Not going to Cheltenham this week? Luton is home to highest percentage of sports bars in England

We’re not horsing around! Luton placed in the top five alternative locations to watch this week’s Cheltenham Festival, due to its impressive percentage of sports bars, Irish pubs and ‘horse’ named establishments.
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A new study has revealed that these towns and cities are amongst the best in England when it comes to bars that either show live sports, prioritise a top notch Guinness pour or have ‘horse’ themed names - or possibly all three - to provide lucky locals with everything they could need for a day of celebrating St Patrick's Day and watching the Cheltenham Festival.

The research carried out by The Winners Enclosure has confirmed that some people who missed out on tickets to the Cheltenham Festival can easily find the next best thing in their city’s thriving bar scene.

Each location was given a score out of 20 based on four factors, including the total number of bars within 2km of the city centre, then the percentage of those bars which fell into the categories of ‘live sports bar’, ‘Irish pub’ or ‘horse-named pub’.

58.6% of Luton's town centre bars will be screening the Cheltenham Festival live58.6% of Luton's town centre bars will be screening the Cheltenham Festival live
58.6% of Luton's town centre bars will be screening the Cheltenham Festival live

London came out on top as the capital city boasted an enormous 548 bars within 2km of Trafalgar Square, with 35 per cent of those bars having access to live sports. The English capital city is also home to the highest percentage of Irish pubs in the country at 11.1 per cent. The study also found that 6.8 per cent of London boozers have a ‘horse’ themed name. For this, London scored a total of 16.8 out of 20.

Liverpool claimed second place in the table, which is no surprise given that the city is famous for its Irish pubs. 10.7 per cent of Liverpool’s bars fall into the ‘Irish’ category, meaning that good Guinness is not hard to come by. There are a remarkable 178 bars in Liverpool city centre, with 42.7 per cent of them showing live sports during Cheltenham Festival week. Overall, Liverpool scored 15.3 out of 20 for its brilliant bar scene.

Birmingham bagged third place with a total score of 14.4. This was due to 27.5 per cent of Birmingham’s 149 city centre boozers claiming to show live sports, plus a respectable percentage of Irish pubs (5.4 per cent) and pubs with a ‘horse’ themed name (4.7 per cent).

In fourth place was Leicester, as the city scored 13.7 overall. There are 117 bars in Leicester’s city centre, with an impressive 30.8 per cent of them showing live sports. A further 6.8 per cent of Leicester’s pubs have a 'horse' themed name too - making the city an ideal destination for anyone looking to enjoy the races from the comfort of their local this week.

Completing the top five was Luton, which despite only having 29 bars in its town centre, actually had a very high percentage of options to watch live sports - with 58.6 per cent of Luton’s pubs offering this special feature - the largest proportion of any major English town or city. 6.9 per cent of Luton’s pubs also have a ‘horse’ themed name, which is one of the highest percentages in England.

Elsewhere in the top ten, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Stoke-on-Trent and Reading all featured as excellent spots to both take in the Cheltenham Festival action and soak up the St Patrick’s Day atmosphere.

Furthermore, ninth-placed Coventry had one of the highest proportions of Irish bars in England (10.8 per cent) and tenth-placed Bradford is home to one of the highest proportions of ‘horse’ named pubs in the country too (8.3 per cent).

For more information about the Cheltenham Festival, please go to: https://www.thewinnersenclosure.com/cheltenham-festival/tips

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For more information on this study, including details on the methodology please contact: [email protected]

Please access any imagery here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders

Data sources:

City Population provided a seed list of the most populated places in England.

Google Maps provided the total number of bars, including the number of sports bars, Irish bars and ‘horse’ named bars in each location.

WhatPub was used to cross-reference the total number of bars, including the number of sports bars, Irish bars and ‘horse’ named bars in each location.