We went to the absolutely hilarious Cheese Rolling back in 2019, with our video footage featured in publications all over the world, while Good Morning America also requested the footage (not sure if it aired in the end), as people saw us crazy Brits fly down a hill at scary pace. But what is the event, when is it and what should I bring? These are all questions I’ll try to answer in the following article.
There are several ‘official’ races during the event, where the winner will win a big block of double Gloucester cheese. There are 3 men’s official races, as well as one women’s. On top of this, there are also two runs up the hill, one by very young children and another by slightly older children (teenagers…I’m not sure, I don’t have kids, they all look the same). Beyond the main events, there are also numerous races down the hill at the end by anyone who wants to join in, there is no cheese prize but people have often built up a little bit of courage (and a bit more drunk) by this point and are willing to give it a go.
To slow people down when they get to the bottom of the hill, the local rugby team is standing there ready to rugby tackle anyone going too quick at the bottom.
Can I Join In With The Cheese Rolling Event?
Yes, you can. There isn’t a strict policy in regards to who is racing, you just have to be mad enough to want to join in. You have to make your way to the top of the hill and find yourself a spot so you can run down.
When Is The Cheese Rolling Gloucester Event?
While last year it was held at a different date due to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, this year it will be held on the 29th May 2023, which happens to fall on a Monday. Time to book the day off from work!
What Time Should I Arrive To The Cheese Rolling Event?
While the event kicks off at 12 midday, I strongly suggest you get there early in order to find yourself a front row spot. You should aim to arrive for about 9:30-10am.
We climbed a quarter of the way up the hill and had a perfect view of the event, right at the front allowing us to video it without getting people’s arms and shoulders in the way.
Where Abouts Is The Cheese Rolling Event?
When you book your trip down, you will read everywhere that it is in Gloucester, but this isn’t really true. It is on Cooper Hill, which is based in Brockworth, a small village in Gloucestershire. It is a district of Gloucester, but if you were to book at hotel in Gloucester then you would be a fair distance away for that early morning visit.
The hill is an equal distance from both the centre of Gloucester and Cheltenham, but Gloucester is definitely more fun.
So Where Should I Stay The Night Before The Cheese Rolling?
While I’m not directly recommending the hotel, as we found quite a few issues, including terrible cleanliness of the room and some poor experiences throughout our stay, we did stay in the Cheltenham Chase Hotel.
As mentioned, we didn’t have the greatest experience there, however the one reason why I strongly would recommend it is its proximity from the hill, making it an easy walking distance in the morning and to return once it is done.
What Do I Do After The Cheese Rolling Event?
People start to make their way down and back to civilisation, however there isn’t a wild festival atmosphere afterwards, which I thought their might be. A large amount of people head to Toby’s carvery, which offers a great food option and a beer garden for all those drinks. It will get pretty busy initially, but the crowds are virtually all gone by 5pm.
What Are The Rules For Cheese Rolling?
There really aren’t too many rules, they will drop the cheese and the moment they do you will chase down the hill alongside around 20 others, meaning you have a 5% chance of winning just by entering. I should make it clear that nobody actually catches the cheese, as it goes too fast to physically be possible, however it is really a race to the bottom of the hill, to win the giant block of double Gloucester cheese.
Can I Park Near Cooper Hill?
No, unfortunately you can’t. They close off the roads, except for people who live in that area, however you can pay for parking at either the Toby’s Carvery or Cheltenham Chase Hotel, which is £5 for the entirety of your day stay. From there, you have a 20 minute walk, which isn’t too long, but it is a bit uphill, so you may get a little sweaty.
Can You Get Hurt Doing the Cheese Rolling Event?
Certainly, we saw about 4 people injured when we attended. I’m pretty sure 99% of those that raced had some form of injury, but I mean 4 people who looked in a really bad state. However we probably saw about 300 people race throughout the event, so that’s not a bad ratio. Of those 4, 3 got up after a few minutes down and with someone looking after them, but one did seem to break his leg. All in all, you have to weight up how confident you feel and work out a system on how to get down without causing too much damage.
Can I Slide on My Bum Down the Hill?
Yes, you certainly can, however a level of competitiveness might kick in if you see everyone fly past you. A lot of people tried to take it a bit slower than the front group, however there are so many bumps and it is so steep that you will still have a bit of a tumble.
Wasn’t The Cheese Rolling Event Cancelled?
Due to the injuries, insurance around the event and the dangers associated, it is no longer an official event, however this doesn’t stop thousands of us from heading to the hill and continuing to run it in the exact same format it was run in before. It was actually cancelled in 2009, while they started it back up again in 2011, however the crowds have certainly continued to grow and its as popular as ever.
Any Extra Tips
- There are no toilets so you might want to keep your liquid consumption to a minimum. This does mean leaving out the booze until it’s all over.
- There is a little ice cream van serving a little bit of food, but really I’d recommend packing some sandwiches or something to keep you going. When you think about it, you will be there for about 5 hours, so it is definitely worth having food on you.
- If you get there early, you can get a great spot to take photos
- Wear appropriate shoes, the hill is ludicrously hard to climb, even just to get yourself a food spot.
- When going to sit down, you want to dig yourself a little flat spot. It is very steep, but if you can make it slightly flat then you can get comfy, something your bum will thank you for several hours later.
How long does it take for all the official races to take place? In other words, at what time do you think people can start heading back to their cars if they still have a long drive back home?
I would also like to know whether you think it is possible to take camping chairs and perch them on the hill or will it be too steep for that?
Thank you! 🙂
That’s a hard no to the camping chairs, you’ve no idea how steep it is, I mean sitting down on the grass you constantly felt like you were going to slide down, it was a bit of a leg workout by the end. Unless you stayed at the bottom, but you want to go about mid way up for the best view.
There are about 3 official races, but then a number of unofficial races just for fun and no prize, the timings are a bit blurry as I went two years ago now though.