Everything you need to know about visiting Royal Ascot and your day at the races.
What is Royal Ascot?
Royal Ascot is one of Europe’s leading horse race meetings. The meeting lasts 5 days, and consists of 6 races a day. Prize money for the winners totals over £3 million making Royal Ascot one of the highest quality and most competitive race meetings in the world. Although the horse racing is of the highest standard, Royal Ascot is more famous as a social event, and over 300,000 people attend each year. Men dress up in their finest suits and the Ladies don their best dresses and most flamboyant hats. News coverage of who attended and what they wore often exceeds the coverage of the actual horse racing.
When is Royal Ascot?
Royal Ascot takes place in June each year. The exact dates changes each year, but the event always starts on a Wednesday, and the final day is always a Saturday. In 2014 Royal Ascot starts on Tuesday 17 June, and finishes on Saturday 21 June.
Where is Royal Ascot?
Royal Ascot takes place at Ascot Racecourse, in the small town of Ascot in Berkshire. It’s located about 30 miles west of central London, or around 90 minutes away by coach.
How do I get to Ascot?
You should take one of our tours! Yes we are biased but you really should. We will take you from central London to Ascot and back again in a luxury full size coach, complete with air-con, toilet etc. You can get the train to Ascot, but let us paint you a picture, its 6pm, you have had a lovely day but you are pretty drunk and tired. At this point you can either have a guaranteed seat on our luxury coach and head straight back to London at the agreed departure time, or you can join the queue at the train station with 70,000 other people and when you finally do squeeze onto a train, stand the whole way home! Ohh and did we mention we include a pre-race picnic, unlimited red or white wine, and your entrance ticket to the racecourse?
Why is it Royal?
Royal Ascot was founded by Queen Anne in 1711, and is attended each year by our current Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family. Each day before the racing starts there is the Royal procession, in which members of the royal family travel in a horse-drawn carriage along the track to the Royal Enclosure. Once they are in place, the racing begins.
Can I watch the Royal Procession?
Yes, just get yourself to the track side by 2pm, and the Royal Procession will pass right by.
So what’s a typical day at Royal Ascot?
Normally people arrive early and have a pre-race meal or picnic with friends and a glass of wine or two (or three or four). After that people tend to head into the racecourse and watch the royal procession at 2pm, and then the horse races from 2.30pm to 5.30pm. After that it’s get yourself home time!
When is Ladies Day at Royal Ascot?
Although technically Royal Ascot does not have an official Ladies Day, the Gold Cup which is always held on the Thursday is known as Ladies Day.
What should I wear to Royal Ascot?
This depends upon where you are sitting and what entrance ticket you purchased. If you are entering the Silver Ring enclosure, there is no formal dress code. However you are encouraged to dress as smart as possible and you will feel out of place if you don’t make an effort. Remember dressing up to visit Royal Ascot is half the fun. However if you upgrade to Grandstand tickets, ladies are asked to “dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion” and follow rules like A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times, Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted, Trousers must be full length and worn with a top that adheres to the guidelines above (i.e. strapless or sheer strap tops are not permitted) , Jackets and pashminas may be worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Grandstand Admission dress code, Midriffs must be covered and Shorts are not permitted. Men entering the Grandstand area are required to wear a suit with a shirt and tie.
What’s the difference between the Silver Ring and the Grandstand enclosures?
The Grandstand areas are closer to the finishing line so you get a better view of the racing. Also you can visit the Pre-Parade Ring and Parade Ring, and also enjoy the lawns in front of the Grandstand area. There is a more formal atmosphere in the Grandstand enclosure. The Silver Ring is a more relaxed enclosure, but still provides an excellent position to watch the royal procession and the races. If you want our advice, we think the Silver Ring is perfect for the majority of our clients who just want a day out in the sunshine and have some fun. However if you are serious about your horse racing and want to follow the races closely, it may be worth upgrading to Grandstand tickets.
Where and how do I get Royal Ascot tickets?
If you book one of our tours, your entrance ticket is included in the price. Otherwise we advise you only purchase tickets from the official Royal Ascot Website.
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