The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
The racing event of the year, gear up for four extraordinary days of the best horses, trainers and jockeys as they go head to head in more than 25 races. And make sure you’re there at the start – the opening day is headlined by the thrilling UNIBET Champion Hurdle, which has been won by the likes of Istabraq, Hurricane Fly and Buveur D’Air. The following day, ‘Ladies Day’, features the equally brilliant race: the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase before St Patrick’s Thursday, which celebrates all things Irish. The final day plays host to The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup – the pinnacle of The Festival – whose winners have gone down in history.
15th-18th March. Cheltenham Racecourse. Evesham Road, Cheltenham GL50 4SH. 01242 513014; www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
Russian State Opera: Madame Butterfly at Everyman Theatre
The Russian State Opera returns to Everyman Theatre with a stunning performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Set in Japan at the turn of the last century, it is the story of a doomed love affair between an American naval officer and his young Japanese bride whose self-sacrifice and defiance of her family leads to tragedy. Though deeply sad, the compelling tale of innocent love crushed between two utterly different cultures remained Puccini’s favourite opera – and gave the world some of the most beautiful arias, including One Fine Day, Love Duet and the Humming Chorus.
31st March. Everyman Theatre, Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ. 01242 572573; everymantheatre.org.uk
Craft Festival Cheltenham at Cheltenham Town Hall
With over 100 top craftsmen from across the UK, this action-packed festival is brilliant for any age with a raft of activities to get stuck into. There will workshops aplenty – don’t miss learning how to make a porcelain lantern with ceramicist Adrian Bates. Keith Brymer-Jones, potter and judge of The Great Pottery Throwdown, will also be making an appearance, sharing stories from his new autobiography, Boy in a China Shop – plus there’s some great free children activities such as creating a plasticine masterpiece with model maker Jim Parkyn. And, if all that’s not enough, then there’s jewellery, ceramics, textiles and glass (and more) to snap up.
11th-13th March. Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, GL50 1QA. 01626 836846; www.craftfestival.co.uk