Cheltenham Festivals – A festival town for all
Cheltenham is a town renowned for its festivals. Alongside the ‘big four’ – Jazz, Music, Literary and Science – there are so many more Cheltenham Festivals to enjoy. Below you’ll find a round-up of our favourites, some big and some small, but with something for all. We’ve also suggested a range of places to stay within a 10-mile radius, to help you make the most of your festival experience.
Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival
Held on the world-famous racecourse, the Blues, Brews & BBQ festival is a celebration of things blues, brews and… clearly barbecue! Expect some of the UK’s finest Blues musicians playing live throughout the day. With the best craft beers and ciders in the Cotswolds, a wealth of wonderful barbecue food and children’s entertainers too, it’s a great day out for the whole family.
Where to stay: Tom’s Barn
Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta
This annual event attracts pilots from across the UK who come to fly and entertain the crowds with thrilling stunt acts. The Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta is a colourful display of balloons, which come in all shapes and sizes along with a giant funfair, arena entertainment, birds of prey and an evening fireworks extravaganza. (Hot air balloon flying is weather dependent).
Where to stay: Hillview Hideaway
Cheltenham Craft Beer and Cider Festival
Celebrating the best craft beer and cider brewed in the UK, the Craft Beer and Cider Festival is an annual event held in the heart of the Cotswolds. It takes place within the wonderful setting of the legendary Cheltenham Racecourse and you’ll find superb beers, celebrated ciders, street food, craft spirits and English wines, all accompanied by some of the best live music tribute bands in the country.
Where to stay: Granary at Hunt Court
Cheltenham Paint Festival
One of the newest additions to the Cheltenham festival scene is the Paint Festival. 125 renowned national and international street artists display their works in 60 different locations around the town and you can follow the 8km trail that meanders around the various displays. You can see the artists at work or take one of four workshops being held.
Where to stay: The Hayloft
Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival
Enjoy a fabulous weekend of exceptional food and drink in the beautiful surroundings of the Montpellier Gardens at the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival. Expect a wide variety of food from traditional British fayre to Moroccan, Thai and more. Indulge in free wine tasting talks, cheese tasting and cookery demonstrations by some of the country’s leading chefs.
Where to stay: Old Chapel
Cheltenham Jazz Festival
When: April – May
The Cheltenham Jazz Festival is one of Europe’s leading events of all things jazz and features a diverse array of artists including international headliners, cutting edge jazz, and one-of-a-kind unique collaborations. The festival site is Montpellier Gardens in the heart of the town, and it’s a real feast for the senses with free music, food and drink stalls and family-friendly activities.
Where to stay: Oldbury Barn
Cheltenham Literary Festival
For book lovers everywhere, the Cheltenham Literary Festival is a must. Attracting literary greats, high profile speakers, and new authors from around the world, the festival celebrates the written and the spoken word. A variety of interactive events take place across the town and include a range of free family-friendly activities too.
Cheltenham Music Festival
Dating back to 1945, the Cheltenham Music Festival offers a breath-taking programme of musical events in cathedrals and churches across the region and sensational concerts in the town hall and Pittville Pump Room. Popular classic pieces sit alongside new and contemporary music, and past performers include Alfie Boe and Nicola Benedetti.
Where to stay: Chestnut Cottage
Cheltenham Science Festival
Perfect for children (and adults) who are always asking the question ‘why’. The Cheltenham Science Festival brings together scientists and futurologists to inspire and make sense of the world around us. Past speakers include Brian Cox, Robert Winston, and Helen Sharman.
Where to stay: Jasmine Cottage
Presented by the Jockey Club, the great and good of the jump racing world come together for four days of spectacular jump racing at Cheltenham Racecourse. The Festival features the best jockeys, trainers, and horses in the world, who go head to head over 28 races including the legendary Gold Cup. Places to stay book up a year in advance so plan ahead!
Where to stay: Mercia House
Regarded as one of the best family-friendly festivals in the country, Wychwood is a weekend event that takes place within the beautiful setting of the Cheltenham Racecourse. With more than 100 acts covering the indie, folk, and world genres, four stages and a plethora of workshops, healing gardens and an artist’s quarter, this is the perfect opening to the summer festival season.
Where to stay: Springfield