Founded by Queen Anne in 1711, the Ascot Racecourse is the biggest draw of sleepy Ascot. The biggest and most popular race meeting is the Royal Ascot, held annually in June and attended by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and other royals. The racing is as riotous as the fashion, with six races taking place each day including the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the Royal Jubilee Stakes, and the Ascot Gold Cup. The latter is run on Ladies Day. Ascot proper can also be explored year-round, although racing remains the main event.
Things to Know Before You Go
Ascot Racecourse has a strict dress code on race days, although this varies between the summer flat season and the winter jumps.
The Royal Ascot is normally held over five days in mid-June.
There’s plenty of on-site parking at the racecourse, which is free during the jumps season and available for a fee during the flat season.
There are restaurants and a gift shop at Ascot Racecourse. Ascot itself has a selection of chain stores, cafés, and a train station.
Ascot Racecourse is accessible to wheelchair users, with paved (albeit sometimes steep) paths throughout; there are also accessible restrooms in the Grandstand.
How to Get There
Ascot is situated 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of London and it's easiest to get there by train from London Waterloo. The journey takes just under an hour. You can also reach Ascot by private vehicle, following the M4 west from London. Parking is available in town and also at the Ascot Racecourse; it’s free in jumps season and available for a fee during the flat season. You can’t pre-book.
When to Get There
Ascot Racecourse hosts races year-round, although dates vary. Check in advance to avoid disappointment, and consider pre-booking tickets. The famed Royal Ascot takes place in June and pre-booking well in advance is essential. The best time to enjoy the horse racing is during the sunny summer flat season, but the winter jumps season can be quieter and more affordable.
Other British Racecourses
Ascot is one of the most famous British racecourses, but there are plenty of other racecourses the length and breadth of the UK. Aintree in Liverpool is the host of the annual Grand National, while Cheltenham in the picturesque Cotswolds is known for the Cheltenham Festival. Then there’s the so-called “home of racing,” Newmarket, as well as Goodwood in the scenic Sussex Downs.
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