Prestbury Park is a beautifully crafted sporting arena, carved within 350 acres of the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire and the courses are unlike those at any other racecourse.
Undulating and stamina sapping, the sting in the tail regularly comes at the end of each contest in the form of the supremely challenging "Cheltenham Hill" - an ever-upward climbing passage runners must scale from the last obstacle to the winning line. Every weapon in a competitor's arsenal is needed for victory at Cheltenham.
The Festival uses all three of Cheltenham's courses. The Old Course stages racing on the first two days of the meeting, with the New Course taking over for days 3 and 4. Since the Festival changed to a 4 day meeting in 2005, the amount of ground available to race on has been increased.
The fences on the New Course have also recently been widened by 5 metres, which gives the racecourse the flexibility to use the outside portion of them during the early part of the season, saving around 12 metres of entirely fresh ground (and fence) on the inside of the New Course specifically for the Festival.
The unique cross country course is used for the Cross Country Handicap Chase.
As befits the UK’s premier racecourse, Cheltenham offers a huge variety of viewing areas, bars, restaurants, hospitality and entertainment.
Gates open at 10.30am on each of the four days of the Festival, and for the three hours before racing, and the hour and half after, there is time to soak up the unique atmosphere amongst the trade stands, parades, music and entertainment.