Big wins for glamour and betting
The Royal Ascot is a five-day horse racing festival held at Ascot Racecourse in West Berkshire, a 50-minute train ride from London. The sporting event of the year on the London calendar, Royal Ascot is where top-notch horse racing and world-class fashion collide. Founded by Queen Anne in 1711, Royal Ascot is also steeped in tradition and includes a horse-drawn procession from Windsor Castle to the racecourse led by the royal carriage and usually with the Queen at the helm. Her Majesty is never the only royal in attendance - regulars like Zara Phillips to one-offs like Prince Harry are also in the crowd (ahem, Royal Private Box).
In terms of the horse racing itself, the Golden Jubilee Stakes and Gold Cup are definite highlights, with prize money in the millions of pounds overall. A typical day for the average punter could look a little something like this – start with a buffet lunch and alcoholic beverage and rub shoulders with the rich and famous before watching the royals arrive with their guests of honour at the New Mile. After that, there’s plenty of time to place a bet or two before the racing starts at 2:30pm. With the last race finishing before 6pm, that leaves you plenty of time to embrace the atmosphere of the day and keep the party pumping somewhere in London.
When is it?
Tips and tricks
Royal Ascot is very popular and it’s a good idea to book your tickets, accommodation and transfers – or a tour that includes these things – well in advance.
Royal Ascot is old-school and follows a dress code - think dress, heels and a hat for the ladies, and tails and top hats for the gents.
While private cars, helicopters and coach services are all great options for getting to and from Ascot Racecourse, the South West Train has convenient and regular services to Ascot from Reading and Waterloo.
Plan your day to avoid missing out on anything – gates to Royal Ascot open at 10:30am, with the Royal Procession at 2pm and races from 2:30pm to 5:35pm. Bands and other entertainment usually end around 7pm. There’s also free wi-fi throughout the day.
Picnics are allowed in the Silver Ring if they are brought in a hamper or cool bag/box. The closest views are from the Grandstand, while the Royal Enclosure is for members only.
There’s no re-entry to the enclosures throughout the day, so don’t leave if you want to come back!