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.
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.
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.
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’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!
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!