The 2019 Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival has marked its 70th anniversary with a record-breaking number of tickets sold. With its most international, diverse programme yet, the world’s oldest literature Festival reached a larger audience than ever before, supported by a new broadcast partnership with Sky Arts.
Festival highlights included stage and screen stars Tan France, Helena Bonham Carter, Louis Theroux and Andrew Ridgeley, sporting legends Sam Warburton and Alastair Cook, and political insight from the likes of Jess Phillips, Rory Stewart, Emily Maitlis and David Cameron. The fun continued after dark with a Game of Thrones quiz night, US story-telling sensation The Moth, and the return of the ever-popular Lit Crawl taking over the streets, pubs and bars of Cheltenham.
Literature Festival in Numbers
• Over 140,000 tickets issued
• Over 17,000 visitors on each of the festival weekends
• Over 4,500 visitors to the site every week day
• More than 900 authors on site
Things we learnt during the festival
• Helena Bonham revealed that she sought psychic help for the role of Princess Margaret
• Sue Perkins admitted that cake was in fact off her ideal menu
• Rory Stewart spoke of how he quit as an MP to run for Mayor so that he could make a difference
• Sky Arts exposed a nation of literary liars, with over half of Britons having had pretended to read a book
• This Country stars teased the audience with the idea of a Cotswold Christmas Special
• Andrew Ridgeley suggested TV talent shows were too brutal for young talent
• Sam Warburton told how his arachnophobia stops him from entering the I’m a Celeb jungle
• David Cameron admitted his daughter has forgotten that he was prime minister
• David Mitchell joked that we might look back on the invention of the internet as a terrible disaster
Next year’s dates
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival will take place from 2nd -11th October 2020
The National Hunt horse racing season starts this week, and there's just 17 days until the first meeting at Cheltenham Racecouse.
The Showcase, a 2-day meeting on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th October, kicks off the season for many racing enthusiasts here in the Cotswolds.
In addition to great racing, why not celebrate the start of the season in style with the first ever Cheltoberfest on both days of The Showcase meeting, including live music from The Bierkeller Boys, a range of local real ales, and tips from a racing tipster before racing commences.
For more information and tickets, visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/the-showcase
The Cheltenham Literature Festival will be taking literature to the streets for the fourth year running on Saturday 5th October 2019.
Enjoy a fast-paced evening of comedy, readings, performances and parties in the hottest venues across town. This is literature done differently and it's completely FREE!
The evening is split into four phases from 5pm, 6.30pm, 7.30pm and ends up at The Bottle of Sauce at 9pm until late.
The Crawl blends a bar crawl with bookish content, creating a riotous evening of the written and spoken word staged in surprising locations. Drop in for one session or crawl your way through the whole evening of events.
Raise the Bar at The Bottle of Sauce brings the Lit Crawl to a foot-stompingly energetic finale, filled with poetry and spoken word before the riotous after-party takes place until 2am.
I always look forward to The Big Feastival. I have watched it grow since 2012 when Razorlight and Texas were topping the bill, Jamie Oliver and Valentine Warner were doing cooking demos , and Peppa Pig was the highlight in the Little Dude's Den.
Eight festivals on and all of the original foundations are still there. It's just got bigger and a whole lot better and this year was by far and away the best yet.
They got lucky with the weather. It was over 25 degrees all weekend and no matter what anyone says, it makes a massive difference. They also got a little bit lucky with Lewis Capaldi. When he was announced on the line-up he was nowhere near as big is he is today. I think many people there on Friday were purely there to see him.
In keeping with tradition, Friday was brought to a close with a DJ set. This year saw Rudimental turn Alex James' Farm into Ibiza Rocks with their 75-minute set.
Lucy May Walker was the highlight from The Udder Stage which BBC Introducing took over each afternoon showcasing some rising talent from the UK.
Dodgy and The Zutons both played the main stage on Saturday before Jess Glynne brought the evening to a close.
The sun was beating down again on Sunday afternoon where Barns Courtney produced one of the best sets of the weekend. He was followed by Alex James' Orchestra and an awesome DJ Set by Jonas Blue that would probably have been suited being on a little later than his 4.30pm slot, but nobody seemed to mind. The sad loss of Jade Bird to illness meant that she was replaced by Abba Tribute Björn Again which is never a good thing, and triggered a quick escape back to the Cheese Hub.
