Set in stunning Gloucestershire countryside, with views of rolling green hills as far as the eye can see, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in the middle of a country stroll. However, the Cheltenham Festival, held every year in March, is a unique experience, hosted at Cheltenham racecourse since 1911, with the flagship race, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, introduced in 1924. Since then, the festival has gained popularity, and has become for many the highlight of the national hunt racing season. Due to popular demand, it was expanded to four days in 2005, and each day includes exciting races and events, especially on day two, when Ladies’ Day offers the chance to dress up and enjoy the social side of Cheltenham. Many different packages are available to make the most of your day at the festival. Normal entry into the main grandstand is of course available, but for those willing to splash out, entrance to the Club Enclosure can make it a real day to remember, giving access to the enclosures, close-up views of the horse parades and stunning lawn settings. Of a a large number of dining options available, the high-end Golden Miller Champagne Bar also serves a variety of fresh seafood, while the Arkle Bar, named after one of the Cheltenham Festival’s most famous entrants, dishes up hearty family food. In fact, Cheltenham is also fun for the whole family. The main attraction may be the world class horse-racing, but there is so much more to Cheltenham than betting, a fact that will be more evident than ever at this year's festival and in the town, which of course is on the edge of the idyllic Cotswolds.
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How do I get there?
The town of Cheltenham is well served by many types of transport links. For those wishing to drive in their own vehicle, extensive parking is available at the racecourse at a reasonable price. For those wishing to relax a bit more, many coach companies offer transport to the festival, as well as trains running to Cheltenham from all over England and Wales. Finally, for those travelling from overseas, Cheltenham is well served by Birmingham International Airport, which is just a short train journey away.