Epsom Ladies DayFeatured Event
The opening day of the Epsom Derby Festival, Epsom Ladies’ Day celebrates the fillies with the Group 1 Classic The Oaks on the track and the annual Style Award competition, offering a plethora of superb prizes off the track.
Epsom Derby DayFeatured Event
One of the greatest race days and social occasions of the British summer calendar. From the carnival atmosphere and picnics on the Hill, to top hat and tails in the Queen’s Stand and upbeat musical entertainment, topped off by an epic after-party on the Hyperion Lawn in the Grandstand, Epsom Derby Day delivers a truly quintessentially British experience.
Amongst the seven races is the Supreme Test of the Racehorse, The Derby. The one everyone wants to win, with a prize pot of £1.5 million.
Where to be for the best views
On all racedays excluding the Derby Festival the stands are open as one enclosure allowing racegoers free movement between both the Queen's Stand and the Grandstand.
The Lonsdale Enclosure in the centre of the course is also open on these days but please note there is no access to the Parade Ring, the stands or the concessions in this enclosure.
For Derby Day
The Queens Stand
One of the most impressive stands in British racing, the Queen’s Stand is at the heart of the action. The Queen’s Stand is on the finishing line and above the weighing room with prime viewing of the Winner’s Circle. You can access the Parade Ring and follow horses all the way to the track before taking up a spot to watch the race on the steppings or the Queen’s Stand Lawn. Ticket holders can also access the Duchess’s Stand giving you additional access to bookmakers’ as well main public betting hall and Derby Village.
The superb Grandstand, where the Duchess's Stand is located, provides an excellent relaxed atmosphere to view the racing from the bookmakers’ ring and extensive steppings to take in all the action. There are also a number of reserved seats for the Derby Festival which you can book with your admission ticket for the day and this will guarantee you a seat for the day. The Grandstand gives you additional access to the Paddock and Bookmakers’ facilities.
The Lonsdale Enclosure
One of the iconic images of the Derby Festival is the famous open top buses that line the closing yards of the track to the finish. Opposite the main stands, the Lonsdale Enclosure is the grass enclosure where you can get right up to the rails and see the horses thunder past. This is a very popular enclosure as you’re right in front of all the action. Food and drink for own consumption can be taken into this area.
The Upper Tattenham Enclosure
This is one of the fastest growing enclosures. With a trackside view all the way down to the pivotal Tattenham Corner, betting facilities and the opportunity see the event unfolding in front of you, it represents excellent value. Food and drink for own consumption can be brought into this area.
The Hillside Enclosure is a relatively new enclosure designed to provide families with the opportunity to enjoy the renowned atmosphere of the Downs in a safe, family friendly environment. With access to exclusive toilet facilities, bars, betting facilities, picnic tables, catering units serving a variety of options and a big screen to watch the racing, this is a fabulous way for adults and children alike to experience one of Britain's biggest days out in a comfortable, family environment. Plus, there is a host of complimentary entertainment to keep the kids occupied and exercised throughout the day. Food and drink for own consumption can also be brought into this enclosure at no cost.
How to find us
Epsom Station is connected by both South West Trains and Southern Trains. Connections from London Waterloo & London Victoria. Take a 10 minute taxi or bus ride from the station. Please note that during The Derby Festival a shuttle bus service runs from Epsom station.
Tattenham Corner Station is approximately 1/2 mile walk to the racecourse while Epsom Downs Station is Approximately 1 mile walk to the racecourse.
It is advised that you plan your journey using Transport for London or National Rail.
Metrobus operates a 460, 480 and 406F service which runs from Epsom Town Centre to Tattenham Corner Station. It is an easy way to reach the racecourse in just 3 stops.
The racecourse is just a few minutes from Epsom Town Centre on the B290 Epsom Downs Road or alternatively just off junction 9 of the M25. During the racing season, AA signs will mark all major approach routes. If you are using satellite navigation, please key in the postcode: KT18 5LQ.
Alternatively, you can use the AA Route Planner and select KT18 5LQ as destination.
There is plenty of on-site car parking available for all conferences and events held at Epsom Downs Racecourse.
During racedays car parking is available at various car parks on-site.
Car parks are clearly signed with prices from £6.
What to wear
General raceday dress code is as follow. This dress code is applicable on all racedays except both days of the Derby Festival.
All race meetings (including music nights), excluding the Derby Festival, have the Queen's Stand and Duchess's Stand open as one area that racegoers can freely move between.
The Stands Dress Code
Smart shorts, smart denim jeans (no rips), and trainers are acceptable, but no sleeveless vests or bare tops.
Hospitality Dress Code
Smart casual dress code is required. Jackets, trousers and a collared shirt are encouraged.
