Restaurant
London's finest dining in the middle of the countryside is available at Chez Roux. With a menu designed by culinary master Albert Roux, this is a truly premium gastronomic experience. Hosted by Albert, his son Michel Roux Junior and granddaughter Emily (the team behind two-Michelin-starred London restaurant Le Gavroche), Chez Roux is a fine dining restaurant which offers racegoers fantastic views over the racecourse in extremely glamorous surroundings.
- Visiting the pre-parade ring
The pre-parade ring is where the horses can be seen, ready and saddled up about half an hour ahead of their races. This is a great part of the build-up to any race as the owners and trainers stand in the middle making their final assessments while the crowd looks on to make their own judgements. This is where the horses' muscle tone, strength and mood can give a strong indication of how they will perform.
- Food and drink by Cheltenham Racecourse's Head Chef Tom Parry
Cheltenham Racecourse's Executive Chef Tom Parry and his team of 400 chefs operate 15 restaurants, 72 retail catering units and 240 private boxes serving over 45,000 four-course hospitality meals from 65 kitchens over the festival period! With a keen eye for seasonality, locally sourced ingredients, and lowering his carbon footprint, Parry has created an amazing array of options, with something for everyone.
- Friday's Cheltenham Gold Cup
Magners is the exclusive sponsor of The Cheltenham Gold Cup and the presenting partner of The Festival. Their partnership with Jockey Club Racecourses celebrates Magners' Irish heritage. Magners' delicious ciders are available at bars around The Festival, with Original, Original Draught, Classic Pear and Dark Fruit offering a range of ways to enjoy this fabulous drink.
This is the climax of The Festival with Al Boum Photo looking to repeat his 2019 success for trainer Willie Mullins.
- Severn and Wye Smokery
Severn and Wye Smokery offers luxury with a clear conscience. Racegoers can tuck into their delicious products at fine dining destinations across the festival. This excellent smoked fish is almost carbon neutral too. Using British oak to create their signature smoke flavour, the smokery has only used five oak trees over the last twenty years but has planted over 350 British deciduous trees!
- King Stone Dairy
The emerald green grass of Cheltenham doesn't just make a fantastic jumps surface - it has another important role to play, which is feeding a very special herd of cows. At King Stone Dairy in Chedworth, near Chipping Norton, a stone's throw from trainer Charlie Longsdon's yard, skilled artisan cheesemaker David Jowett transforms fresh, organic milk into two delicious, local cheeses: Rollright and Evenlode. Rollright is a soft, washed rind cheese banded in spruce bark, which infuses the cheese with a delicious fragrance; Evenlode is a semi-soft, washed rind cheese with a stronger, savoury flavour. Chef Parry serves these two Cotswold treasures at his fine dining restaurants at the racecourse.
- Daylesford organic farm
Cotswold organic champion, Daylesford organic farm, has a selection of award-winning wines in locations across the site. Organic rosé in bottle or magnum, from their sister estate Château Léoube in Provence, France are the perfect way to toast a win during the day.
- Glenfarclas Cross Country Race
On Wednesday, a 32-obstacle race, sponsored by Glenfarclas, one of Scotland's only family-run distilleries, takes place in the middle of the course. The three mile seven furlong obstacle race is great fun and shows off the horses' skills and speed as they negotiate their way around the course. Some of the Spanish sherry casks used to aged Glenfarclas whisky have even been incorporated into one of the fences on the course!
- The London Essence Company
We should all be mindful with our mixers and The London Essence Company is a great place to experience light, elegant, contemporary drinks made with distilled botanical essences, which are naturally lower in sugar. They will be in The Park and across the course.
- The Winners' Enclosure
At the end of each race The Winners' Enclosure will celebrate the triumphant teams behind each win. This is where the horse, jockey, owners and trainers receive their prize and revel in the glory of a much coveted win at the home of racing.
- The Retail Village
And don't forget - The Retail Village which offers a huge number of clothing, jewellery, art and other high quality products to take home as a souvenir of a great day at the races.
This year's four-day Festival presented by Magners at Cheltenham will run from 10-13 March 2020