Lovely Canal, but the major thing are the racing and the gambling, but not much to do. Order a Chinese Takeway, going to an Italian or Indian Restaurant, the Bingo,working, watching the geese at the canal, going to the pub where ever.
Through the center of the town and beyond in both directions flows the Kennett-Avon canal.
Its great to sit and relax in a bar and see a barge go by.............
But doing it is better. You can hire barges for the day at around £100 and you can get up to ten people on them depending on the size so it ends up very cheap.
All you need then is booze and food.
Your barge company should give you an easy lesson before departure. They boats are very easy to drive but you cant be too quick to overcompensate when you start to drift off in one direction!
Very fun day with a glass of Pimms watching the world go by and you get to go out and explore while waiting to go through the locks.
Go on - have a flutter.
Best thing was watching my mother winning £200! Her face went through the whole range of emotions watching the horse come in.
My son thought the big TV screen was good - you could see the car with the flashing light.
Anyway, fine way to while away an afternoon (and a sum of money).
Pretty canal barges - lots of swans - nice photo opportunities around canal and locks.
Can walk from Reading along canal path. Walking to Reading might be rather more fun as Newbury is less exciting than Reading, and I prefer walks ending in pubs, tea-rooms or shops!
Officially the Totalisator Board, affectionately "Nanny" or "the old nanny goat", the State betting operation is an alternative to the bookies. Instead of betting at fixed odds, you buy a share in the pool, which is then distributed to winners after a slice has been taken off. The dividends are not related to bookmakers' odds but to the total amount staked. All profits from the Tote go back into racing. The clerks are known as the "Ladies in Red" for their scarlet uniforms.
Nanny is sometimes looked down on, but she can sometimes deliver a bargain. Besides, she can offer bets not available from fixed-odds bookies. Here you can bet on a place alone, or an Exacta (first two horses in the right order), or a Trifecta (first, second and third in the right order). There are also a variety of combination bets you can make, notably the Placepot (six placed horses in the same meeting) and Jackpot (six winners, selected races and meetings only)
Not to be confused with the related Tote Bookmakers, who have a presence acting as off-course bookmakers at Newbury and other larger courses. Here you can bet on meetings elsewhere, and also place combination and accumulator bets.
You can just stand by the rails and watch the races if you want, but if you do you'll miss a lot.
Before each race the horses are paraded before spectators by the stable lad or stable girl who looks after them. This is where you can get a good look at the horses and see how skittish they are or how well-prepared for the race. If you know what you are looking for then there are hints to how the horse will perform.
The horse in the picture was called Denada - well named as he finished fourth of four finishers in his race!
Although the traditional manual boards still dominate, with the odds being changed with a marker pen and a wipe of the bookie's sleeve, an increasing number are moving towards electronic boards driven by a keyboard.
I mention this by way of a warning to photographers - you'll be using fast film at the course, but taking pictures of these boards means a slow shutter speed to adjust for the refreshing of the electronic characters!
When you've decided which horse to back, and you've looked around the bookies for the one whose odds and honest look you fancy the most, just go up to him, give the number (not the name) of your horse, your stake and whether "win" or "each way". He will take your money and give you a receipt with the details of your bet. Hold on to this, and remember which bookie because it can be hard to find them again in the huddle of stands.
As well as the names and numbers of horses and their odds, the bookie's board should tell you the minimun stake he (almoat always he) will accept, the minimum stake (usually either GBP 2.00 or GBP 5.00), and the maximum guaranteed payout (he's not going to want to carry all that much cash about even in those secure satchels!).
When your horse romps home and you return to collect your winnings, hand over your receipt and he will pay up. He should not have "welshed" of course - left the course with the stake money before the punters can collect!
Unless you're an owner (and nobody so vulgar as a bookie is permitted inside the Members Enclosure), the principal business of race day is transacted with the bookies.
They set up their stalls in the public enclosure and you walk round, comparing odds and watching the movement of the market - often a telling sign of a good or bad bet.
As I said, bookies are not permitted to trade in the Members Enclosure, though Members and Owners still like a bet. Along the railings dividing the members from the public you'll see bookies' stands facing across the fence - these specially licenced traders are known as 'Rails Bookmakers'.
A walk along the Kennet & Avon Canal is worth a trip, for local wildlife and landscapes of southern England at its best.