Royal Ascot TuesdayFeatured Event
Royal Ascot kicks off on a Tuesday each year with six races, three of which are Group 1 races, Queen Anne Stakes, King's Stand Stakes and St James's Palace Stakes. Five of the six races are run over 1m2f or less so it's a day for the sprinters and always proves to be a day full of excitement.
Whether it’s the Queen Anne Stakes in which Frankel turned in his most sensational performance in 2012, the King’s Stand Stakes, one of the world’s most pre-eminent sprint races, or the St James’s Palace Stakes which attracts horses that have run in the English, French and Irish 2,000 Guineas, Tuesday is without doubt overflowing with class for the true racing enthusiast.
On Tuesday, anticipation is high, the racecourse immaculate and for the purist, this is the unmissable day in the Royal Ascot calendar.
Royal Ascot WednesdayFeatured Event
Wednesday is a more gently-paced day than the Tuesday, however, there is no compromise on quality.
The feature race is the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes which never fails to disappoint. Considered by many to be Royal Ascot’s most important race of the modern era, it was first run in 1862 to honour the then Prince of Wales.
Day two also features three Group 2 races – the Queen Mary Stakes, the Queen’s Vase and the Duke of Cambridge Stakes - as well as the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes. The Royal Hunt Cup, a Heritage Handicap, often the biggest betting race during the Royal Meeting, completes the racecard.
Royal Ascot Ladies DayFeatured Event
Thursday is vibrant, celebratory and steeped in tradition being the home of the famed Gold Cup. As the showpiece event of Royal Ascot week, it is the world’s premier race for horses that are specialists over long distances.
Ascot’s oldest surviving race, the Gold Cup has provided some of the Royal Meeting’s greatest moments including Her Majesty The Queen’s filly Estimate, who, in 2013, was the first winning horse of the Gold Cup ever by a reigning monarch.
The third day also includes two impressive Group 2 and a Group 3 races, as well as the Britannia Stakes and the King George V Stakes.
With thousands turning out to see the coveted Gold Cup prize contested, fashion and glamour reach their zenith and designer creations and millinery masterpieces take centre stage. Without doubt, day three boasts stylish elegance and rich history to match its prestige.
Royal Ascot FridayFeatured Event
Friday has a personality of its own. Revolving around six top-class races including two world-class Group 1, a Group 2, Group 3 and two competitive handicap races, Friday at Royal Ascot is the perfect lead-in to a long weekend and ideal for corporate entertaining and group hospitality.
The Coronation Stakes, is an exciting one-mile race for three-year-old fillies, while the Commonwealth Cup is one of the Flat season’s most important races for young sprinters.
Friday guarantees plenty of racing drama for the enthusiast.
Royal Ascot SaturdayFeatured Event
As the final day falls on a weekend, understandably the atmosphere is more relaxed, however, there is certainly no let-up when it comes to the quality of the racing. The highlight of the day is the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, one of the world’s great international sprint races.
With the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes bringing together some of the best older middle-distance horses, the Wokingham Stakes, the meeting’s oldest heritage handicap, and the Queen Alexandra Stakes, the longest race of the week and of the entire Flat season, there is plenty to enthral racegoers and to ensure that Royal Ascot comes to a fitting close.
Where to be for the best views
QUEEN ANNE ENCLOSURE (PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS THE GRANDSTAND ENCLOSURE)
Situated within the magnificent woodland next to the Windsor Great Park, Queen Anne Enclosure is the perfect place to enjoy all that Ascot has to offer. Just a short walking distance from the Parade Ring, Winners Enclosure and Track which can be reached by crossing the Concourse of the main Grandstand, the enclosure provides a host of excellent facilities, with fantastic views of the racing both from elevated seating and at the trackside lawns at ground level. Each day before the racing, a military band will perform in the Parade Ring and guests will be able to witness Her Majesty The Queen arrive in the Royal Procession. There are also a range of places to eat and drink, and betting is possible at totepool kiosks, betting shops in the main grandstand and with bookmakers in the betting ring. After the racing is over, it is traditional for guests to head to the Bandstand to join in with a sing along. It is important to remember that ticket holders for this area do not have access to Level 4 of the Grandstand, which can only be accessed via the Edward VII Enclosure.
KING EDWARD VII GALLERY (PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS PREMIER ADMISSION)
Ascot’s King Edward VII enclosure is the ideal place for the devoted racing enthusiasts to experience the excellence of Ascot. The exclusive fourth floor’s seated balconies overlook both the Parade Ring and track and are sure to provide unparalleled views, covering all the action of beforehand, the race itself and the aftermath. Fourth floor capacity has been reduced from 4,500 to 1,700, now providing guests with a more relaxed atmosphere and a guaranteed balcony seat with unsurpassed views of the racing. Whilst watching the breathtaking spectacle unfold, guests will be able to enjoy a wonderful selection of bars and dining options. And the benefits of staying at the King Edward IV enclosure don't stop after the racing is finished either… Guests attending the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup will also have a priority period in which they can secure stage-side viewing of the music concert after the racing.
