Cheltenham Races Dress Code

Cheltenham Dress Code

Cheltenham Racecourse boasts some of the biggest horseracing meetings in the UK, attracting racegoers far and wide to the event, which not only brings out the finest in the equestrian world but in fashion and style too.

As hundreds of thousands of people descend on Cheltenham Racecourse, you can be certain that they will be dressed exceptionally. But maybe this is the very thing that has got you worried. What is the dress code? Is it formal? Should I leave the coat at home?

You’ll be glad to know that there is no official dress code at the home of Jump racing but the nature of the events Cheltenham plays host to encourages spectators to dress to impress.

Still stuck for ideas? Well fear not, we are here to help.

What Should You Wear to the Festival?

For many racegoers, figuring out what is, or isn’t in line with the dress code can be extremely stressful but Cheltenham is a lot more relaxed than some of the other race meetings. However, be mindful with your outfit choice as should the organisers deem your ensemble inappropriate or offensive, it is within their right to remove you from the premises.

You should also remember that as Cheltenham race days take place throughout the Autumn, Winter and Spring months, it would be wise to dress weather appropriate.

So, ladies, whilst stiletto’s and miniskirts make great fashion statements, you’re more than likely to be standing up for long periods of time and exposed to all the elements so perhaps exchange stiletto’s for boots and gentleman, consider an overcoat.

Ladies fashion for Cheltenham Races

Expect hats, fascinators, dresses and country finery from the ladies. Still in need of some more detail? Then read on for the most reliable fashion advice…

If you’re keen on making a country statement then deck out in tweed and fur for a luxurious look. Pair your outfit with a satchel bag, gloves and pointed-toe boots for a more feminine vibe as well as a long overcoat or Wetherby jacket – practical and chic.

Practicality is paramount! If that’s your motto then a polo neck jumper and umbrella will be your staple pieces. Layer up with a wool-blend coat and knee-high leather boots with a low heel. If you feel like this approach has rendered you almost invisible then spice your outfit up with a colourful scarf or conspicuous hat.

Do you want to up the style stakes and be a little risky? Go for it. There’s nothing wrong with bold colours, intricate prints and flashing a little skin at Cheltenham Racecourse but don’t bare too much cleavage as you may be declined entry. Combine a short dress with thigh-high boots to stay warm whilst being daring or drape a fur coat over your shoulders to showcase your outfit and still have the option to protect yourself from the elements.

For those with an understated taste, beiges, whites and earthy tones have proven to be popular at Cheltenham. Complete your look with a fedora hat and chunky heeled boots or shoes.

Cheltenham Ladies Fashion

Bag policy at Cheltenham Races

Though Cheltenham do not have a strict dress code, they expect racegoers to adhere to their bag policy. The Racecourse advises that you leave large bags such as suitcases, holdalls and rucksacks at home, or in hotels as they will not be permitted through the gates and will delay your entry into the grounds should you bring them.

Small bags such as clutches, handbags and backpacks of an appropriate size will be authorised access into Cheltenham Racecourse. Also, it would be wise to attend the racecourse early as all bags will be subject to a thorough search upon entry.

Cheltenham Ladies Day

Enclosure specific dress codes

The enclosure you’re in may also influence what you decide to wear to Cheltenham. The Club Enclosure, being the most premium will not permit certain outfits, so you’ll find that racegoers in this facility will don more formal attire. The Tattersalls Enclosure is the perfect middle ground, so you’ll find a few imaginative pieces amongst the more formally dressed in there and the Best Mate Enclosure welcomes all the shocks and surprises.

If you’re still unsure on the dress code at Cheltenham, don’t worry, we’ll be going into further detail in this post where we’ll break down Ladies Day fashion, St. Patricks Day fancy dress, the kinds of garments that are popular amongst men and why Cheltenham’s Club Enclosure has a different dress code rule to the rest.

Cheltenham Club Enclosure Dress Code

The Club Enclosure will not permit fancy dress at any of Cheltenham’s racing events. It is Cheltenham’s most exclusive enclosure and racegoers are expected to adhere to a certain standard, although smart casual attire will be accepted.

However, you’re likely to find that most in the Club Enclosure make a conscious effort – gentlemen will wear suits, ranging from traditional three-piece fits to more contemporary styles and it’s not uncommon for ladies to mingle in their finest attire in this enclosure either.

