Royal Ascot may not be the biggest horse racing event in the UK, but it’s arguably the most prestigious and glamorous. After all, this is the go-to horse racing event of the Royal family, and that means there are always plenty of stars on show during the five-day June festival. And if you’re planning to attend for the first time this year, then good news, you’ll be in for a fun and memorable time. But you’ll need to know a few things to get the most from your trip. For instance, did you know there are a host of hotels within walking distance of the racecourse? Or that many betting companies listed on oddschecker offer introductory deals and free betting on Royal Ascot? And ladies, you’ll need to know the rules regarding hats, lest you fall foul of the dress code. We’ll run through everything you need to know on this page.
What To Wear
Royal Ascot is primarily about the horse races that take place, yes, but it’s also one of the major social events of the year. Take a glance at photos of previous editions, and you’ll see a sea of extremely well-dressed attendees. So make no mistake, this is your chance to dress to the nines and make a splash!
So what should you wear? It depends on what enclosure your ticket is for (they have different rules), but in general:
Should wear formal attire and a hat or headpiece. Strapless dresses, dresses that show the midriff, or short trousers are not permitted. If you’re in any doubt, wear something that you would also wear to a fancy wedding.
The majority of the enclosures require a formal suit. The one enclosure where a suit is not required is the Village Enclosure. However, even there, gentlemen must wear a jacket, trousers, and a tie at all times.
When To Go
The Royal Ascot Festival takes place over five days. However, it’s best to attend just one day, especially if it’s your first time. The festival is a lot of fun, but it can be tiring, and most people find that they get their fill of fun on a single day.
Choosing the day that you attend will depend on what type of experience you want.
The first day of racing is for the horse racing aficionados. It’s the curtain-raiser, slightly calmer than other days, with a lot of high-quality racing.
Wednesday is the most laidback of all the racing days. If you want to experience Royal Ascot in all its glory with friends, this can be a good option.
Things really pick up on the Thursday of Royal Ascot. A mix of high fashion and world-class racing, this day hosts the most prestigious race of the festival, The Gold Cup.
Arguably the most social day, Friday is the day to attend if you’re looking for a wonderfully social day mixed with high-octane racing.
The Saturday of Royal Ascot brings a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, though there are also some of the biggest races, including the race with the biggest purse.
Where To Stay
It’s strongly recommended that you spend the night nearby. It’s a long day, after all, and it’ll be much more enjoyable if you don’t need to drive or race for a train to get home. There are many hotels and B&Bs located within 1-2 miles of the race ground. If they’re all booked up, or you just want to have more options, then take a look at London hotels. You can reach the race ground from central London within an hour, which is more than manageable.
Which Horses To Back
Whether you’re a veteran or beginner horse racing fan, you’ll surely want to back horses throughout the festival. It adds an extra layer of intrigue and interest to what is already an exciting day. But which horses should you back? Well, that’s the million-dollar question. In the run up to the event, it’s a good idea to read up on hints and tips provided by professional horse racing experts. Once you’ve got the key information, you can back a horse that you think might perform well.
Starting the Day Right
The first race of the day will take place around 14:30, but the gates open at 10:30, and it’s best to get there well in advance of the first race. However, this will mean that it’s a long day, of course. You can ensure that you’re ready for all the fun by, first, getting a good night’s sleep the evening before. On the morning of the festival, get your fill of energy by eating a big breakfast. There are plenty of delicious places to eat throughout the day at the race ground, but you’ll be doing yourself a big favour by going into the event with something in your stomach.
At The Festival
We’re not going to tell you how to have fun at Royal Ascot. That’ll become clear enough once you’re there. We will, however, suggest that you create a meeting point among your tribe when you first get there. There can be up to 70,000 people at Ascot, which means it can be easy to get lost!
After The Races
The fun doesn’t end following the conclusion of the races. Quite the opposite! There are many outstanding pubs, bars, and restaurants in the Royal Ascot area. It’s recommended that you make a reservation as soon as possible since those establishments do naturally get pretty packed. It’s best to stay in the local area since there’s a highly active “Royal Ascot Atmosphere” in the air. However, if you’re looking for something different, then you can always head back to London and continue your evening there.
Final Thought: Enjoy it All!
Finally: make sure to have fun! Attending Royal Ascot is an experience that all sports lovers should have at least once in their lives. Throw yourself into all that it offers, and you’ll find that you have a great time.