JC Explores: A Guide to a Day at the Ascot Races!
There’s something a bit special about the races, I never managed to get to them before I moved to the UK but last year I finally made it to Ascot. A few weeks ago, the lovely Appletiser got in touch and asked if I wanted to head to Royal Ascot and I was definitely keen to go! On our first visit, we went on an odd weekend, so I was definitely keen to get back and experience it on the busiest weekend of the year. When it came to going to Ascot, the first time I was totally confused by what to do and what to look for, so I thought a little guide might be handy for anyone thinking of heading to the races at Ascot.
1 Explore the enclosures
Depending on the weekend you go, there are a variety of tickets you can get for different areas to be in at Ascot. For Royal Ascot it’s split into three enclosure, the Windsor enclosure which is the most affordable and down near the corner of the race course, the Queen Anne Enclosure which covers most of the grandstand and the area in front and behind it, and the Royal enclosure which is for members only. For Royal Ascot, we went in the Queen Anne Enclosure which was great as you get an awesome view of the track but also some indoor space and access to the winners circle in the back. I do think you can have an awesome weekend in any enclosure, they all had amazing atmosphere!
When we went last year, on a quieter weekend there were different enclosures set up, usually just two – one for standard and one for premium. As you would expect, it’s a lot cheaper to go on these weekends and the track is a bit quieter. A good option if you are a bit worried about what to expect!
2 Think about dress code
In general, on any weekend at Ascot you can dress up to the nines! For Royal Ascot there is a strict dress code, for example, in the Queen Anne enclosure, men had to wear suits and women had to wear hats or fascinators. For the other weekends, it’s just expected that you dress smartly. For Royal Ascot I went for the gorgeous floral House of Fraser dress which I was very happy to wear again, along with a little pink fascinator. I borrowed the fascinator this year, but for affordable ones, I definitely recommend Accesorize as they always have a good range and I’ve got some from there previously.
Dressing up is one of the fun bits of Ascot and it’s always awesome to go and see what all the other ladies are wearing, as there are some definite interesting choices! Also keep in mind that the best bit to stand is on grass, I saw a lot of high heels looking a bit worse for wear. Ascot itself can be a bit exposed, so make sure you prepare for all weathers, we managed to avoid the rain but, we all know this is the UK!!
3 Sorting food and drink
Once you get there, there is a huge choice of food and drink. For Royal Ascot, you can book things like picnic hampers and tables at some of the restaurants in advance if you want to go for a fancy option. Otherwise there are a load of places that you can pick up food and drink from. We went for some delish Indian chicken wraps which I really enjoyed. They have a heap to drink too, from wine, and of course some Appletiser!
4 Placing a little bet
Now of course, you can go to Ascot just to enjoy the atmosphere and enjoy a day out in the (hopeful) sunshine. But you can also have a little gamble on the horses. If you are a total gambling newbie like me, then you will be happy to know you can pick up betting papers as you come in. This will detail all of the horses which are racing, along with their stats and betting odds. It would also be helpful to read the advice offered at Daily Horse Picks too. There is a load of places you can bet at Ascot, you can bet indoors at the fixed stands who will give you floating odds (so it may change), or out by the track where you can get fixed odds. If you have a horse you want to bet on, it’s good to wander round the ones outside and check on the boards to see where you can get the best odds. If you want to get some tips before you go, you could also check out Racing Info, A leading choice for Professional Horse RacingInfo & Tips Online.
In general, it’s good to bring cash! There are cash machines there but do have a few queues. You can bet as much as you want, but usually it’s £5 minimum or £2.50 each way (betting for the horse to come in the top 3 or 5). The first time we went to Ascot I didn’t do too badly and made a tiny profit overall, at Royal Ascot, the odds were definitely against me and I only ended up winning on one race! I also know plenty of people who use betting services online even if they’re attending, a friend of mine told me about how they used a Pointsbet promo code to spread out their bets.
(This snap was from my previous visit to Ascot, whereas the one above is Royal Ascot so you can get an idea of numbers!)
So hopefully that was a handy little guide, Ascot is definitely an enjoyable day out and something a bit different to do in the summer. I’m definitely going to head back next year where hopefully I’ll have a bit better luck!
Have you ever been to the races?