The Cheltenham Festival: The Race of a Lifetime

Each year over 250,000 people descend on the Cotswolds and visit the world-famous Cheltenham Race Course for The Cheltenham Festival. The Festival is a four-day event bringing together a multitude of racing, fashion and royalty in one place. Here, you will witness history being made as horses leap over jumps and race to victory. Which jockey will be left lifting the world-renowned Cheltenham Gold Cup?

With over £4.5m of prize money to be won over the four days, the stakes are high. Some of the world’s greatest jump horses and jockeys will take on the historic course, cheered on by an avid crowd of spectators. Almost 70,000 watched with bated breath as Al Boum Photo, ridden by Paul Townend, charged along the final furlong of the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious jump race in history, and took first place.

The Festival includes Ladies Day on the Wednesday, featuring The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. Spirits are high on St Patrick’s Thursday with an early celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, with the Ryanair Steeple Chase and the Paddy Power Stayer’s Hurdle on the cards.

The final day is the climax of the jump season and the Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase is the one to win. Can Al Boum photo take the win for a third consecutive year and equal Best Mate’s run of 2002, 2003 and 2004? He’ll join the ranks of Golden Miller and Arkle if he does, and it’s looking very likely!

The Cheltenham Festival should be on every horse racing fan’s bucket list. The course was voted ‘The Greatest Racecourse in the World’ by The Racing Post in 2019 and it’s set in the stunning Cotswolds countryside. The course provides world-class hospitality, with incredible views of the course and exquisite culinary delights to savour. Over 45,000 afternoon teas are served at the festival each year with 350 chefs on-site, cooking delectable dishes to be savoured by the crowds. Over 250,000 pints of Guinness are poured over the four-day festival, and you won’t be surprised to find out it’s particularly popular on St. Patrick’s Thursday!

You have to experience the ‘Cheltenham Roar’ first hand. It’s the roar of the crowd as the first race, the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle, sets off. It is rumoured to have been measured at almost 120dB – that’s almost as loud as a spectacular fireworks display! It’s spine-tingling and can only be experienced when you’re in the heart of the action.

To cater for the popularity of the festival, Ryanair put on 30 extra flights from Dublin to Birmingham and almost 20,000 use this route to get to the festival. Almost 135,000 people pass through Cheltenham Spa train station and over 36,000 cars are parked on-site over the four days. But the most important fact of all, there are over 100 helicopter movements per day and you could be one of them!

You could either be one of 135,000 people battling through the train station, one of 20,000 people making your way through Birmingham Airport, but still having to get to the racecourse or part of a far more exclusive club and arrive right in the heart of the action with Atlas Helicopters.


The Festival is set to return in 2021 from 16th – 19th March and Atlas Helicopters can fly you directly to Cheltenham Racecourse. You’ll be delivered with time to soak up the atmosphere before the first race and hopefully fly home with heavier pockets than you started with (don’t worry – we won’t charge you for additional baggage!).


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