The dress code for The Derby can be found through this link http://epsom.thejockeyclub.co.uk/plan-your-race-day/visitor-information/directions-parking/dress-codes/dress-code-Derby-Festival
Epsom Downs is the home of the derby, the greatest flat race on earth.
Steeped in history and tradition, Epsom Downs is just 17 miles from central London, so hotel accommodation for visitors is plentiful both in and out of the capital.
British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli called to mind part of the insignia of the Order Of The Garter when describing the Epsom Derby as the ‘blue ribbon’ of the turf.
The rising ground at the beginning, the sharp bend at Tattenham Corner, followed by the steep descent of 40 feet in 300 yards makes the Epsom Derby a true test of the thoroughbred and a jockey. Lester Piggott was a legend round the track, winning his first Derby in 1954 on the appropriately named Never Say Die.
Although horseracing was banned under the Commonwealth (1649-60), upon its demise, the first recorded race meeting in the country took place at Epsom on 7 March 1661, in the presence of Charles II. Throughout the fluctuating fortunes in the town, race meetings on the downs became a regular feature from 1730, with prizes of cups and plates provided by the local nobility.
The Foundation of the Derby and Oaks
Its status as the world’s leading middle distance race for three-year-old colts has stood the test of time since the inaugural running in 1780, after the 12th Earl of Derby won a coin toss with Sir Charles Bunbury to name the race.
The two aristocrats wanted a companion for the Oaks – named after Lord Derby’s hunting lodge – that was run for the first time in 1779 when the Earl of Derby’s filly Bridget won the race.
At the Epsom May Meeting in 1778, Lord Derby invited a party of friends to his house, The Oaks, where it was proposed, that a single race over one and a half miles for three-year-old fillies would add some spice to the meeting the following year. The race, named after Lord Derby’s house, was first run on 14 May 1779, and was appropriately, won by Lord Derby’s Bridget, the well-backed favourite. The race was considered a great success and as a result, another new race for both colts and fillies was planned for the following year.
Legend has it that the 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury (the leading figure in the Jockey Club, who was staying at The Oaks) spun a coin as to whether the race should be called the Derby or, the Bunbury Stakes. The first running of the Derby Stakes was over a mile and although Lord Derby won the toss of the coin, it was Sir Charles Bunbury who owned the first winner – Diomed.
The current Derby course was first used in 1872 after complaints that the 1-in-18 gradient of the first 500 yards of the new 1848 course disproportionately influenced results.
The Prince’s Stand
The Stand dates in its present form from 1879, when the original Regency stand, built in 1784, was altered and enlarged. Used by the Prince of Wales, later King George IV, it housed the royal party celebrations when the Prince won the Derby with Sir Thomas in 1788. Up until 1829, it was the only permanent building on the Downs, although by 1831, when the Princess Victoria visited Epsom, it was struggling to keep the royal entourage comfortably ensconced.
In 1940, soon after the outbreak of war, racing at Epsom was abandoned for the duration and given over to the military; the Prince’s Stand was then commandeered as the Officers Mess. In 1979, as part of the celebrations for Derby 200, the Prince’s Stand was extensively refurbished and its continued use links together more than 22 decades of history.
The Great Metropolitan and City and Suburban Handicaps
Now run at the one-day, Spring Meeting, were the very first two races to be sponsored. With the Epsom management struggling to put up enough prize money, Samuel Beeton, a publican in Milk Street, opened a subscription for the first handicap and then, persuaded his fellow publicans in Fleet Street to follow suit.
At that time, many London pubs served both as betting shops and ale-houses. “The Great Met,” as it became known, was first run in 1846, and run over 2m 2f, until 1985, when changed to 1m 4f. The City and Suburban, run over 1m 2f, followed in 1851, with subscriptions raised from pubs in the City of London, stretching out to the suburbs – hence its name. Incidentally, the first occasion the photo-finish camera was used in Great Britain, was at Epsom, on 22 April 1947, to determine the placings for The Great Metropolitan Handicap.
Modern day Epsom
Epsom racecourse has moved into the 21st century with a succession of notable improvements. The Queen's Stand was opened by Her Majesty in 1992 (Derby won by Dr Devious), with the use of a new paddock behind the stands. In 1993 (Derby winner Commander-in-Chief), the first large screen was erected in the home straight; full colour racecards appeared in 1995 and most recently, the Duchess's Stand was opened by The Duchess of Cornwall in 2009 (Oaks winner Sariska). A year later, the 120 bedroom hotel, Holiday Inn Express, opened on the site of the old paddock, bringing the convenience of an overnight stay.
Meanwhile, after racing, an enterprising management has given Epsom Downs a series of top quality pop concerts, including, Boyzone and James Blunt as well as Blondie, who entertained a crowd of 13,000 on a warm July evening. Another summer highlight is the now traditional August Bank Holiday Family Fun Day which follows on from the Epsom Training Yards open day the day before.