Like every sport and almost every global industry, horse racing has struggled over the last 18 months. Since the start of the coronavirus emergency and resulting lockdowns across the United Kingdom recovery has been slow. Racetracks lay empty for many months, with some of the top events, including the 2020 Grand National at Aintree, cancelled. When the action did return, it was played out behind closed doors with supporters locked out.
Things have changed since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions from Westminster. The public is beginning to return to experience and savour the majesty of thoroughbred horse racing. With the gates now open and some important fixtures on the schedule, there has never been a better time to visit and support a racetrack in Great Britain.
As well as the fashion, style, and beauty of the animals on show, there’s also the gambling aspect. Regardless of your experience betting on the sport, you can enjoy a flutter on the outcome of races. From the bookies found on the high streets of London to the top Florida sports betting apps, horse racing is the most popular sport to bet on. It offers big odds, exciting markets, and you can gamble for small stakes.
If you are considering a trip to a famous UK racetrack, this article is here to help you decide. Below we pick out three of the best and most famous horse racing venues the island has to offer. Read on, choose your favourite and get planning for the next big event.
Cheltenham – headquarters
Industry insiders refer to Prestbury Park in Cheltenham as the HQ of British horse racing, and when you sample a day at the races there, you’ll know why. It hosts an extensive collection of Group 1 races throughout the season, with some of the biggest names the sport has to offer in attendance.
The highlight of the year – and by a considerable distance – is the Cheltenham Festival. This is a four-day horse racing extravaganza with the Cheltenham Gold Cup run on Friday, the main event. It is traditionally seen as a battle between the best British and Irish horse racing has to offer but has become more of an international meeting in recent times.
Thousands come from far and wide to sample the unique atmosphere of Cheltenham during the festival, and ladies day is all about fashion with some of the top designers on show. It is important that you plan your visit in plenty of time as tickets sell fast, as does accommodation in Cheltenham and surrounding areas with the prices hiked up during the festival week due to the high demand.
Ascot – a royal affair
Ascot is a track known and loved by racegoers across the UK and Ireland, but it has a global appeal due to its connections with the Royal Family. Royal Ascot is an annual meeting attended by royalty, including Her Majesty the Queen, who is said to be a massive supporter of thoroughbred racehorses. She even owns a few, and you can see them competing throughout the calendar at various tracks,
Visit Ascot at the royal meeting and be prepared to savour horse racing at its finest. There is no expense spared for the visit of the queen. The stands are packed, but if you want to enjoy the full Royal Ascot experience, you must aim higher and secure seats in one of the many executive boxes. They don’t come cheap, as you can imagine, but you’ll enjoy fine dining, entertainment and a stunning view of the racecourse in all its beauty, including that all-important finish line as you cheer home your picks.
Aintree – home of the big one
Think Aintree racecourse, and it’s likely you’ll conjure up images of the Grand National. The richest race in the UK and one that brings together the population in admiration for the animals and their brave jockeys.
There’s no doubt the Grand National is the biggest race on the calendar, but it’s not the only one of note. The track on Merseyside plays host to some of the best Group 1 events, and the crowds turn out in support with the stadium capable of holding more than 70,000 visitors.