Are you looking for the perfect outfit to wear to Cheltenham Racecourse? With the Festival just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what to wear. Should you wear that tweed? Or maybe try something a bit more informal?
Whatever your style, here’s what you need to know about the Cheltenham dress code.
Cheltenham Removes Dress Codes
The Jockey Club has taken a major step forward and eliminated all dress code mandates for its racecourses, including Cheltenham.
As part of their mission to make horse racing more accessible and inclusive, the Jockey Club-which owns 15 of Britain’s largest courses, recently announced they are abolishing their formal dress code.
With immediate effect, racegoers attending Jockey Club tracks – including Cheltenham, Aintree, Newmarket, Epsom, and Sandown – will now enjoy the freedom to wear whatever they feel comfortable in.
This doesn’t mean that you should throw style out of the window, though! Cheltenham is still an occasion where fashion and style should be celebrated, so aim to bring some fun to the races by choosing something special to wear.
Choosing A Cheltenham Outfit
If you’re going to Cheltenham for the main March festival, it’s important to remember that the weather can range from a lovely spring day to freezing cold and everything in between.
To ensure the best experience at your event, it’s essential to dress appropriately and plan ahead. Depending on where you’ve purchased your tickets, you could be outside for hours – so don’t forget to check the forecast before choosing your outfit! As the proverb states, no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.
Essential Cheltenham Items
I’m not suggesting you purchase an elegant fascinator (unless that’s your style), but instead, you should consider carrying around a practical beanie in case of emergency. If the weather turns nasty, you will be glad for the extra warmth and protection from the cold.
If you’re searching for something stylish and sophisticated to keep your hair dry, look no further than the fashionable Tillby. They offer a chic alternative to traditional beanies while providing excellent protection from inclement weather.
If you’re looking for a timeless and classic style, nothing beats the traditional flat cap. However, avoid those ‘Peaky Blinders’ floppy variations if you value your fashion sense!
Unless you’re fortunate enough to be in one of the premium viewing enclosures, there won’t be many opportunities to put your feet up during race day. So sensible shoes are essential.
However, you don’t need to sacrifice style for comfort. Men should consider a classic Chelsea boot or Oxford Brogues, Don’t be tempted by two-tone Brogues – you’ll regret it!! God-intended Brogues to come in just one colour – Brown.
Ladies have a more difficult choice to make, some outfits require a heel. But if you’re going to go for a heel, don’t go too high and opt for a chunky heel for extra support. Leather boots with a small heel are also an excellent option for a comfortable yet stylish look.
If you do wear heels, don’t forget to slip a pair of ballet shoes in your bag for the walk back to Cheltenham station. A company called Afterheels does a fantastic range of ultracompact ballet flats.
A stylish coat is the quickest and easiest way to pull together an outfit. The weather will likely be cool, so you’ll need something to keep you warm.
Men should opt for a classic 3/4 length coat or a tweed jacket. The double-breasted trench coat is also an excellent choice for a fashionable yet practical look.
Women should consider investing in a classic cashmere or wool coat – both of which will keep you warm while adding style to your outfit. A trench coat is also a great option, and don’t forget to accessorise with an oversized scarf.
Enclosure Style Guide
Cheltenham has several enclosures/stands, each with its distinct style and fashion sense. Let’s take a look at each enclosure and what you’ll typically see there:
The Club Enclosure: One the most prestigious locations in Cheltenham. It’s an elegant and sophisticated environment, so you should dress to impress. Think statement hats and fascinators for ladies, with smart suits and waistcoats for men.
Tattersalls: This is the heart and soul of Cheltenham. Here, you’ll find a more relaxed atmosphere and plenty of cheery people enjoying the day. It’s more casual than the Club Enclosure, but people still dress smartly. You don’t want to overdress in Tattersalls, but you still want to look stylish.
Best Mate Enclosure: The perfect place for a group of friends to enjoy a day out. It’s slightly less formal than Tattersalls, you can wear jeans and trainers here and feel perfectly comfortable. However, you don’t want to look too casual, so smart-casual is ideal.
You should now have a good idea of what to wear for the Cheltenham Festival – now all that’s left is to find a couple of winners at big odds to make it a truly special day! Good luck!
More About The Racing
Cheltenham Racecourse is located near Cheltenham Spa in Gloucestershire, England, in the suburban village of Prestbury. Cheltenham is regarded as the ‘Home of National Hunt racing’, and the festival is one of the most prestigious in the world.
The four-day Cheltenham Festival is held in March each year and features the famous Cheltenham Gold Cup. The racecourse itself is located just below the Cotswold Hills, at Cleeve Hill, and can hold 67,500 spectators.
The racecourse has three separate courses, including the Old Course and the New Course. The New Course has a downhill fence and a longer run-in for steeplechases than the Old Course.
Hurdle races over two miles on the New Course also have a slight peculiarity in that most of the hurdles are jumped early on in the race, with only two hurdles being jumped in the last seven furlongs.
The third course is a Cross-country Course that is laid out inside the main racecourse.
Each Day Of The Festival
The first day of the festival is Champions Day. This is a fantastic day as it’s the beginning of the festival. It’s known for the Cheltenham roar when the crowd cheers as the first race gets going.
There are four Grade 1 races on the first day, with the highlight being the Champion Hurdle. Other big races on the card include The Arkle, The Mares Hurdle, and The Supreme Novices.
Wednesday is known as Ladies’ Day at the Cheltenham Festival. Expect plenty of beautiful outfits and hats as the ladies compete in the style awards for the best-dressed woman of the day.
The primary race of the day is the Queen Mother Champion Chase. On top of this, there is also Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, RSA Novices’ Chase, and Weatherbys Champion Jumper, which are all Grade 1.
On the third day, the Irish take over the festival with St Patricks Thursday. This is an excellent day with a fantastic atmosphere. You’ll find the Guinness tent busier than ever! The Stayers Hurdle is the highlight of the day alongside the two Grade 1 races – the JLT Novices’ and The Ryanair Chase.
The final day is the big one, Gold Cup Day. The Gold Cup is the biggest race of the whole week, and it takes place at 3:30 pm. One of the biggest races in the racing calendar, the horses that win it go down in Cheltenham history. On top of this, there is the JCB Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, which are both also Grade 1.
These aren’t the only races, though; there are, in total, 28 races over the four days!
Have fun at your first Cheltenham Festival, we guarantee it won’t be your last!