AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO ROYAL ASCOT
Europe’s best-attended race meeting, Royal Ascot, is an event often reputable for being the highest class of British sophistication. It features as the racing season’s social apex, and attracts over 300,000 visitors during the week event. Not only is Ascot strongly linked to the specific dress-code and spectacular hats that is often largely covered in the media, it also commits to its long standing etiquette rules, which date back to the early 18th century. To assist you in creating a spectacular day out we bring you our insider’s guide on how to get the most out of your day at the Royal Ascot
WHEN TO ARRIVE
Ignore the torn-mantra of ‘fashionably late’, at Ascot it’s good to get in early. The gates open at 10:30am so get in amongst the hubbub as soon as possible to have plenty of time to explore the Grandstand facilities and surrounding lawns. If you can’t make it to the opening time, then we suggest you try to arrive before midday to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty the Queen’s arrival, and not to miss any of the racing action.
WHERE AND HOW TO PICNIC
Looking to be typically British, with the inclusion of a picnic, then we suggest beating the morning traffic and heading to Car Park 1; backstreet rumours have it as the smartest place to host your luxury picnic, and it’s only a furlong from the winning post. The Silver Ring and Health Enclosure allows you to bring in blankets and fold away chairs. If you are bringing a picnic, it is the etiquette to bring it in a hamper or cool bag/box, and at the time of your first entry. Be wary on a re-entry ticket, food or drinks will not be allowed in.
If you’re not into articulating your own picnic, then they can be pre-ordered or bought on the day. How extravagant you want the picnic to be is up to you, from laid out tea-towel blankets to white tablecloths and butlers – it’s completely up to you.
Knowing who’s racing when is vital to getting the most out of your day at Ascot. We recommend getting your hands on the Royal Ascot bible, the race card, which gives you the times of each race, the runners and riders, and also includes maps, offers and other useful information. The best flat races are ranked in groups; group 1 as the best, down to group 4. Below group 4 there are all sorts of races with varying conditions, including some very high profile and high value handicaps of significant historical importance.
WHERE’S THE BEST TO WATCH
Consider getting an up and close view of the horses at the Pre-Parade Ring, where you’ll see them getting saddled up and led around before each race. It’s a great chance to see the muscle definition and power behind the animals, plus a picture perfect opportunity for the more active photographers. If you miss that, then the next opportunity to get close to the horses is at the Parade Ring, which is initially meant for people to observe the horses before placing their bet – it’s a great place to crack an excellent view. When the race commences, locating yourself by the rails will get you as close to the action as you can imagine. It’s perfect for the racegoers who want to become completely soaked in the atmosphere. If you stick around for the end we suggest getting yourself down to The Winners Enclosure to get involved with the celebrations.
WHERE TO GO FOR ENTERTAINMENT
If you’re looking for something a little different to the racing then Royal Ascot boasts a wealth of different events and activities around the ground. With a variety of restaurants near the track that offer high quality fine dining experiences, it’s where sophistication meets camaraderie and creates something special. The Royal Ascot Village is an addition to the many restaurants and suites available for the Royal Ascot week, offering good views and hospitality at affordable prices on all days.
The occasion of Ascot merits excitement and vivacity, but like the finest jockeys on the course, keep it well reined and be sure to maintain your manners and sense. It is the sophistication of Ascot which makes it such a special event – uphold the tradition, gentlemen.