Jack Savoretti is riding the wave of success from his hugely successful "Singing to Strangers" album and was perfect as the sun was setting behind the main stag, before Elbow, who I feel were lost on a lot of the younger generation, brought the Feastival 2019 to a close with a customary flawless set that concluded with Grounds For Divorce and One Day Like This from their number one album, The Seldom Seen Kid.
As the name of the festival suggests, food is a huge part of the weekend. You need more that 3 days to sample all of the incredible street food on offer and without doubt the best food ant any festival I have ever been to. The brisket bun, pickled red chilli from Smokstak and the steak from Carcass were both incredibly good. As was the meat from DJ BBQ where you can sing along to some classic rock with T-Bone Chops, not his real name, on air shovel. The fried chicken from Only Jerkin' and Burger and Beyond burgers were both exceptional, and the queue for Souvlaki Street suggests their amazing looking Greek wraps were hugely popular. Sadly I couldn't fit anymore in and have already noted them down for next year.
The Collaboration Kitchen returned for a second year serving up some special edition dishes from most innovative names on the UK street food scene. I tasted my first ever mac 'n' cheese pie thanks to My Pie x Anna Maes (Mac Not Crack) which was ridiculously good.
The NEFF Big Kitchen again played host to an array of demonstrations and Q&A sessions from some of the biggest names in food including Raymond Blanc, Mark Hix, Prue Leith and Gennaro Contaldo.
The thing I love is that the Feastival isn't trying to be edgy or cool in the slightest. In all fairness it would actually struggle if it was when Dick and Dom introduce Lewis Capaldi to the stage following a quick game of "Bogey".
It is just brilliantly British with outstanding food, heaps for families to see and do (under 12's go free) and music which is the aural equivalent of comfort eating.
We're not sure about you but this is the moment we have been waiting for.
The Big Feastival's Big Menu has landed and it lists all of the food options that you will be able to work your way through across the weekend.
The Big Feastival takes place this weekend at Alex James' Farm in Kingham.
Click to enlarge and save to your phones!
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have announced that a 2½ Mare's Chase will be introduced to the Cheltenham Festival from 2021.
There are currently two mares-only hurdle races run over hurdles at The Festival, Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle and Grade 2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, but nothing over fences. The race will replace one of the existing 28 races.
There is also changes taking place to the National Hunt Chase. The Grade 2 four-mile race will now be 2 furlongs shorter and have less obstacles, 23 from 25. It will remain an amateur race but will now include a minimun number of rides and winners for the jockey, and starts for the horse under rules.
The Festival™ takes place from 10th - 13th March 2020. Watch finest horses, jockeys, owners, and trainers to battle it out for the highest racing honours, their reputations and over £4.5 million of prize money.
FULL CHANGES AT THE FESTIVAL
Returning for the sixth year in a row, The Friday Night Supper Club will transform The NEFF Big Kitchen into a beautiful al fresco dining space for guests to enjoy a 4-course dinner featuring a handpicked collaboration of Chefs coming together for the first time ever.
The Feastival-exclusive collaboration brings Action Against Hunger all-stars; Robin Gill of the farm-to-table bistro, The Dairy; James Lowe of the British, produce-led restaurant Lyle’s; Anna Haugh of the Irish-inspired restaurant Myrtle; and Helen Goh of the famous Middle Eastern influenced restaurant, Ottolenghi; to create a unique and specially-themed menu for guests to enjoy under the stars.
Guests will enjoy a welcome cocktail courtesy of Warner’s Gin, a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne paired with the main course as well as wine, beer and soft drinks served throughout the evening. So sit back, relax and enjoy!
Tickets are now on sale with all profits going to Action Against Hunger to purchase yours click here.
