Royal Ascot Race Meeting
Ascot Racecourse hosts one of the world's premier flat events annually during June. The local population swells with crowds of 150,000+ attending the 5 day event.
Ladies Day is by far the busiest and is a top draw for celebrities and fashionistas from around the globe. The attandance of the Queen of England further enhances the prestige of the occasion. The race meeting provides the local economy with a wealth of opportunity to make money. Growing up on the doorstep of such a venure provided many hours of fun when younger. We used to charge for lifts down the station hill path to "merry" racegoers using our push bikes as the taxi! We often fell foul of the gypsy heather sellers though as they felt they had missed an opportunity to make some money!!
Also have fond memories of the card sharks, pick the ace for a tenner..!
If you get the chance too, go! It's one of the best events of the UK summer.
What to wear at Ascot.
Here are a few suggestions from the punters about what to wear.
Hats are very popular, but not compulsory for ladies.
Gents do not have to wear a morning suit & top-hat, but it's a popular look. Jacket/suit, shirt & tie is equally acceptable. Toilets & first-aiders are at the venue. The 1995 pictures were taken with a Sigma 35mm compact camera & Kodak Ektar 100-3 film.
The big day out!
The Royal Ascot race meeting takes place every June over 5 days. Starts Tuesday - finishes Saturday. Its called "Royal" because its the Queen's meeting and every day she does a royal parade along the front of the stands in an open horse drawn carriage. Its at 2pm - don't miss it!
The meeting is what the English call a "society" event - all the great and the good want to be there, as do all the wannabees. If you are in the Royal Enclosure (sounds very exclusive, but there are thousands in there) men must wear "morning dress" - top hat and tails. Women must dress up too (high heels and hats but no boobs hanging out).
In racing terms, you will see top horses from all over the world from leading trainers and owners, with top jockeys on the back.
The facility is only a couple of years old (the old buildings having been replaced) so it is almost brand new - escalators to get to the top levels etc. The parade ring offers great close up access. The day we were there it was a record 70k+ crowd - good for atmosphere but it made everything too busy whether is was bars, food outlets, the walking areas, the betting places or the course viewing areas.
We managed 2 winners in 6 races, so it was fun. We got to see the Queen and Royal Family as well as Margaret Thatcher. It was £60 each for an adult in the general admission enclosure, which gives good access (parade ring, but not the finishing line) with my 14 y/o getting in free. That meant I had to wear a suit, but not fancy dress (oops, sorry, I meant morning dress). Car parking was £15. Like many others we had a picnic in the car park before the racing started, so we didn't try any of the racecourse catering. Probably very expensive (which I don't mind on the right occasion) but I draw the line at standing in a long queue for something very expensive!
All in all, a tremendous experience. An umbrella (it may be June, but its British weather).
A change of shoes for women (all day in high heels seems to be tricky for them - you do a lot of walking)
A picnic (food outlets are very busy).
Lots of money - betting required!
We had only one reason for visiting Ascot - the Royal Ascot horse race meeting in June 2008. We didn't see anything of the town itself, but I suspect there is no other reason to go.
I'm not a fanatical horse racing person, and I never bet unless I'm at a meeting, but I love lots of things about it. Being outdoors all afternoon, the animals, the fun of trying to pick a winner, having "action" all afternoon (say 6 races in 3 hours), the thrill of a close finish, and the (occasional) buzz of "my" horse winning!
Have a look at my "sports" tips etc for more details of the racing itself. In a sense it was the trip of a lifetime - 70,000 people (including the Queen), picking 2 winners, the sense of occasion... I never intended it to be more than a "one off" to experience a big race meeting at a big venue.
However, sitting here writing this and thinking back, next year seems quite tempting!
We stayed in Woking and went for a few hours of sightseeing in Windsor so I've added those tips to this Ascot page rather than doing individual home pages for them.
Reminds me of my question about what qualifies you to write a home page about a place. We only had 3 hours in Windsor, one of which was taken up by lunch. Can I do a home page on that basis?
If so, I'd be able to do one for Karachi by dint of having spent 3 hours at the airport... Hmmm...
ROYAL ASCOT - A DAY AT THE RACES
"the countries best display of fancy head-gear :)"
The centrepiece of Ascot’s year, Royal Ascot is the world’s most famous race meeting, steeped in history dating back to 1711.
