While it’s no secret that I absolutely adore Cheltenham Literature Festival, I too am guilty of ignoring this spa town’s full potential. This regency town is matching Bristol on its exciting events with its own Balloon Fiesta, Paint Festival and much, much more. Just forty minutes train ride from Bristol, and just £10 for an off-peak day return, this is both an attainable and affordable day trip location.
You can take out a membership with Cheltenham Festivals for just £25 for the year. The Bronze membership allows you to purchase up to 2 full price tickets per event during priority booking, available across all four Cheltenham festivals (Jazz, Science, Music and Literature).
2nd – 24th February 2019
The launch event takes place on Saturday 2nd February that will see The Municipal Offices, the Queens Hotel, Boots, the Brewery Quarter, the Town Hall and many other buildings light up using the same two-colour theme lighting. This year, A giant observation wheel will be the focal point of an expanded Light Up Cheltenham in February. (I think it’s the same one that’s been in Bristol over Christmas)
12th – 15th March 2019
Regular and first-time racegoers alike are welcomed to Cheltenham Racecourse to celebrate the very best of jump racing as the finest horses, jockeys, owners and trainers battle it out for the highest racing honours, their reputations and over £4.5 million of prize money. Ladies Day on the second day, and Gold Cup Day on the forth and final day are by far the more popular days of the festival.
1st – 6th May 2019
With over 20,000 music-fans getting in the festival swing every year, Jamie Cullum and Moira Stuart can be counted amongst the festival’s biggest fans! Cheltenham has become one of the country’s best-loved jazz festivals. The event itself is free to enter, but tickets are required for individual events.
4th – 9th June 2019
From stargazing, fun activity trails, family days and heated discussions in the Conversation Corner to a large animal dissection live on the Festival site, Cheltenham Science Festival offers science galore for all ages. The event itself is free to enter, but tickets are required for individual events.
14th – 16th June 2019
Food, talks and entertainment – the perfect summers day out. What can you expect? A Chef’s Kitchen where local leading chefs showcase local and regional food with inspiring demonstrations. Food & Drink talks covering many subjects ranging from Plastic pollution to Micro Greens. A fresh selection of food from Thai to Indian to the tastes of Gloucestershire along with the traditional Real Ale and Cider from local Breweries. And Live Music along with amazing Street Theatre. This is a ticketed event at £4 an adult if purchased in advance.
22nd – 23rd June 2019
With hot air balloon’s filling the racecourse throughout the weekend, it really will be a sight to behold for people of all ages to appreciate. It’s 2 days jam-packed with live entertainment and, like Bristol, will perform a hot air balloon glow on the Saturday night (weather permitting) followed by some fantastic fireworks displays. If that wasn’t enough, there is a giant funfair, local traders, delicious food and drink and even more. This is a ticketed event at £5 an adult if bought in advance.
6th July 2019
Showcasing the fantastic talents of the diverse communities of Cheltenham, with a multitude of activities from children’s entertainment, classic cars, music, dance, charity stalls, food, drink and much much more.
5th – 14th July 2019
Cheltenham Music Festival is all about high-calibre performances, magnificent venues and a huge variety of music – from symphonic grandeur to the intimacy of chamber music, and from sublime choral experiences to brand new musical adventures. With its excursions, too, into world music, film, dance, the visual arts and the spoken word, it’s a musically-centred cultural banquet that has few equals in the UK. The event itself is free to enter, but tickets are required for individual events.
15th – 25th July 2019
Gloucestershire have been playing in the stunning grounds of Cheltenham College for over 140 years, making this the world’s longest running cricket festival on an outfield. The ground’s idyllic setting has provided a perfect backdrop for the Festival throughout its history, a great attraction for cricket fans, new supporters and big cricketing stars. For the 2018 Festival, the College Grounds welcomed over 25,000 spectators over the two weeks in July.
1st – 8th September 2019
Likened to Bristol’s Upfest, the latest addition to the Cheltenham festivals calendar brings high-quality artwork from leading national and international street artists to the town centre.
4th – 13th October 2019
For book lovers everywhere, this is the only place to be each autumn. The Festival runs in October, welcoming the world’s greatest writers and thinkers to this regency spa town. The event itself is free to enter, but tickets are required for individual events.
2nd November 2019
The Gin To My Tonic Festival brings together over 100 different gins from across the UK and beyond. Each gin stocked behind the bars has been selected based on outstanding craftsmanship, delightful flavour and the most enjoyable drinking experiences. Priced at £13.50, tickets include Gin Explorer Guide, Gin Copa Glass, Tote Bag & Pen, Stainless Steel Straw,Access to 100+ gins (and selected vodkas and rums), Gin Sampling / Trade Stands, Gin Masterclasses & Workshops, Live Entertainment and Gin Party Atmosphere