In support of Action Against Hunger
Warner’s Gin Cocktail
James Lowe, Lyle’s
Sourdough from Flor with unpasteurised butter from Lyle's
Summer vegetables with honey and anchovies
Little gem lettuce with cured pollack and tomatoes
Anna Haugh, Myrtle
Heritage carrot salad, cais na tire cheese, tarragon dressing and violette crisps
Robin Gill, The Dairy
Lamb Feast: shoulder with BBQ cabbage, ricotta and olive oil, merguez and sour fennel
Paired with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label
Helen Goh, Ottolenghi
Rolled Rosewater and Berry Pavlova
Wine, beer and soft drinks will be available throughout the evening.
Time: Friday 23rd August from 19:00-21:00
Location: The NEFF Big Kitchen
Price: £85.00 per person
Before we know it, the National Hunt season will be upon us again.
It all kicks off at Cheltenham with The Showcase meeting on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th October 2019.
The exciting two-day meeting sees a host of new racing recruits join the ranks - from trainers and jockeys to future equine stars and sets the tone for what's to come, leading all the way to The Festival presented by Magners in March 2020.
Here are all the fixtures at Cheltenham Racecourse for the 2019/20 season.
Friday 25th & Saturday 26th October 2019
THE NOVEMBER MEETING
Friday 15th - Sunday 17th November 2019
Friday 13th & Saturday 14th December 2019
NEW YEAR'S DAY
Wednesday 1st January 2020
FESTIVAL TRIALS DAY
Saturday 25th January 2020
THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS
Tuesday 10th - Friday 13th March 2020
Book your tickets before 2nd December at 10:59am for the best price
THE APRIL MEETING
Wednesday 15th & Thursday 16th April 2020
RACE NIGHT FEATURING HUNTER CHASE RACING
Friday 1st May 2020
For tickets and further information about each meeting, visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham
There is just a month to go until The Big Festival returns to Alex james' farm here in the Cotswolds for another year.
There will be awesome music, incredible chefs and mighty fine food and drink from Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th August 2019.
Here are how the 3 days look. Who are you looking forward to seeing?
There is a month to go until The Cotswolds Distillery will be bringing together some great live music, delicious food and their award-winning Outstanding Natural Spirits and a large range of beers from Hook Norton Brewery for one day at the distillery on Saturday 17th August.
From 12pm – 8pm you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a day filled with incredible blues, jazz, swing and rock music from 7 different acts, including the legendary Kenny Young who will be performing his hit song 'Under The Boardwalk' with 1970's rock band Yellow Dog, swing, rhythm & blues band King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, and Hipkiss fronted by Patsy Gamble and Muddy Manninen (ex. Wishbone Ash).
Anyone who buys a ticket will be automatically entered into a special Cotswolds getaway competition with the winner announced on the day of the festival. One lucky person and their plus one will win a trip to the Cotswolds Distillery for a Gin or Whisky Blending Masterclass, followed by dinner in The Back Garden and an overnight stay at Dormy House nearby in the Cotswolds. On top of that, breakfast will be included the next morning and full use of the House Spa facilities!
Click HERE for more information and to buy tickets.
The Festival™ presented by Magners is a world class event here in the Cotswolds.
Today, Cheltenham Racecourse released their new hospitality brochure for The Festival™ 2020 which takes you inside their restaurants and private boxes for a 3D tour.
From panoramic views to unrivalled dining experiences, Cheltenham offers everything you need to celebrate a special occasion or entertain guests and clients.
Click HERE to view the brochure
OUR GUIDE TO THE GREATEST SHOW ON TURF
We are delighted to launch The Roar, the ultimate guide to racing at Cheltenham Racecourse.
I was honoured to be invited to help judge the regional final of the Cotswolds Distillery Cocktail Competition at The Fire Station in Cheltenham yesterday.
Before arriving I didn't really know what standard to expect. It was very high. We had smoke, chewbacca t-shirts, serious competition, great story telling and a lot of fun with Dan Morgan from Koj Restaurant the overall winner.
Participants were asked to make both a Cotswolds Gin and a Cotswolds Whisky cocktail in 8 minutes, and were judged on their presentation while preparing the drinks, their brand knowledge of the Cotswolds Distillery and its products, the appearance of the cocktail as well as its aroma and, of course, taste.
Dan will now go on to compete in the overall final at the Cotswolds Distillery Summer Festival on Saturday 17th August at the Distillery.
For more information about the festival, click the link below.
