Published on 2nd March 2023

a brown and grey concrete building housing a multi-storey car park

Parking in the Town Centre East council-run car park will be free of charge every afternoon, for customers parking from 2pm until 5pm during Cheltenham race week.

From Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 March 2023 inclusive, visitors can enjoy the town centre for longer thanks to free parking at Town Centre East car park.

The initiative is designed to encourage shoppers to visit during Cheltenham's Gold Cup festival, providing support to local retailers and businesses during what can otherwise be a quiet time for the town centre. The council and BID will be collecting data over the four days to understand whether free parking initiatives help retail businesses in the town centre.

Town Centre East car park has recently benefitted from widening of bays and improved lighting and security. It also offers electric charging points on level 4 and is less than a five minute walk to Cheltenham’s high street.

Cllr Max Wilkinson, member for economic development, culture, tourism and wellbeing, said: “Businesses tell us that some retailers in the town centre experience a quiet time throughout the day during race week. Traditionally, we have has offered some form of free parking incentive and that is continuing this year. I’m pleased that this year the council and BID will also be recording data to see whether free parking initiatives are effective at boosting retail during race week.”

Heath Gunter, chief executive of Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), added: “We're thrilled to have the council's support during what can sometimes be a slower period for retailers. The BID's message is that town centre businesses welcome local residents to visit during race week, and we hope that the provision of free parking will incentivise them to explore the town centre and show their support for our local retailers."

Free afternoon parking during race week applies only to the Town Centre East council-run car park. It does not apply to any other council-run car park, NCP Portland Street, NCP The Brewery Quarter, Sandford Lido, CitiPark John Lewis, Euro car park or any other privately-run car park in the town centre, neither does it apply to on-street parking.

For general information about parking in Cheltenham, visit the council’s parking pages or contact the parking team on 01242 264114, email

For press enquiries contact: communications team, 01242 264231, email