Royal Ascot isn’t the biggest horse racing festival in the UK, but it may well be the most prestigious. This, after all, is the chosen horse racing event of the Royal Family, and with more than three hundred years of history, it’s an event that never fails to capture the imagination. Royal Ascot did not leave the bookmakers indifferent either. In recent years, the main sports betting houses such as Betfair or Bet365 have been interested in Royal Ascot, even offering free bets and the latest insight or welcome bonuses for the event. For sports lovers, it’s a bucket list festival that’s more than worthwhile visiting at least once!
With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide that’ll help you to enjoy your trip to the fullest. You’ll find a host of helpful information and advice on this page, including where to stay, how to back a winner, what to wear, and why you should leave some space in your stomach for finger sandwiches.
The Key Details
Let’s get the need-to-know details out of the way: this year, Royal Ascot will take place from Tuesday 14th – Saturday 18th June. On each day, gates will open at 10:30, with the first race taking place at 2:30 pm and the final race at 6:10 pm. There’ll be around seven races each day, with all races having a minimum prize fund of £100,000. The race with the biggest prize fund is the Platinum Jubilee Stakes, where £1,000,000 is on offer.
You can attend as many days as you like, but in reality, you’ll find that it’s much more straightforward to attend just one of the days. After all, spending a day at the races can be pretty exhausting, and only the most hardcore horse racing fans make a point of attending multiple days.
So which day is right for you? In truth, there’s really not a bad day to go. Whereas other horse racing festivals start slowly before ramping up to the major events, Royal Ascot gets off to a flying start. After all, the Royal Family opens the event, which ensures there are plenty of stars on show.
Whatever day you decide to go, you’ll need tickets. It’s recommended that you get your tickets as soon as you know that you want to attend, especially if you’re planning on going on Saturday. The organisers have decided to reduce the number of attendees in order to enhance the visitor experience, so you can assume that tickets will sell out. Once you know what day you want to attend, take a look at the different ticket options available. The cheapest tickets are in the Windsor Enclosure, with the most expensive tickets being in the Queen Anne Enclosure.
There is one enclosure that’s far and away the most prestigious, and that’s the Royal Enclosure. This, of course, is the one where the Royal Family watches the action. But if you were hoping to get a ticket for this part of the course and rub shoulders with the country’s ruling family, think again: you have to be invited to this enclosure, sorry!
Where to Stay
You don’t have to spend the night in a nearby hotel, but you’ll be making things much easier for yourself if you do. It’s always better to have a leisurely morning on the day of the races, and, of course, you’ll want to head out to the nearby pubs once the action is over. So where should you stay? There are plenty of cute B&Bs within a 20/25-minute walk of the race ground. Just be sure to book your accommodation as soon as possible, and remember that prices are much higher than normal: it’s their chance to rake in some cash.
If you find that all the local hotels are fully booked, then you do have the option of staying in London. You can get to Royal Ascot within around 45 minutes. Just be sure to stay in the right part of London: you’ll be closest to the venue if you stay in West London.
Enjoying the Racing
Royal Ascot is very much a social event, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just about the good times. It’s absolutely not! This is one of the world’s premier horse racing events, and the action is taken extremely seriously. The good news is that you don’t need to be a horse racing expert to enjoy the races. Indeed, the atmosphere and thrill of the race ensure that someone with no prior understanding of horse racing could have a good time. You can help yourself by reading up on some Royal Ascot tips before you travel. That’ll give you an idea of the horses you should be watching (as well as which horses may be worth betting on!).
Top Tips For a Successful Day
If it’s your first time visiting Royal Ascot (or, indeed, any horse racing event), then be sure to keep the following tips in mind.
- · Well-Rested
Royal Ascot is a lot of fun, but it can also be a long day with not that much downtime. As such, you’ll want to ensure that you’re well rested and in possession of plenty of energy on the day of the event. So try to get a good night’s sleep the night before.
- · Dressing Well
Royal Ascot is a bona fide social extravaganza, and, as such, it’s important that you look the part! Ladies should wear a fancy dress with an even fancier hat, while gents should wear a smart suit. When in doubt, think “wedding attire.”
- · Establish a Meeting Spot
There’ll be a lot of people at the races, and that makes it easy for people to become separated. You’ll help yourself immeasurably by setting a meeting spot when you first get there.
Final Advice: Have Fun
And finally, be sure to have plenty of fun! This is a historic festival that has developed an outstanding reputation for many reasons. So throw yourself into all that it offers, and go big