Welcome to Eat, Drink and Sleep in which the JPFestival.com team, local residents and regular visitors to Cheltenham provide a guide for racegoers to the best (and worst!) restaurants and cafés (EAT); bars and pubs (DRINK); plus hotels and Bed and Breakfasts (SLEEP). Please add your own recommendations in the Comments at the bottom of the page. Select the venue name to visit the appropriate website for more information.
The Clarence Social – by JP @JPFestival
Debuted at the Festival in 2017. It’s Cheltenham’s coolest venue over three levels with a bar plus club in the basement as well as food on the top level. Owned by an ex-colleague of mine and recommended. You’ll find quite a few professional racing folk in here.
Number Seven by Racehorse Owner, Barry Preece @BarryPreece
“You are spoilt for choice in and around Cheltenham for restaurants. So many to choose from with great chefs. But the place I would recommend is a little family run restaurant called Number Seven in St James Square. A small restaurant tucked away and it is a little hidden gem. You definitely need to book at weekends and on race days.”
Flynns Bar and Brasserie by Jon Sutcliffe @ajracingtips
“Flynns offers excellent generous portions of food at what I say is also a reasonable price for the excellent quality on offer.”
Smokey Joe’s by racegoer Edward Davies @edwarddavies
“Such a great change from high street coffee outlets. Funky 1950s chic decor with a great range of hot and cold snacks and shakes. Lovely coffee too and excellent service! Highly recommended.”
The Fire Station – by JP @JPFestival
A vibrant, fresh and accessible all-day social hub, The Fire Station reopened as a pub in 2017 110 years after it was built. Lively atmosphere during Cheltenham races.
Harry Cook Free House – by JP @JPFestival
Harry Cook Free House is located on Montpellier Walk where O’Neills used to be and for those with very long memories, Peter’s Bar. Hoping to be ahead by a neck for pre-or-post race entertainment, the pub’s offering everything from a line up of live music, live race coverage and ‘Harry’s Big Breakfast’. They’ll be free live music from bands. Like the idea of watching the horse racing action from Harry Cook’s comfortable interior? You’re in luck… The pub will show every win, lose and jump live on their big screen so you don’t miss anything. Extra bars will installed, making sure that race to get a pint happens in record time.
Always the place for a boistrous atmosphere, The Brewery Cheltenham hosts an annual post-races party as the area is turned into an Irish village. Starting from Wednesday and featuring free entertainment and live music every evening, race-goers can continue the celebrations whilst enjoying some Guinness and a burger. Enjoyed by all, there’ll be an Irish band followed by some rock ’n’ roll, and ongoing support with Irish dancers.
Copa by Community Member, Jon Sutcliffe @ajracingtips
“Head for the back bar, grab a seat and relax either before or after racing. Good atmosphere and music not too loud, if on at all. So post racing you can discuss the day’s events whilst quaffing your favourite tipple.” (When busy I’ve found it difficult to get served in both bars – JP).
Revolution aka Vodka Revs by JP @JPFestival
This converted church has always been a favourite of mine with a wide range of quality vodka based cocktails, lagers and ciders. Not so good on bitter if that’s your thing although they do sell Guinness. Probably the best service in town even when busy from friendly staff who’ve been properly trained. Great range of food on the menu including a nice steak. Important to note that there’s a new dress code (smart, no trainers) although I’m not sure if this is going to apply on race days.
Tailors by JP @JPFestival
Great sports pub with nice open area out front with tables and benches. Easy to spot as it’s a big building covered in ivy. Large selection of beer, lager and cider as it’s a Wadworth pub. Plenty of large flat TV screens with Racing UK and they show re-runs of the day’s Cheltenham races in the evening. Probably the best pub to watch live sports on TV as they also have Sky, BT Sport, ESPN BS Boxnation. The basement bar often houses a lively local band. A notable feature is that since about 1997 they’ve had fantastic looking bar staff. (not the same ones!).
Out of town
King’s Head – Bishops Cleeve by Community Member, Jon Sutcliffe @ajracingtips
“A great racing pub with good beers on offer and usually a proper band in the evening on race days. A celebrity or two can often be spotted here on race week.”
24 The Promenade Apartment – Town Centre – by JP @JPFestival
A luxurious one bedroom, Five Star, Gold Award apartment in the very heart of Cheltenham which I can thoroughly recommend. Very comfortable indeed with luxurious bedding, fabulous shower and sophisticated sound and heating systems. Ideally located for night life after the racing and it’s just a walk, cab ride or bus to the course. A private parking space provided immediately outside.
Premier Inn – Town Centre – by JP @JPFestival
“New this year (built in 2016) and part of The Brewery, the Premier Inn is a welcome addition to accommodation for Cheltenham races. You know what you get with a Premier Inn and it’s ideally located in the town centre with Ladbrokes and Betfred betting shops not far away and the racecourse a short walk.”
Hotel Du Vin by Racehorse Owner, Barry Preece @BarryPreece
“A tough one to choose as I’m from Cheltenham so don’t usually stay in hotels. But the best hotel I’ve been to for dinner and drinks is Hotel du Vin. It has a great big bar area and restaurant and I’ve heard that it’s a great place to stay. They make the best Bloody Mary’s which is always a good start to the morning while reading the Racing Post after the previous long day of racing and partying!”
Holiday Inn Express by racegoer @cynicalginge (review also appears on Tripadvisor)
“Stayed here with a group of friends after Cheltenham Races (January 2014) as an alternative to our usual venue of the past decade. Hotel spotlessly clean, and rooms basic but functional. Nice bar in the hotel open all hours. Didn’t try the breakfast but the menu looked fine. Real advantage is the location, with shops, bars and restaurants on the doorstep and approx 20 minutes walk from the Racecourse. Will stay here again for sure. Whilst more pricey than other budget hotels, the relative centrality and the hotel bar are worth the premium.”
Well Farm Bed & Breakfast – near Stroud – by JP @JPFestival
A charming family home offering a high standard of accommodation that is well positioned for Cheltenham and the races. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the races in this quiet location. If you fancy a pint, there are two excellent pubs nearby. The Crown in Frampton Mansell and The Bell at Sapperton.
Middletown Farm – Upleadon – by JP @JPFestival
Two well-equiped self-catering cottages can be rented during race week and other times of the year in this tranquil setting with easy access by car to the less busy side of the racecourse. Breakfast of champagne and croissants from a French Patisserie provided with optional helicopter flight to the races for £250 per person. The helicopter takes off from a paddock just outside the cottages.