Cheltenham Racecourse Guide
Cheltenham racecourse is the spiritual home of jump racing and hosts some of the biggest races in the world. The atmosphere that can be generated by the crowds is unrivalled throughout horse racing, and many jockeys and trainers have said that there is no feeling like the opening roar of the Cheltenham Festival.
Where is Cheltenham Racecourse?
Cheltenham racecourse is located just over 2 miles from Cheltenham town centre in northern Gloucestershire. The actual racecourse is at Prestbury Park and has been around for over 200 years. The course is surrounded by the hills of the Cotswolds. With a complete full capacity of 67,500 racing fans, the hills create a natural amphitheatre that adds to Cheltenham’s famous atmosphere.
How To Get To Cheltenham Racecourse
Driving To Cheltenham Racecourse
From the North, head towards Birmingham and onto the M5, which will take you directly to Cheltenham Town. Come off at Junction 10 and follow the A4019 into Cheltenham town centre, before turning right onto Kingsditch Lane. Follow that road before turning right onto Swindon Lane, which will take you all the way to Cheltenham Racecourse
From the South, drive along the M4 before coming off at Junction 15 for Swindon. Heading along the A419, you will eventually merge onto the A417. Leave the A417 at Junction 11A, following signs for the M5 Northbound. Leave the M5 at Junction 11, taking the 3rd exit on the roundabout onto the A40 towards Cheltenham. At the second roundabout, turn left onto Princess Elizabeth Way and follow the road. Head straight over the roundabout at the end of the road and follow Kingsditch Road before turning onto Swindon Lane, which takes you directly to the racecourse.
Car Parking at Cheltenham Racecourse
There are plenty of car parks available at Cheltenham, however for the bigger events (The Open and the Cheltenham Festival), you will be designated a car park. Parking at Cheltenham Racecourse is free for most meetings, but will cost £5 on the day for The Open and £20 on the day during the Festival. Both prices can be reduced with advanced booking.
Getting The Train To Cheltenham Racecourse
Trains run regularly to Cheltenham Spa, the main train station in Cheltenham. Direct trains from London run around every hour, and take about 2 hours to get there. Regular trains also run from Birmingham and Bristol, however any major station should have routes available. From Cheltenham Spa, it is around a 45 minute walk, although regular taxis will be available during the bigger meets.
If you do decide to walk, turn left out of Cheltenham Spa before turning right onto Gloucester Road. Follow Gloucester Road before turning right at the Alice Guest House, and then left and right again at the next 2 corners. One more left turn onto Folly Lane and you can follow this road until it’s end. From there, you will be able to see the world famous Cheltenham Racecourse.
What Is The Course Like At Cheltenham?
There are 2 different courses at Cheltenham, The Old Course and the New Course. The Old Course is shorter than the New Course, and is used for the Open and the first 2 days of the Festival. The New Course is used for the second 2 days of the Festival, as well as the majority of bigger meetings during the year. Both courses are left-handed and the final stretch is one of the toughest anywhere in horse racing. The last half mile is all uphill and is a true test of a horse’s stamina.
Racing Meetings at Cheltenham Racecourse
Of course, the main meeting of the year is the Cheltenham Festival. Taking place over 4 days in mid-March, the Cheltenham Festival is the absolute pinnacle of the jumps season. Horses, jockeys and trainers alike cannot be classed as one of the best ever until they have tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival. As well as the Festival, highlights at Cheltenham include The Open Meeting, Trials Day and the April meeting.
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