How many fans usually attend the Cheltenham Festival? How big is the capacity?

The thousands of Cheltenham Festival racegoers produce the Cheltenham roar on Day One of the festival

Cheltenham Festival fans

Getting your hands on Cheltenham tickets isn’t easy when the UK’s most popular horse racing festival comes around each year – but for those lucky enough to sample the taste of Cheltenham will tell you the wait is worth it.

Every year thousands of racegoers travel to Gloucestershire for the biggest National Hunt festival of the season, where Grade 1 races litter the field and iconic moments of sporting endeavour play out in front of their eyes.

If you’re new to horse racing betting then Paddy Power is here to help introduce you to the Cheltenham Festival. In this Demystifying Racing guide, we look at how many people attend Cheltenham, and how big the capacity of this remarkable racecourse is.

Cheltenham Festival fans and capacity

Cheltenham’s grandstands attract thousands of fans each year (GETTY)

How many fans attend Cheltenham Festival?

Each year Cheltenham Festival grows in popularity, which makes snapping up Cheltenham tickets even harder to come by. But if you do manage to get a ticket for the festival, you’ll likely be one of 70,000 people per day who will be heading to this iconic racecourse.

Now, Cheltenham Festival itself can hold more than 72,000 fans per day – although this capacity isn’t usually reached. The fourth day of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, which saw A Plus Tard win the Gold Cup with Rachael Blackmore, was witnessed by a record-breaking 73,875 racegoers. That’s a lot of people streaming into town, staying overnight or getting late trains back home after a day of racing!

Across the course of the festival around 250,000 fans will watch the racing live. In 2019 the record was smashed for the total racegoers at 266,557. Two years later and Cheltenham ran without spectators due to Covid-19. In 2022 a record aggregate attendance of 280,627 was set, and there was also a record smashed for the Thursday (73,754).

Whether we see a new record broken in 2023 remains to be seen. But perhaps unremarkably, during other race meetings at Cheltenham across the year there is a severe drop in numbers compared to the festival.

Cheltenham grandstand capacity

While around 70,000 fans can cram into Cheltenham for one day of the festival, not everyone can enjoy the racing from the grandstand. Now, the grandstand is where the Cheltenham roar will first be heard as supporters wait for the first race on the Tuesday to get underway.

It is here that the horses will surge past on their way to the finish post, and where the majority of the atmosphere at Cheltenham is housed. The Cheltenham grandstand was extended in 2015 as part of a £45m development project to house more VIP lounges, restaurants and the royal box.

Cheltenham has developed its grandstands since the 1960s when the festival became increasingly popular among causal horse racing fans. Thousands can pack themselves into the stepped terraces of the grandstands and while there is no official capacity here, it’s where the heart of the action truly is.


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