Royal Ascot is the world's most famous race meet. Highlights include the Queen’s parade and this year there will be some superstars of the racing world battling it out on the track.
What to expect at Royal Ascot
The gates at the event are open from 11am but many people arrive at Royal Ascot earlier to picnic in the carpark, with a bottle of bubbly. The opening of the meet is signalled by the Queen’s parade and crowds gather to watch her grand arrival. The first race starts shortly afterwards at the beginning of the afternoon. There is a different feature race each day and the racing is over by late afternoon. Lunch is available at any time and many people chose to enjoy a bite to eat during the early races. If you want to avoid the crowds at the end, we recommend leaving before the last race.
If you are doing some celeb spotting, keep an eye out for members of the Royal Family, including HM The Queen, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, as well as the likes of Liz Hurley and Gary Liniker. Top jockeys such as Ryan Moore will be racing the stars of the equine world.
Event hotspots and hospitality
The Royal Enclosure is the most prestigious area of the racecourse. Access to the Royal Enclosure is restricted and by invitation only. First-time applicants can apply to the Royal Enclosure Office and gain membership from someone who has attended the enclosure for at least four years. For existing badgeholders, an invitation is sent out every year by Her Majesty’s Representative to request badges. The colours of the badges vary each day for one-day applicants.
The Bollinger Bar within the Royal Enclosure attracts many high profile guests. Meanwhile, the Parade Ring is also among the places to be seen. Although access to this is strictly controlled and reserved for owners and trainers, the surrounding area can be accessed by all. Many people head to Brinkleys in Chelsea to continue the party afterwards.
We have a number of excellent hospitality packages available. The Fine Dining restaurants offer a wide-selection of options and there are several to enjoy. Of particular note is Panoramic in the Royal Enclosure. This is headed up by Raymond Blanc OBE and the sixth-floor restaurant has uninterrupted views overlooking the Winning Post. Meanwhile, the Queen Anne Enclosure is the award-winning, fifth-floor restaurant that also has a private outdoor terrace offering panoramic views of the racecourse.
Did you know
There are 18 Group races at Royal Ascot and eight of them are categorised in Group One, which is the best. The term ‘Group One‘ is used for the highest level of Thoroughbred and Standardbred stakes races in many countries. In the United States, Canada, Japan, South Africa, and British National Hunt racing, the term “Grade I” is used instead. It means the same thing and these races have the richest prize money and attract the best horses.
Many previous Ascot winners have become legends and include the finest thoroughbreds. Some of the best-known horses are Black Caviar, Frankel and Yeats. All of these Royal Ascot winners have turned into household names.
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The dress code is strict for the Royal Enclosure. Formal day dress is required and dresses must be a modest length (just above the knee). Straps should be one inch or greater. Extravagant hats are worn but the base of the headpiece needs to be at least 4 inches. Gentlemen must wear black or grey morning dress. The dress codes are more relaxed in other areas. The Queen Anne Enclosure and Village Enclosure permits suits for men rather than morning dress and formal day dress for ladies. No formal dress code applies for the Windsor Enclosure.
Ascot Racecourse, High Street, Ascot, SL5 7JX, UK
The train to Ascot Racecourse will bring you right in to the heart of the village and it is only a short distance to walk to the event. The traffic is always very heavy but many people do drive and some opt to fly via helicopter to the racecourse. View location.