WINNING POST ENCLOSURE (AVAILABLE ON KING GEORGE VI SATURDAY AND QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS DAY)
Whilst fundamentally being a private area, Ascot’s Winning Post Enclosure is by no means separate from the action. Situated on the West end of the Grandstand ground floor, from private viewing lawns guests will be able to witness first-hand the nail biting moments as they see which horse bustles their way to the Winning Post first. A second viewing lawn is also available to guests, perfect for enjoying an evening drink or picnic. For those interested in sophisticated lunch options, a three-course a la carte menu is available in The Smokehouse and shellfish platters at the Seafood Terrace. A range of cakes and sandwiches are also on offer at the Deli.
When accompanied by a paying adult, children under 18 are allowed into the racecourse free of charge on all racedays.
How to find us
Ascot Racecourse is ideally situated only 50 minutes away from London, both by car and train. Located close to the M3, M4, M40 & M25 motorways and to London Heathrow for international visitors, Ascot offers easy access for all racegoers wherever their departure point.
When travelling from London and the North, take the M4 Junction 6 onto the A332 Windsor road and follow signs to Ascot.
For those coming from the West, take the M4 Junction 10 to the A329(M) signed to Bracknell and follow signs to Ascot.
If arriving from the South and East, take the M3 Junction 3 onto the A332 signed to Bracknell and follow signs to Ascot.
Finally, those coming from the Midlands should take the M40 southbound, Junction 4 and then follow the A404 towards the M4 (Junction 8/9). Once on the M4, head towards Heathrow/London. Leave M4 at Junction 6 and follow the A332 Windsor by-pass to Ascot.
South West Trains runs a direct frequent service to Ascot from Reading, London Waterloo and Guildford, with average journey times of 27 minutes, 52 minutes and 1 hour respectively. Ascot station is conveniently only a seven-minute walk from the racecourse.
A helicopter landing facility is situated close to the racecourse. It is not suitable for fixed-wing private aircrafts. Please call Helicopter and Aviation Services on +44 (0)1427 718 800 or fax +44 (0)1427 718 811 for more information.
Ascots two nearest airfields are both approximately 9 miles away - Fairoaks, Chobham (+44 (0)1276 857 300) and White Waltham, Maidenhead (+44 (0)1628 823 272).
Parking prices for Royal Ascot vary depending on how near the car park is to the festival. Car Park 1 costs £20 and car park 5 costs £6, whilst car park 6 is free.
What to wear
Royal Ascot has always been synonymous with both elegance and style. Ladies are required to wear a dress suitable for a formal occasion, and of course, as is conventionally known at Ascot, must wear a hat at all times. Girls aged 17 or under, should be dressed for a formal occasion also, and a summer dress is recommended, although hats are not compulsory. Gentleman must wear a matching suit with a shirt and tie. Similarly, boys under 17 should wear a suit or jacket with a shirt and tie. Boys under 13 are not required to wear a jacket or tie but should dress appropriately.
Now over 300 years old, Ascot Racecourse has certainly seen more than its fair share of both racing and social history over the years - year after year records have been smashed, fashion has become both increasingly elegant and seemingly more daring and festival numbers have grown considerably. This has all contributed towards Ascot’s stand out spectacle - Royal Ascot, establishing itself as one of sport's greatest events - both a highlight of the British social calendar and the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world. One thing that hasn’t changed however, is the unwavering presence of The Queen at Royal Ascot. Few could have envisaged what Ascot would become when Queen Anne first came across the once area of heath whilst riding out near Windsor Castle in 1711. In her words, the racecourse was “ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch”. Today, Ascot stages 26 days of racing over the year, including 18 flat meetings between May and October and several important jump races during the winter months. A colossal total of more than £6.58 million in prize money is up for grabs during Ascot week, making it the Britain's most valuable race meeting.
Interestingly, the origins of racing at Ascot started many miles from where it is today. The first meeting in September 11 August 1711, was open to any horse and there was a prize worth 100 guineas for the victor of the seven English hunters. The nature of the race itself was also extremely different from seeing the speedy thoroughbreds we now come to expect. Instead, the race focused on stamina; each horse was required to carry a weight of 12 stone, whilst the track consisted of three four mile heats - roughly the length of the Grand National course today. However, with the Queen Anne Enclosure named in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Anne’s contribution to the world of racing certainly hasn’t gone unrecognised, and today the opening of Royal Ascot is marked by the traditional Queen Anne Stakes.
For many, the pinnacle of Ascot week is the Gold Cup, which saw the Queen triumph with her horse ‘Estimate’ in 2013 and takes place on ‘Ladies Day’ - the third and traditionally busiest day of the week. Other highlights during the week include the Queen Anne Stakes, King's Stand Stakes and the St James’ Stakes on Tuesday, the 1862 Founded Prince of Wales Stakes on Wednesday, the Coronation Stakes and Commonwealth Cup on Friday and the closing Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday.
Ascot is also home to many nearby attractions including Thorpe Park, Legoland and Windsor Castle. For the golf lover, a host of prestigious courses are also close - these include Sunningdale, Wentworth, Royal Berkshire, Swinley Forest and The Royal Ascot Golf Club.