As racegoers within the Club Enclosure are given access to all public areas of the racecourse, including the Hall of Fame, Winning Post and the Princess Royal Stand, which the Royal Family also share (though their section is private) this has encouraged smart dress. For the Royal Family it is tradition to adhere to a strict dress code when attending race meetings and they set the bar high with their stylish yet elegant garb – so it’s no wonder that racegoers are inclined to follow.

If you’d like to blend in with the royals, gentlemen opt for tweed and ladies gloves and hats are a must! Complement these with a pair of leather boots – which are often necessary due to the weather conditions – and you’re almost a certified duchess.

Cheltenham Club Enclosure Dress Code

Ladies Day: Cheltenham Dress Code

Ladies Day is THE day to make a fashion statement. It encourages racegoers to be creative, innovative and original with major prizes up for grabs for the best dressed and competitions of similar stature throughout the day.

Expect to see the quirky and eccentric amongst the elegant and trivial as racegoers find any excuse to don flashy outfits and larger-than-life accessories. In 2015, the Cheltenham Festival introduced a competition coined under the hashtag #COLOURMEMARCH, which is now run annually following major success in its inaugural year. The competition is open exclusively to women and in the past has awarded the winning ladies with prizes such as luxury spa days, designer handbags, hundreds of pounds in shopping vouchers and a brand new MINI.

In order to be in with the chance of winning, all you are required to do on Ladies Day is add a splash of colour to your outfit, be spotted by a Cheltenham Racecourse official, or enter yourself via a marquee located above the Parade Ring.

It is the most glamorous day of the Festival and offers the perfect excuse to get all glammed up. There is no pressure to be outlandish and you may want to just add a pop of colour to your outfit in the form of an accessory, such as a scarf, hat or clutch but if you’re prepared to go all the way you could be in for an extra special day.

In previous years, bright pinks and blues have proven to be popular amongst the ladies as well as extraordinary fascinators and hats.

Cheltenham Races: Men Dress Code

Now, we’ve spoken a lot about the ladies but what about you gentlemen? Are you having any concerns over what to wear on race day? If you are don’t worry, there are no hard rules to men’s fashion at Cheltenham either but we’ve detailed a few outfits you’re likely to find at Cheltenham Racecourse.

One option, is a traditional three-piece suit, which aside from looking very soigné adds an additional layer of protection from the elements thanks to the blazer. Tailor the three-piece to your style by opting for a plain-coloured ensemble or one decorated with a pattern or design.

If you’re after something more simple, go for the classic suit. An affordable option with a simple yet effective suit-and-tie combo which allows you to make a statement without screaming hey look at me.

If you want to be really daring, how about a complete patterned fit? Country suave tends to lead the way at Cheltenham, go for a houndstooth print or tweed to really stand out and complete with a flat cap and some loafers. To personalise your look, choose a tie or pocket tissue with a shot of colour but be careful not to overdo it, you want to draw attention to yourself for the right reasons.

If minimal effort is your thing, pair trousers with a shirt or a turtleneck and a blazer. The turtleneck is fast becoming a champion trend and allows you to stand out from the crowd without deterring from the formal look. It’s a great alternative to a shirt too if you’re after a more comfortable fit and will provide extra insulation for your neck on a breezy day.

Men's Dress Code - Cheltenham Racecourse
Cheltenham Country Fashion
Cheltenham Men's Fashion

Cheltenham’s St. Patricks Day Dress Code

St. Patricks Day can be as imaginative as Ladies Day, if not more, as Cheltenham turns into a sea of green. The racecourse welcomes all Irish symbols on this celebratory day and racegoers tend to take full advantage of the green theme.

Gentleman have been known to ditch the classic suit-and-tie ensemble opting for oversized green bow ties instead and green top hats, with huge Irish clover glasses to finalise the outfit.

Over the years, dressing up as a Leprechaun has also become increasingly popular with some men going as far as to stick fake beards to their faces. The ladies also participate, showing out head-to-toe in green chic and shamrock accessories.

If you’re into fancy dress then St. Patrick’s Day is the day for you!

Cheltenham Dress Code - Cheltenham Raceourse

So, as you have probably surmised, you have the free reign to dress however you wish at Cheltenham Racecourse so long as what you wear is not offensive or inappropriate. Aside from the Club Enclosure, Cheltenham has no official dress code which is often the norm for jump racing venues as they take place during a colder time of the year.

Take Ascot Racecourse for example, they are able to enforce a stricter dress code as their race days take place during British Summer and so factors such as mud, rain, wind and biting cold are rarely taken into consideration. But this only makes Cheltenham a more enjoyable racecourse to visit as there are no restrictions on style, fashion or peculiarity!