Of the many Ladies’ Days to take place in the UK each year, one of the most high-profile comes at Cheltenham Racecourse in March. The magnificent four days of the Cheltenham Festival is the most prestigious meeting of the entire jumps racing season and can be counted upon to pack out the stands on each of the four days. Little wonder that attendance at this fixture features so prominently on the bucket list of many a racing fan.
As with many of the major racing festivals in the UK, Cheltenham doesn’t let its big event pass by without throwing a top-class Ladies’ Day into the mix. For those seeking a race day in a wonderfully scenic setting, with great facilities, and a cracking atmosphere guaranteed, Cheltenham Racecourse may well fit the bill.
The Cheltenham Festival – at which Ladies’ Day takes place – is held in mid-March each year, running over four days from Tuesday through to Friday. Each of the four days has its own title:
In common with the other three days of the meeting, Ladies’ Day features seven cracking racing contests, with the first of them getting underway at around 1:30 pm and the last starting at around 5:30 pm.
The action on the track is, however, only part of the experience. Expect a firm emphasis on socialising and having fun, a wide array of food and drink options, and additional attractions including a shopping village and live music. Gates open at 10:30 am for those who wish to get the party started early, with the festivities continuing for around an hour and a half after the last race.
Being part of what is – by some distance – the biggest meeting of the year at the track, ticket prices are a little higher than for an average fixture at the venue. Nevertheless, the racecourse does aim to cater to as broad a fanbase as possible, with a range of ticketing options available.
From £50 – The track’s most affordable ticketing option grants access to the main covered grandstand area including a selection of fully stocked bars, and traditional catering options such as fish and chips, burgers, toasties and so on. The Best Mate Enclosure provides excellent views of the action on the track, being located close to the winning post and offering a head-on vantage point as the runners come up the home straight.
From £67 – Next up the pricing ladder comes the Tattersalls Enclosure, which sits adjacent to the end of the home straight, giving excellent views of the winning post and the thrilling spectacle of the runners jumping the last. This area also grants access to the pre-parade ring, parade ring, and winner’s enclosure, furnishing racegoers with the chance to see the horses up close both before and after racing. Those in search of sustenance and liquid refreshment will find an abundance of options available in the covered grandstand, Tented Village, and the raucous Guinness Village.
From £98 – The track’s premier enclosure grants access to all public areas of the racecourse. In addition to all the facilities of the Tattersalls Enclosure, this area grants more extensive views of the home straight, higher-end catering options within the Princess Royal Stand, and the wonderful Shopping Village – the perfect place to pick up something new with your winnings.
From £360 – In addition to the standard ticketing options, the track also offers a range of hospitality packages in one of the venue’s 11 on-course restaurants. All tickets come with club enclosure admission and include everything from hot and cold buffets to six-course tasting menus, all-you-can-drink beers and wine, a tipster for the day, and much more besides. See the Hospitality Section of the track’s official website for the latest prices and deals.
Whichever enclosure you opt for, it is strongly recommended that you book your tickets well in advance, as – despite a capacity of 67,500 – Ladies’ Day, like the other days at this incredibly popular festival, regularly sells out. Also, note that the above prices are for a single adult. Group bookings of 15 or more will be entitled to a discount of £5 per ticket so get your friends together and see what all the fuss is about.
Cheltenham Racecourse, Evesham Road, Cheltenham Gloucestershire, GL50 4SH
The track lies only around a 5-minute drive from the town centre and is clearly signposted from all directions ahead of major race days – look out for the yellow AA signs. Those driving to the course are advised to take the M5, before turning off towards Cheltenham at Junction 11. You can’t miss the course from there. A vast paid parking area can then be found just outside the track.
The closest train station to the track is that of Cheltenham Spa which sits on the Bristol to Birmingham main line and enjoys strong links with most areas of the country. Having alighted the train, you will only need to walk as far as the entrance to the train station. A shuttle bus is in operation to and from the track through the Cheltenham Festival, priced at £3 for a single, and £5.50 for a return.
Tickets can be bought on the day or purchased in advance through Great Western Railway or Cross Country. Ruling out the need for a designated driver, and with only minimal high-heeled walking requirements, this would be our recommended mode of transportation for those attending Ladies Day.
Racegoers travelling from Cheltenham Town Centre have the additional options of the “D” and “E” bus services. Departing from Pittville Street, these services stop by the Racecourse Roundabout, and Racecourse Park and Ride – both only a short walk from the track.
And for those who really wish to arrive in style, the track has its very own helipad, which receives around 400 private aircraft over the course of the meeting. Contact the track in advance should you wish to get your Ladies Day off to a flying start.
Besides the social element, fashion, food and drink, there is a very good reason the Cheltenham Festival is the biggest and best jumps racing meeting of the year – the quality of the action on the track is simply unsurpassed.
The contests on offer at Ladies’ Day are more than a match for any of the other three days of the Festival. Of the day’s seven races, no fewer than four are Grade 1 events. In racing, it simply doesn’t get any better than that, with these championship class contests attracting the most talented runners in the sport and the most skilled, famous jockeys.
The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and Weatherbys Champion Bumper, will all create a real buzz in the stands, but it is the feature event of the Queen Mother Champion Chase which serves as the day’s headline act. Racing’s equivalent of the Olympic final for the 2m chasers, this race sees a field laden with equine superstars competing for a place in the history books and over £400,000 in prize money.
Elsewhere on the card, the Coral Cup and Johnny Henderson Grand Annual provide big field thrills, whilst, with its array of fences, hedges, cheese wedges and mounds, the Glenfarclas Chase is the most distinctive race of the entire meeting and a fantastic spectacle.
Cheltenham Racecourse is located in Prestbury Park, within a natural amphitheatre at the foot of the Cotswolds. A truly historic venue, with roots dating back to the early 1800s, this racing destination is as old as it is beautiful.
Widely recognised as being the home of British jumps racing, the venue actually features three partially overlapping courses; the original “Old Course”, the newer “New Course”, and the “Cross Country Course” which – you guessed it – stages cross country events. No prizes for originality when it comes to the naming of the tracks then, but the course management do deserve great credit for the facilities on offer.
As a jumps racing venue, Cheltenham is revered right around the world. Spread over a vast 350-acre estate, the course combines a spectacular countryside setting with thoroughly modern facilities. Investment has been both substantial and consistent over the years, with the most impressive recent addition being the wonderful £45million Princess Royal Grandstand.
Whichever enclosure you opt for, you are guaranteed one of the very best race-day experiences that UK racing has to offer. However, when selecting your ticket type for the day, it does help to know exactly what is available in the various areas of the track. With that in mind, we conclude with a more detailed rundown of what you can expect to find in each of the track’s three main enclosures.
All of the race day essentials, including a fully stocked main bar, complete with bubbles, gin, and draught offerings. Catering options consist of a range of mobile catering units, including fish and chips, burgers, and toasties.
In addition to all of the Tattersalls’ facilities, the Club Enclosure grants exclusive access to:
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