In October 2005, Ascot Racecourse confirmed that the Royal Meeting would return to its Berkshire home in 2006. The Royal Meeting will run from Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th June 2006. The official opening of the racecourse will take place on the first day of the Royal Meeting.
The new Grandstand offers a wealth of premier hospitality facilities and fine dining packages including the Parade Ring Restaurant (promised to be the finest restaurant of any racecourse or stadium in the world) and the Panoramic Restaurant, situated on the Level 6 with spectacular views of both the track and Windsor Forest, with the finest quality produce freshly prepared and catered by Ascot Hospitality’s award winning team.
For full details of hospitality packages please on the Royal Ascot Hospitality button on the left or for further enquiries, please call 0870 727 4321.
The current plan is for Her Majesty The Queen to officially open the new racecourse on Tuesday 20th June at about 1.45pm in the Parade Ring. We advise you to arrive and have lunch early to view this unique occasion.
Royal Ascot is an internationally renowned sporting and social occasion, where tradition, pageantry and style all meet in a glorious setting – against the spectacular backdrop of top class thoroughbreds and world famous jockeys competing for some of the highest accolades in horseracing.
The quality of the horseracing is simply outstanding, with over £3 million in prize money and a total of sixteen Group races on offer, including at least one Group One event on each of the five days.
The action on the track is matched only by the fashions on display, with a colourful array of outfits and hats creating one of the most sophisticated and elegant events in the summer calendar.
Over 300,000 people make the annual visit to Berkshire during Royal Ascot week, making this is Europe’s most popular race meeting. We look forward to welcoming you to Ascot to celebrate the start of a new era.
Horses, Hats and High Heels
Ascot Racecourse is delighted to announce that Royal Ascot will return to its Berkshire home in 2006. The Royal Meeting will run from Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th June 2006. The official opening will take place on the first day of the Royal Meeting. The current plan is for Her Majesty The Queen to officially open the new racecourse on Tuesday 20th June at about 1.45pm in the Parade Ring. We advise you to arrive and have lunch early to view this unique occasion.
... a spot of histroy now ...
Ascot was the centre of an important Bronze Age cemetery consisting of a number of Round Barrows. Unfortunately, these have almost all been flattened and built upon. Only one survives, in the middle of the Heatherwood Hospital complex. An old story tells how they were the home of the mythical ‘Side-hill Winder’. This bovine creature had two legs shorter than the others, so it could only live on the side of hills or burial mounds. If you wanted to catch one, you just had to chase it onto level ground where it would fall over!
The name Ascot is Saxon and derives from ‘East Cote,’ the Eastern Cottage, probably a reference to being east of the Royal estate at Easthampstead (alias Yethampstead). Some have suggested that it was the original of Sir Thomas Malory’s ‘Astolat’ where, just prior to this period, Sir Lancelot (of King Arthur fame) had stayed with the loyal Sir Bernard and slept with his lovesick daughter, Elaine the White.
Ascot was always the western portion of Sunninghill parish and, for most of its history, largely consisted of dangerous heathland frequented by Highwaymen. John Walsh of Warfield Park is recorded to have shot such a villain of the road whilst crossing Ascot Heath and thought nothing more of it than shooting crows!
Queen Anne liked nothing better than to hunt in Windsor Forest and it was in the early 18th century that she discovered for herself this open heathland which she thought an ideal place, not five miles from Windsor, for "horses to gallop at full stretch". She founded the famous race-course there in 1711 when the first meet competed for Her Majesty’s Plate (worth 100 guineas). The seven runners were sturdy English hunters which had to hold up through three heats, each four miles long! The popularity of Ascot Races died off in later years, but was revived by the Duke of Cumberland in the 1760s. He was Ranger of Windsor Forest, lived at Cumberland Lodge and had his own stud at Cranbourne. Hence his interest in racing. His nephew, King George III, was also a great patron and, in the 1790s, set up the first Royal Stand (which became known as the Royal Enclosure in 1845). The King, however, fell out with the people of Sunninghill parish for building his Kennels on the common land at Ascot Heath. In 1813, the whole area was lost to Royal hands in the Windsor Forest Enclosure Act. Being so popular, the racecourse was made a permanent feature of the landscape for all the public to enjoy.