Cotswolds Distillery Festival
The Collaboration Kitchen is back and bigger than ever! Exclusive to The Big Feastival, a number of their top Street Food traders are teaming up for one-off collaborative dish.
Festival goers can get their hands on these mouth-watering pairings by visiting thebigfeastival.com/attractions/the-collaboration-kitchen
All proceeds go to the charity partner, Action Against Hunger.
This year's pairings include;
Oli Baba x Rainbo:
Katsu Poutine – Oli Baba halloumi fries, pork & Chinese chive gyoza topped with katsu curry sauce, Japanese pickles, pomegranate and herb garnish
Oh My Dog x Souvlaki Street:
Hand-made, heritage breed Frankfurter in a freshly baked Demi-brioche bun topped with Greek mustard sauce, spicy red pepper and barrel-aged feta sauce, shoestring fries tossed in oregano, and paprika and finely diced housemade pink pickled onions
Smokestak x Wingmans:
Smoked pork belly with an Asian twist topped with Wingman’s signature sauce, pickled cucumber, spring onions, and a hint of lime
Other Side Fried x The Cheese Truck:
Chicken Parmigiano Sandwich – Other Side Fried chicken, British mozzarella and marinara sauce topped with basil and grated old Winchester cheese
DJ BBQ x Farang:
Whole BBQ goat, roasted over the fire pit with a five spiced glaze, finished with palm sugar, fermented shrimp, pomelo salad, orange chili nahm jim, burnt chili dipping sauce and fresh thai herbs
My Pie x Anna Maes:
Deep Pan Pie filled with three cheese macaroni, Cobble Lane pepperoni and even more cheese
The Piadina Project x Carcass:
Piadina, Smoke Salt Marsh Lamb Shoulder with goats curds, mint salsa verdé, artichoke and slaw
The Cotswolds has announced that their highly anticipated summer festival will take place on Saturday 17th August.
They will be bringing together some of the best live music, delicious food and drink here at their distillery near Shipston on Stour in the beautiful surroundings of the North Cotswolds.
From 12pm – 8pm you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a day filled with incredible blues, jazz, swing and rock music from 7 different acts, including the legendary swing, rhythm & blues band King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, 1970’s rock band Yellow Dog with their hit song ‘Just One More Night’ and Hipkiss fronted by Patsy Gamble and Muddy Manninen (ex. Wishbone Ash).
A number of local food producers from the Cotswolds will be on offer, so whether you’d like pizza, paella, tacos or a BBQ, there will be something to tickle your fancy. The distillery will, of course, be serving their award-winning spirits and ales from Hook Norton Brewery will be available.
Tickets are just £20.
The music line-up day splits have been announced for the 2019 Big Feastival.
Friday will see the Fun Lovin' Criminals, Lewis Capaldi and Rudimental headline, Jess Glynne and The Zutons will draw Saturday to a close while Elbow and the newly announced Jonas Blue will wrap up the festival in style.
The Big Feastival takes place at Alex james' Farm in Kingham from the 23rd -25th August 2019.
The Specials and Keane will join The Beach Boys as headliners of this year's Cornbury Festival that takes place on the 5th/6th/7th July at The Great Tew Park.
The rest of the line up will be announced in March.
Legendary punk band The Stranglers will close the Wychwood Festival on the Sunday evening this summer.
Now in its 15th year, the festival takes place on 31 May – 2 June 2019 at Cheltenham Racecourse and is one of the leading family festivals in the UK.
The Stranglers will join funk and soul DJ Craig Charles, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam band, Scouting For Girls, T'Pau, Toyah +many more across the weekend.
The Churchill Arms in Paxford have joined pub line-ups for Tom Kerridge's Pub in the Park at both Warwick and Bath.
Taking place across 8 locations between May and September, Pub in the Park describes itself as the "biggest celebration of the best food and music the country has to offer".
For all tickets and info, please visit www.pubintheparkuk.com
I'm a Celebrity winner Harry Redknapp is coming to Cheltenham Town Hall in November for a fun filled event with tales of the jungle and of a football managers life, plus a Q&A with the audience.
The event takes place on Wednesday 6th November.
Click HERE for all information and tickets. Hurry as there are not many left already!
