Sport

A Beginner’s Guide To Royal Ascot

 

Elaborate is an understatement. Every year the finest amount of detail goes into planning the pinnacle of the United Kingdom’s Flat Horse Racing Season, the Royal Ascot. Hosted over five days, it is by far the richest race meeting in Britain and attracts jockeys, celebrities, and royalty from all across the world. It’s certainly not an affair that you simply “pitch up” to.

Paying your first visit to this annual event might come with some trepidation. You will be mingling with elite crowds and the buzz of excitement as bets are placed and prizes are won can be somewhat overwhelming. To help you be a tad more organised so that you can enjoy your memorable day out, we’ve put together a brief guide that will steer you in the right direction.

Where is it held?

Ascot Racecourse, situated in Ascot, Berkshire, is the home of this glamorous sporting event. With the nearest train station being as close a 10-minute walk away and motorways that are just a stone’s throw in distance, this popular field is conveniently located for those traveling from London or abroad.

How do you get tickets to Royal Ascot?

Tickets can be purchased from the official Royal Ascot website. Tickets for the Queen Anne Enclosure, the Windsor Enclosure, and the new Village Enclosure are available to anyone. To gain access to the Royal Enclosure, however, you will need to be sponsored by two longstanding members before you are approved for entry. Remember to book your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

What should one wear?

The dress code varies depending on the enclosure you have access to. The Royal Enclosure is more stringent when it comes to attire. Dresses worn by ladies need to be an appropriate length (hems should fall just above the knee line or lower) and its tradition to accessorize with an extravagant hat too. Men are also requested to wear more formal attire which includes a waistcoat and tie, black shoes, and a top hat to boot! The other enclosures tend to be more relaxed when it comes to the outfit you choose, although it’s best to stick to something modest and semi-formal (suit and tie for the gents).

What about betting?

If you are going to bet on the Ascot races, then it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The races are fast-paced and staying up to speed can be tricky. We suggest you plan your bets beforehand – mostly so that you don’t make any erratic decisions that you might later on regret. A little bit of research also goes a long way and you can have the advantage if you know which horses are the favourites and how certain conditions might alter things.

Will there be something to eat?

This, once again, depends on which area you have access to. The Village Enclosure, for instance, features many pop-up bars and food stalls where fine cuisine will be served. It’s quite a tradition, however, to pack a picnic lunch, especially if you are making a whole day out of your trip.

Will the royal family be there?

Yes. It’s an age-old tradition for a royal procession to take place each day of the event, usually at 2 pm sharp. The queen will be there along with other royal family members - all liveried in their best outfits and sporting their cheery grins.

Remember to bet on the colour of the queen’s hat! This is a newer tradition but is one appreciated by all of the guests.  

 



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