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Cheltenham, here we come!

Ready for the races, peeps? Here's our guide to all that's in store at The November Meeting - it's gonna be a buzzing weekend!

The wait is over – racing season returns to Gloucestershire in its inimitable and oh-so-alluring style with The November Meeting, where glamour, glory and very, very fast gee gees all rock up at Cheltenham next month. Tempted by three days of fundraising, fabulous racing and remembrance, not to mention shopping to die for, delicious food and bubbles (you’ll find me in the Golden Miller Champagne Bar), we at Muddy poked our noses into the equine action to find out more about it.

The middle weekend of November heralds three days of racing action from Cheltenham, and this year’s fixture looks set to be as jammed packed with top quality racing and family activities as always. Friday 16 November is host to a longstanding Cheltenham tradition, Countryside Day, where funds are raised for the Countryside Alliance as well as this year’s nominated charity Racing Welfare. Get set for some serious countryside–themed activities before, during and after the racing, with local hunts parading on the course after the second race.

 

The Hunt on the course during Countryside Day of The Open Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Saturday is BetVictor Gold Cup Day, where one of the most competitive races of Cheltenham’s autumn season features on the card, the BetVictor Gold Cup. Along with six other competitive races that day, it promises some of the best Jump racing action in the UK this side of Christmas. Steel yourself ladies!

 

A hunt parade on the course during the Countryside Day of The Open at Cheltenham Racecourse

This year, the third and final day of the fixture is set to be extra special, as we remember 100 years since the end of World War One. There will be loads of activities taking place alongside the racing, including a Royal Gloucestershire Hussars mounted contingent in the Parade Ring (!), an aerial combat display and a March Past from members of the armed services. Alongside all the activity there will be displays in The Centaur about how Cheltenham and the county was involved in World War One – a pretty fitting memorial for such a historical moment in British history, we think.

Got Mudlets in tow? Sunday is also family Day at Cheltenham, with bags of free entertainment for littlies, including appearances from Peppa Pig herself. The Famous Family Fun area is back this year with all of your faves – saddle up and take part in Sam’s Funky Fun horse hopper races, grab your Walking Pet Balloon, visit Cheltenham Face Painting or watch Twistopher and Twistina (yes, really) make magic balloon models. And it’s all free, which is what we at Muddy love to hear.

Fancy a splurge? Shop ’til you drop at the famous Shopping Village (think stylish shoes from Fairfax & Favor, gorgeous animal print from Will Bees Bespoke and funky country wear from Bredon Hill Shooting) and with a little bit of effort you could nobble Christmas completely. And after all that shopping you’ll be in need of a bit of a pick-me-up – the Final Flight Bar will be in action on Friday and Saturday offering those in the Club Enclosure and Cheltenham’s Annual Members live music from Tommy and the Fuse, or check out Guinness Village with a line up featuring The Hipcats, The Lucky 15’s and Taylor and the Masons.

.Phew – I think that’s it! Ready to book? I’ll race you to it…visit www.cheltenham.co.uk or call 0344 579 3003 to book tickets.

 

So, now you’re Cheltenham bound, need some ideas of where to stay and eat? ‘Course you do! Check out our top tips, brought to you by your #intheknow (er, super nosey) local expert.

 

WHERE TO STAY

It might not be Race Week but The November Meeting is popular enough for most places in Cheltenham to get booked out before you can say ‘I’ll have a tenner on the nose on Red Rum’ but fear not my friends, I’ve discovered two absolute gems – one little, one large – where you can see out the weekend 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, Marsh Farm Barn, Bourton-on-the-Water, sleeps 2

This stunning conversion set in the grounds of a 130-acre farm is in an utterly idyllic, rural setting with beautiful views of the wild Cotswolds. Although in a tranquil location with loads of great walks nearby (including the Cotswold Diamond Way if you fancy it) it is also a mere stiletto’s throw from popular Bourton-on-the-Water, Venice of the Cotswolds no less. staycotswold.com

 

FEELING HUNGRY? THIRSTY?

Fill your boots before the racing (or the day after) and check out these in-the-know, pre-bookable options and then sit back and feel smug about how clever you’ve been!

 

The Hollow Bottom, Guiting Power

Soak up the atmosphere at the racing pub of the county (it was once owned by 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 about horse racing is something of an understatement. Check out the Muddy review of the pub herehollowbottom.com

 

No. 38 The Park, Cheltenham

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 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 also serve supper in the evenings with a rather tasty looking menu including tuna carpaccio, a blade of beef and chocolate & salted caramel tart. Tel: 01242 822929, theluckyonion.com

 

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

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 in March the pub packs 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 (!!). Settle in after the racing by the warmth of the fire in the bar, and if you’ve worked up an appetite, a full dinner service is served in the restaurant. Tel: 01608 658389, thewildrabbit.co.uk

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