Cheltenham – The Festival Town

26th February 2024

On 10th July 2019, Visit Cheltenham proudly announced that after an extensive research and consultation exercise it would be branding itself as “The Festival Town”. It seems an apt title given the staggering fact that the town plays host to over 35 significant festivals every year, several of which are world-leading.

In this blog, we take a look at ten of our favourite Festivals that in no small part were the inspiration behind the brand and we also take a look at why StayLets serviced apartments offer the perfect accommodation to experience them all.

Racing Towards Excitement – The Cheltenham Festival – 12th-15th March 2024

Arguably the most famous of them all is The Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Four breath-taking days, 28 races, unrelenting prestige, competition, and excitement, this jump racing Festival attracts over 250,000 race-goers. This year the premier race of the Festival – The Gold Cup celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Jazz it up at The Cheltenham Jazz Festival – 1st May – 6th May

Cheltenham has become one of the country’s best-loved jazz festivals, home to over 20,000 music fans. The Festival organisers love to celebrate all genres of jazz and carefully curate a mixture of international jazz icons, up-and-coming new artists, and unique Festival performances to ensure the programme has something for everyone. The 2024 line up includes Dionne Warwick, The Brand New Heavies, Courtney Pine and Sophie Ellis-Bextor to name just a few.

Literary Gems – Cheltenham Literature Festival – 4th – 13th October

Cheltenham Literature Festival was the world’s first literature Festival, leading the way in celebrating the written and spoken word, presenting the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers. Last year they celebrated the best of literary names and the most talked about emerging authors at The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2023.

The likes of Brian Cox, Michael Palin, Jojo Moyes, Elizabeth Day, Charlie Mackesy, Sadiq Khan, Liv Little, David Mitchell, Heather Morris, Tim Peake, Clive Myrie, Yomi Adegoke and so many more attended the 10 day event.

A feast for your eyes and your tastebuds – Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival – 21st-23rd June

If you love food and drink, then this is the Festival for you. Chef Demonstrations, Wine Tastings, an artisan food supplier marquee and stalls serving up foods from around the world are all complemented by a live entertainment stage and roving entertainers.

Classical music from around the world –  Cheltenham Music Festival – 6th-13th July

Cheltenham Music Festival was launched in 1945 and to this day proudly celebrates the love of classical music. A rich and diverse programme features the world’s best classical talent.

The 2023 Festival – the 78th – brought together a selection of musical delights, from glorious chamber music to alternative and unique experiences with classical music. The Festival welcomed artists including: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Collective, Laura Cannell, The Carice Singers, Scottish Ensemble, Laura van der Heijden and more.

For the film buffs out there – Cheltenham International Film Festival – 13th-22nd September 2024

Cheltenham International Film Festival celebrates its 6th anniversary in 2024 with a programme of film premieres and previews, special events, new festival themes and celebrity guests. Last year they previewed among others, The Miracle Club with Dame Maggie Smith and Laura Linney, The Trouble With Jessica with Rufus Sewell and the Uk Premiere of  The Old Oak, Ken Loach’s final film.

Since launch, the festival has screened and streamed the best of international cinema and welcomed celebrated names including: Polish Oscar-nominated director, Jan Komasa, Mike Leigh, Steven Berkoff and Dame Judi Dench. In 2023 they hosted Sir Stephen Frears and Ken Loach.

For the music lovers – Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse – 31st May-2nd June

The Wychwood Festival is firmly establishing itself as one of the most family-friendly Festivals. The 2024 line up headlines with Sister Sledge, Texas and Ocean Colour Scene. Other high profile acts include The Coral, Corrine Bailey Rae, Seasick Steve, Peter Hook and The Light, The Bootleg Beatles and The Lightning Seeds. There is also a Comedy Stage, Circus Workshop and lots more family entertainment.

Gin or Rum you choose – Gin & Rum Festival – Saturday 2nd November – Cheltenham Town Hall

If you’re thirsty for knowledge or just want to party the night away, this touring Gin & Rum Festival is for you! Discover new favourites with samples from hand-picked guest distillers, treat yourself at the themed Gin and Rum bars, and let your hair down with friends whilst enjoying music from award-winning DJ and live entertainment. You will be spoilt for choice with over 120 of the best Gins and Rums on the market.

Scientifically speaking – Cheltenham Science Festival – 2nd – 7th June

How long is a piece of string? What makes the world turn? And why does chocolate taste so good? Nothing is off limits at Cheltenham Science Festival. Every year they are joined by the world’s greatest scientists, futurologists and thought-leaders to help make sense of the world around us.

A sight to behold – Fresh: Art Fair – 26th – 28th April

Fresh: Art Fair shows a wider range of art than any other British fair.  Fresh: Cheltenham will host 50 leading galleries showing 5,000 prints and paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics by 500 UK and international artists.

Cheltenham’s well-deserved reputation as the Festival Town stems from its vibrant tapestry of cultural events, each adding to the town’s allure and charm. Whether you’re drawn to the thrill of horse racing, the magic of literature, or the soul-stirring rhythms of jazz, Cheltenham promises an experience like no other. StayLets serviced apartments are the ideal base for your visit to Cheltenham and one of its Festivals. Centrally located they can be your home from home that you retreat to after the day or evening that you have just enjoyed. All the Festival venues are within walking distance and the town’s rich variety of bars and restaurants are right on your doorstep.