Gold Cup Newsflash
Cheltenham bound? Here's where to stay, eat, carouse and pamper, brought to you by your #intheknow (er, super nosey) local blogger.
WHERE TO STAY
When Race Week rides into town most places in Cheltenham get booked out a year in advance, but fear not my friends, I’ve discovered two absolute gems – one little, one large – where you can see out the week in high style. Don’t tell anyone else about them though!
Big & Beautiful: Waterhead Barn, near Stow-on-the-Wold, sleeps 12-13
Wow, this barn conversion is something else! Serious exposed wooden beams you’ll be wanting to swing from; high, high, high ceilings; serene, airy interiors; fabulous wooden flooring; and to-die-for furnishings – this is the sort of place that would send Kevin McCloud into ecstasies of purple prose. Outside is as standout as inside with bi-fold doors that open out onto a ginormous terrace, and you’re right on the doorstep of Stow-on-the-Wold with all its gastro pubs and cutesy boutiques. But, more to the point, you’re only a few furlongs away from Cheltenham’s Jockey Club so you can motor in for the fun and then exit for your slice of bucolic peace and quiet before the next day’s races. (Or have a party – whatever floats your boat!) staycotswold.com
Small & Perfectly Formed, The Coach House at Bafford, Cheltenham, sleeps 2
This bijou former coach house set in the grounds of a beautiful Regency family home (it’s all about Regency in Cheltenham) is only a couple of miles away from the buzz of the racecourse and town centre, but is nestled in its own calm vibe. A double-height living area with architectural beams and exposed brick walls is a knockout space with a huge, L-shaped sofa to fling yourself and all your winnings onto at the end of a busy day at the horses. There’s also a dining area with doors that open out onto a sun trap of a terrace, while the quirky bedroom upstairs has a glass balcony overlooking the sitting room, so if the fancy takes you, you can get your other half to serenade you Romeo style. Yes, I think you deserve that. staycotswold.com
Want to knock it out the park on Ladies’ Day? ‘Course you do – and I’ve got just the event to help you on your way!
Cheltenham Festival Style Preview, Ellenborough Park, Wed 7 March, 12-4pm
Hosted by swishy Cheltenham stylists Laura Leigh Hair & Beauty and luxe clothing brand Holland Cooper, this pre-festival get-together brings fashion, beauty, lunch and cocktails (these are good for you on a Wednesday – remember the mid-week skive story) all under the beautiful roof of 15th-century country house retreat Ellenborough Park where you can sip the limited-edition Chase Distillery creations, tuck into a three-course lunch by executive chef David Williams, then sit back and enjoy a racegoers fashion show. And, hurrah, there will be shopping and advice afterwards – Keith Scarrott Shoes will be there, along with Christine Cara Makeup and Denise Innes-Spencer from the British School of Millinery who can advise on the best hats to wear and you can even have a bespoke hat designed for you! ellenboroughpark.com
FEELING HUNGRY? THIRSTY?I
Cheltenham absolutely heeeaaaves during Race Week, so check out these in-the-know, pre-bookable options and then sit back and feel smug about how clever you’ve been!
Cheltenham Gold Cup VIP Day, The Hollow Bottom, Guiting Power, Fri 16 March, 11am-6pm
Not got a ticket to the big day? Meh, who cares when you can soak up the atmosphere at the racing pub of the county (it was once owned by the big cheese horse trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, don’t you know). The Hollow Bottom has the gee-gees running through its veins and to say the pub works up quite an atmosphere during the big week is something of an understatement. And this VIP event is a particular blast, oiled as it is with bubbles, a mystery tipster going through the cards, a four-course meal and wine. Oh, and there are betting facilities available and screens in every room showing all the Gold Cup action. Check out the Muddy review of the pub here. hollowbottom.com
Gold Cup at No. 38 The Park, Cheltenham, Tue 13 to Fri 16 March
This chichi Georgian number on the right side of town for the racecourse is an über-cool boutique hotel (you can also hire out the whole 13-bedroom townhouse for the party of your life!) that during Race Week opens up its hospitable arms for breakfast accompanied by your conventional tea and coffee, or for the rakish among you, Guinness and Bloody Mary (loving their style). They will also be running a pop-up bar from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 8pm, and serving supper in the evenings with a rather tasty looking menu including tuna carpaccio, a blade of beef and chocolate & salted caramel tart. There’s an extra special Gold Cup Supper Menu on the last day when you can celebrate or drown your sorrows in the super salubrious surroundings. Tel: 01242 822929, theluckyonion.com
Cheltenham Festival at The Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Tue 13 to Fri 16
If you’ve found yourself a perch at this chic inn on the Daylesford estate, you’ll be well sorted for fodder during Race Week as the pub is packing racegoers off with a fancy pants wicker hamper for the day with everything you need, including rabbit and truffle butter paté with toast (yes, you need that), two bottles of Daylesford cider (definitely need that), a linen tablecloth (!) and Daylesford tableware (!!). Watch the other punters turn green with envy! Guests and non-guests alike can get the VIP picnic treatment and if you can’t make it to the Jockey Club, all the action will be screened on a TV by the warmth of the fire in the bar. And in the evenings, highlights will be replayed while you tuck into the bar menu, or, if you’ve worked up an appetite, a full dinner service including Jerusalem artichoke broth and lamb loin will be served in the restaurant. Tel: 01608 658389, thewildrabbit.co.uk