Costa Y Campo

Cheltenham Week in Benidorm

Anytime in Benidorm is a good time. But, for us, the combination of Cheltenham and St Patrick’s Day has evolved to become one of the great weeks in the Benidorm calendar.  

An Ode To Cheltenham

They come in their thousands from Connemara, Galway and Donegal. And then double that again from Cork, Tipperary and Dublin Bay. The Irish are coming to Cheltenham with only four things in mind: the betting, the black stuff, the craic. And, God willing, the return fare for the journey back! 

For four days in March, one of the great sporting events descends upon a small town in the south-west of England. On the final morning of this competitive jamboree, a heaving mass of humanity will filter through the gates of Prestbury Park to witness a day of lasting magic.  

A day that promises so much and rarely fails to deliver; a day that can leave an honest man broke but happy to know that Misfortune struck at racing’s Mecca. This is a day that can sear the soul forever. This is Cheltenham. This is Gold Cup Day.

A horse racing to the finish line at Cheltenham Racecourse.

    Cheltenham Racecourse

And it truly is a festival of joy, unadorned by the pomp and poshness of Ascot and Goodwood. An egalitarian meeting of the good and the not-so-good, the well-dressed and the ‘make-do’, the lucky and the never-ever-to-be lucky.  

And then add some more: England’s green and pleasant land infiltrated by the beautiful Celt; the Guinness flowing and the betting, big. England v Ireland and the sonic roar from the grandstand at the mesmerising sight of galloping horsepower. Magic.

The town of Cheltenham is transformed from an elegant pit-stop for the Barbour and green welly brigade into the Last Chance saloon for the travelling hordes.  

The Promenade swarms with winners and losers from the Emerald Isle, the towns and cities of England and the horseracing aficionados from France. Montpellier, the town’s swanky end, is a melting pot of bounders and philosophers; all happy to tell you “There is only one winner of the Cup this year”.  

The famous Queen’s Hotel is where it all happens on pre-race evenings. The ‘drink’ is consumed by the gallon and the card games have more money in the pot than a bookie’s satchel. But everyone is happy. Happy to be part of the greatest horse racing festival in the world – bar none.

Even happier anticipating the dawn of another day and the chance to recoup losses or continue picking winners as if swatting flies.   

The morning trek to the track is accompanied by good humour and excited banter; hangovers are nursed, and wallets gripped. The Racing Post is rolled up and clenched in the fist as if ready, once released, to unfurl words of wisdom.

And then you arrive at Heaven’s Gate and once through the turnstile you instantly observe a rite of passage, no matter how many times you have made the journey.  

And there it is. The natural amphitheatre that is Cheltenham racecourse, surrounded by Cleeve Hill and ready for action. Ready for the hooves of animals specifically trained for the day, trained to get into the winner’s enclosure and receive the full blast of approval from the most knowledgeable of spectators.  

Benidorm, Cheltenham and St Patrick

Now, if Cheltenham is not part of your holiday planning this year, then head for Benidorm. It’s the next best thing. You have bars and big screens, outdoor terraces and an electric atmosphere.

St Patrick’s Day caps off the week; everyone dressed in green, the music and the craic getting louder with the Boy’s Only groups and the Girls on Tour long weekenders. All having fun in the sun.

Watching the Cheltenham Festival in Benidorm – who ever thought that would be a thing!

Holidaymakers watching the Cheltenham Festival at Hotel Marina, Benidorm, Costa Blanca.

Cheltenham TV, Hotel Marina

So, for anyone yet to decide on the best time to book a Benidorm holiday, Cheltenham Week in Benidorm needs to be high on your list.

Pack your Irish tricolour and your best green outfit, check out the form and place a couple of bets. You can tell the family you’re off to do Cheltenham – you just happen to need your passport to get there!

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