The Stereophonics are the latest band confirmed to play Forest Live this summer.
They will be coming to Westonbirt Arboretum on Thursday 23rd June 2019.
You can find all information here - www.forestryengland.uk/music/stereophonics-westonbirt-arboretum
Following its highly acclaimed inaugural season in York this year, Europe’s first-ever pop up Shakespearean theatre arrives at Blenheim Palace for summer 2019.
Four of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays - Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo & Juliet will transport audiences to the thrilling, intimate atmosphere of an Elizabethan playhouse, with plenty of breath-taking, spine-tingling and heart-stopping moments between 8th July - 7th September 2019.
The 13-sided scaffolding theatre offers three tiers of covered seating and an open courtyard for standing ‘groundlings’.
Outside the theatre, visitors can experience a vibrant Shakespearean village, offering the finest Oxfordshire fare – from local ales to scrumptious ice creams – served from oak-framed, reed-thatched buildings; an array of ‘wagon’ entertainment; minstrels and a stunning Elizabethan garden with ornate box-edged beds of cottage flowers, roses and herbs.
Step back in time and experience Shakespeare as it was in his day, with bloody battles, comic mayhem, gruesome murders and grand oratory.
43 horses have been entered for the 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, including three previous winners; Native River, Sizing John and Coneygree.
Blaklion and Bristol De Mai (Nigel Twiston-Davies), Minella Rocco (Jonjo O'Neill) and Double Shuffle (Tom George) all offer local interest.
MAGNERS CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP ENTRIES
AL BOUM PHOTO
BALKO DES FLOS
BRISTOL DE MAI
CLAN DES OBEAUX
GIVE ME A COPPER
ROAD TO RESPECT
TOUT EST PERMIS
What are you doing for New Year's? Here's your guide to the best NYE parties in Cheltenham this year.
For any Peaky Blinder fan, this is the NYE party for you. Enjoy a 3-course supper and live music from the brilliant Thrill Collins for just £60 while dressed in your best Peaky Blinders attire. Party only tickets are available at £20.
NO.131 & CRAZY EIGHTS
Whatever you fancy doing this year, No. 131 and Crazy Eights can help. Enjoy a NYE Tasting Menu at 131 (£85) or if you want to just party the night away then just by a Party Ticket (£20) for Crazy Eights including a drink on arrival and Live DJ.
CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL
If Motown is your thing then look no further than Cheltenham Town Hall. Enjoy canapés and a glass of bubbly on arrival before making your way up to the balconies for a delicious three-course dinner with wine, overlooking the magnificent Main Hall, dressed as the golden age of disco, above the dance floor and stage. A 2-course and dance only ticket are also available!
Welcome 2019 in style at Ellenborough Park. Enjoy champagne and canapés on arrival followed by a delicious 4-course dinner in the Horsebox Restaurant, then kick your shoes and dance the night away to a live jazz band in the De La Bere Court before the fireworks display at midnight. £150pp
THE BOTTLE OF SAUCE
Travel down the Rabbit Hole with The Bottle of Sauce this New Year's Eveand enjoy some crazy goings on including Flamingo Crazy Golf, Mad Hatters tea party and a Af'Tea party until 4am!
Celebrate the new year in style at Door 4 with live music from the incredible Camilla Lewington, bubbles, cocktails and a lot of dancing.
The self proclaimed "biggest party to end 2018" takes place at The Bierkeller with their Celebrity Masquerade Ball. There will be celebrity masks, props and a bubbly reception for all booked tables.
WILD BEER AT JESSOP HOUSE
If you're looking for a good old fashioned knees up to see in the New Year then Wild Beer is the place for you. There will be champagne inspired beers, Brut IPA's and some throwback tunes to get it the mood to shimmy and shake into 2019.
The Beach Boys have been confirmed as Sunday night headliners at the Cornbury Festival in 2019.
The festival takes place on the 5th, 6th and 7th July at Great Tew Park.
Tears For Fears have been confirmed to play at Blenheim Palace on Saturday 22nd June 2019 as part of the Nocturn Live events.
They will be supported by White Lies & Scritti Politti.
For tickets visit nocturne.seetickets.com/tour/nocturne-live