There are a few things to consider when planning to attend Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival, from which days you’re attending, to what to wear, to how to get there. Here is some guidance if you’re currently planning how to travel to Cheltenham during race week.
It is fairly easy to travel to the Gold Cup Festival and it’s accessible whether you are travelling by public transport or by car.
If you are planning to travel to the racecourse by car, you will need to organise parking in advance, you will not be able to show up on the day and park at the Racecourse. Parking can be booked when booking your tickets to the festival at a rate of about £20 for the day. If you are attending for several days, you will need to buy parking for each day.
During race week, several roads close to the racecourse are closed making parking nearby difficult. That’s one reason we recommend organising parking at the Racecourse if you are driving by car. Alternatively, you could park in Cheltenham town centre and get public transport to the Racecourse.
If you decide to park at Cheltenham Racecourse, you will find temporary signage close by to indicate where you should be heading. Some roads may be closed but there is plenty of diversion signage to guide you toward the Racecourse. Upon arrival at the car park entrance, there will be several employees guiding you on arrival to your parking spot in your designated car park (check which one this is in advance). Don’t forget to bring your permit pass to show staff when you arrive.
If you would like to be dropped off by car, there is also a designated space for doing so. Follow signs for the Green car park which will have the designated drop-off space within it.
Organising a taxi to drop you off at the races can be a good option, though it’s advised to book a taxi in advance due to demand during the festival. There will be a premium cost for this service during race week due to the level of demand for taxi providers.
Council-managed taxis – identifiable by the Cheltenham Borough Council written on the signage above the taxi. These can be taken from designated taxi ranks and can easily be found in the centre of Cheltenham, including on the Promenade.
During Race Week there are many buses running from both Cheltenham town centre and Cheltenham Spa train station. These will drop you off close to Cheltenham Racecourse and they are easily accessible spaces to catch a bus from.
Even if you are staying outside of the town centre, there is likely to be a bus service that takes you to the centre or close to the train station so that you can catch a bus to the Racecourse.
In 2023, the pick-up location from the Cheltenham town centre was by WHSmith and drop-off was outside Waterstones, on The Promenade. It is expected that pick-up and drop-off will happen in the same place for the 2024 festival, but we recommend checking Stagecoach’s website closer to the time to double-check race week information.
If you are arriving in Cheltenham by train, there are bus services running directly from the train station. This is an ideal option for those attending the festival just for the day.
Cheltenham Spa, Cheltenham’s train station, is a well-connected station. It has direct routes from London, Bristol, and Birmingham. Due to its connections to these stations, it is well-connected to other parts of the country too, whether you’re travelling from up north or further down south.
If you are returning by train and have a specific train to catch, ensure to get an early bus back as traffic is heavy during Race Week.
Cheltenham Spa train station is also easy to navigate with just two platforms – one going north and one going south. There are still facilities at the train station, despite its size, including a coffee shop and toilets. Outside the station, there are also places to grab food and drink including a couple of takeaways, a cafe, a coffee shop and a Tesco Express.
Similar to Cheltenham train station, Cheltenham is also well connected for coach services and it is well connected by both Megabus and National Express services which travel from Plymouth, London and Manchester to name a few.
You will need to check individual suppliers for drop-off locations, but most providers utilise Royal Well Bus Station, a popular drop-off location for coach providers. This is just a few minutes walk away from where the pick-up point is for buses taking people to Cheltenham Racecourse.
Cheltenham Racecourse is next to some residential roads so it is easily accessible by foot. Plus, it is only a thirty-minute walk from Cheltenham town centre, so it is a comfortable walking distance for most.
You will be able to navigate your way there fairly easily as there will be lots of people headed to the Racecourse.