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“We just ordered ten barrels of Guinness” – Local pubs and inns brace themselves as Cheltenham Festival frenzy begins

The Cheltenham Festival always has a massive impact on the town, creating an atmosphere only able to be witnessed in this one golden week out of the calendar year.

But the impact of the race week is not limited to the buzz of the city and the immense crowds, the festival has a far more deep-rooted and economic affect on the town.

According to a report done by the University of Gloucestershire, last year’s Cheltenham Festival was worth an estimated £274 million to the local economy.

From barber shops to coffee vans, the entire local area sees a massive financial influx, but more notably: the local pubs, restaurants, and inns see the largest sums of profit.

It’s hardly surprising as all of the visitors and tourists need places to eat, sleep, and drink while they are in the town.

With around 158 pubs in the area according to Pubs Galore, and about 74 different inns and hotels, both types of establishments see a massive fluctuation of customers into their premises during the race week.

Just one and a half miles away from the Cheltenham Racecourse, a three minute drive up Cleeve Hill, sits the Rising Sun Hotel.

Talking with front of house staff member, Jacob Darrell, he explained just how important this one week of the year means to the hotel:

“The Race Week is pretty lucrative, obviously having a full hotel for basically a week, probably more like a week and a half is really valuable.

“In terms of one of our weakest areas of sales is the brunch period, and during this time breakfast is probably our busiest point in the day.”

A Full English Breakfast is a must for Festival attendees, and many places will find themselves fully booked for the entirety of the week in the early mornings before the races.

But not to be forgotten alongside the breakfast rush tradition is the all-important first pint of Guinness to pair with it.

Darrell mentioned: “We just ordered ten barrels of Guinness for the Race Week,

“I mean Guinness is by far the most popular drink, because Guiness is obviously really closely tied to the races, but there are other drinks too,

“We get a lot of cider, a lot of people want Thatchers, but it’s mostly Guinness.”

Despite the buzz of the city, the sense of excitement and life that comes with the race goers, Darrell was keen to emphasise the stress of the week for workers.

“It’s just stressful, it’s extremely busy, and it’s just hard work for a week.

“Normally, during a breakfast shift, you’d do the hotel and then you’d be kind of left alone for a few hours before people start coming in for lunch, but during Race Week, it’s pretty much just go, go, go all the time.

“Basically from when I’m doing the hotel breakfasts to about midday, it’s going to be full downstairs, full upstairs, full bar area and we won’t get many locals because of the roadworks and stuff like that.”

With last year’s estimate of a nearly £300 million boost to the local economy, it’s certain to be a profitable week to come for Cheltenham.

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