Take Your Kids to the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival
If you’re looking for a wacky event in England or have ever dreamed of winning your very own round of Double Gloucester cheese, then the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival is right up your alley! The premise for this event is simple. A seven-pound circle of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down Cooper’s Hill. The first participant to chase the cheese down the hill and grab it at the bottom is the winner- and gets to keep the cheese! Second and third place runners won’t go home empty-handed. Second place receives £10 and third place receives £5.
Where: This event is held near Gloucester, England. The traditional cheese chasers were from the local village of Brockworth.
When: The Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival takes place on the last Monday in May (Spring Bank Holiday).
Ages: All ages are welcome to attend the Cheese Rolling Festival. Kids can actually participate in an uphill scramble to win cheese of their own! Keep in mind that the hill is quite steep and it can be easy to lose footing.
History: It is believed that this event may have been started by Romans, with the roots of this festival dating back to the early 1800’s. After 2009, the official Cheese Rolling Festival was officially cancelled due to safety concerns. Unofficial races have since been organized by local cheese-rolling enthusiasts, though authorities advise against participation. In 2013, authorities intimidated the double Gloucester cheese producer, Smarts Cheese, from providing the cheese for the race, warning that they might be held liable for any injuries sustained. The 2013 event went on as planned using a fake roll of cheese, and Smarts Cheese has since participated in the event.
Event Info: What started off as an event for locals has now attracted worldwide attention, and people from all over come to participate. If you want to participate, there are no forms, pre-registration, or participation fees. You can just let the organizers at the top of the hill know that you’d like to enter the competition and chase the cheese! Participants must be willing to risk a few broken bones or concussions on the steep, uneven hill. (Ambulances are on site to pick up cheese-chasing casualties.) Make sure you have a great travel health insurance and nerves of steel! Many racers will dress in ridiculous costumes for added fun!
The cheese rolling doesn’t begin until noon, but if you plan to race, it is suggested that you arrive by 8:00 AM to claim your spot at the top of the hill. There are five downhill races, spaced about 20 minutes apart. Between the downhill races, there are uphill races for those wanting to test out course. If you’re able to snag a spot near the bottom of the hill, you’ll be able to see the racers scrambling to catch the cheese. Just make sure you don’t get hit by the rolling cheese- spectators have been injured by this in the past!
This unofficial festival is run by volunteers and is free to attend and participate. A £5 parking fee helps to fund the event. Parking space is limited and can be up to a mile away. Cooper’s Hill is almost 300 feet high with a 2:1 gradient. The cheese can roll at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, so if you’re standing at the bottom of the hill, be sure to get out of the way!
Safety Info: You may see signs posted by authorities on your way to the event saying that it is unmanaged and unsafe to attend. The event is, in fact, managed by a large, coordinated group of volunteers who clear the hill of debris and obstructions and secure medics to be on-site. People do get injured each year, so please take that into consideration prior to attending.