If you’re a Cotswold local then you will either love or hate Race Week. Race week is when up to 200,000 people descend on the Cotswolds, primarily Cheltenham, for a week of horse racing that comes to a close on Gold Cup Day. The streets of Cheltenham are filled with tweed clothing, Barbour jackets, suited men, glammed-up women, and a lot of champagne being consumed. It is actually a really fun week, particularly if you are a visitor heading to the Cotswolds, especially for the races. For locals though it can be a tricky time with masses of people, road closures, disruption, and general chaos. Love it or loathe it we’ve got some survival tips here.
1. Embrace the craziness
If you live in the vicinity of Cheltenham then you likely won’t be able to distance yourself completely from race week, so why not just embrace the fun and games? Over the week there are around 265,000 pints of Guinness and 120,000 bottles of wine consumed by racegoers, not to mention the amount of drinks enjoyed in the pubs and bars in and around Cheltenham. There is a real buzz in town, so why not get dolled up and head out for some cocktails with the masses. Race week actually brings into the Gloucestershire economy £100,000,000 over the course of the week and that’s not something to be frowned upon. Try and think of the positives and keep light-hearted about it all, it’s just a week of fun that will be over as quickly as it starts.
2. Keep away from Cheltenham
If you really can’t bring yourself to embrace race week then just keep away from Cheltenham for this period and plan some nice trips to other areas. The Cotswolds spans a large area, There are so many nice places to visit that you’ll easily find somewhere away from the maddening crowds, You’ll probably also find that places are pretty quiet during race week as a lot of people will be heading for the race course. How about a good hike up Willersley Hill followed by some lunch and a pint at The Bell Inn, or maybe a day trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park where you can spend time walking the gorgeous grounds, seeing all kinds of fabulous animals from lions to rhino, take a ride on the little train and having some nice lunch in the cafe.
3. Cash in on race week
Why not try and earn yourself some money this race week? With so many people flooding the area, you could definitely milk it for all its worth. If you have property that is not lived in or you could stay somewhere else for the week then you could rent out your house and make a killing. The closer to the Cheltenham racecourse the better, but the whole area is inundated with people needing a place to stay. You could also get your work or business involved in some way, do a race week sale, promote a race week product, get out onto the streets handing out flyers; and utilize the unusually high volume of footfall to your benefit. You could also choose to work at the races, each year 6000 members of staff are employed in different roles at the racecourse, get involved and earn some nice cash for yourself.
4. Go to the races yourself
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s all well and good rolling your eyes each year at race week, but this year why not splash out on some tickets and go yourself? It is actually a fantastic day out, people are in great spirits, it’s a brilliant excuse to get dressed up and feel glam, and you might even win some money whilst you’re there enjoying yourself.
5. Be Prepared
If you are out and about around Cheltenham during race week then do yourself a favour and be super prepared. Check road closing times and plan routes well avoiding the race course. You’ll escape much more stress if you do this and shouldn’t get caught in any major traffic. Make sure to do everything you need to in town prior to race week and if you do need to go in, time it for after the first race has started, You’ll actually find town will be oddly quiet at this time.
6. Go on holiday!
And if all else fails……go away for race week and don’t think about it for another second! Book yourself a sunshine break (much needed at this time of the year lets face it) and relax a million miles away from any race week talk.