The racecourse at Ascot was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, who gives her name to the first race of the famous Royal Ascot meeting. As the story goes, Queen Anne went out for a ride whilst she was staying at Windsor Castle and came across a piece of land that she thought would be perfect for her horses to run at “full stretch”.
The Royal connection to the racecourse continues to this day. The site itself is owned by the Crown Estate, the entity that manages the land and properties owned by the sovereign, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The racecourse is unusual in that it is protected as such by an Act of Parliament, though other racecourses are now being protected from development by the Jockey Club, which (at the time of writing) own 14 of the 60 racecourses in the UK.
Ascot is host to both Flat Racing and National Hunt meetings, which means that there are racing meetings held there throughout the year, though the two race types are only run within the usual seasons. According to their website, Ascot gets over half a million visitors each year, with Royal Ascot accounting for approximately 275,000 of these visitors.
There are several different areas that you can get tickets for when you go to Ascot, each has their own dress code and will give you different views and experiences. The racecourse itself has many different restaurants and cafes dotted about where you can pick up a snack or something more substantial. There are cash machines on site, but these are likely to be busy, so it’s probably easier to bring what you need with. Alternatively, the tote let you get cashback on your cards, or you could sign up for mobile betting with one of the major bookmakers.
This is the most expensive option, but gives you the best seats in the house. Premier Admission ticketholders get exclusive access to the viewing area on level 4 of the grandstand, plus the areas by the Winning Post. Tickets start from about £20 for one of the lesser known meetings, but prices rise significantly for the major meetings.
The dress code for the Premier areas is smart, this means; no jeans, trainers, shorts, t-shirts or other “sporting attire” as they put it.
The Grandstand is the general admission level at Ascot. There is no dress code at this level, other than you are not allowed to take your top off, and if you decide to upgrade your ticket on race day, you can do so, if there are still spaces available. Whilst there is no dress code for most meetings, during Royal Ascot, the dress code of the premier admission tickets will apply, i.e. no jeans or trainers, and guys will have to wear at least a shirt and tie.
During Royal Ascot, the Silver Ring offers the less formal option, with no dress code, but you will not be able to get into the Grandstand, or into the Parade Ring.
Entry for (accompanied) under-18s is free at Ascot!
Ascot is pretty much sandwiched by the M4 to the north, and to south by the M3. If you want to plan a route, it’s probably easiest if you pop the post code above into a directions website such as Google Maps or multimap.
Car Parking is available on site, but there can be a lot of demand for spaces, particularly for the bigger meetings such as Royal Ascot. There is a car park at the local rail station, which is only a short walk from the track, but this may be a bit of a gamble!
Ascot mainline rail station is a short walk from the racecourse.
Trains from Waterloo, take about 50 minutes and leave regularly (approximately half hour intervals during the day, more frequently during peak times).
Trains from Reading take about 30 minutes and leave at approximately half hour intervals.