One of the biggest horse racing events of the year, Royal Ascot is held at Ascot Racecourse, which is next to Windsor Great Park, in Berkshire. Horse racing takes place at Ascot Racecourse throughout the year. In particular, Royal Ascot takes place in June, usually lasting between a Tuesday to a Saturday.
Royal Ascot is the horseracing event of the summer, with royals, celebrities, and civilians alike dressing in their best. The day is about betting, eating, and drinking in the sun, so long as the British weather allows it.
What is Royal Ascot?
Nothing will make you feel more British than Royal Ascot. Dressing like you’re off to a wedding, watching the Royal Procession, as the Royal Family journey around the track in their horse-drawn carriage.
When most Brits think of Royal Ascot, Ladies' Day is likely what comes to mind. The name is a little misleading though, as all are welcome.
You can watch the horse racing from one of four different enclosures that surround the track. Each one offers a different experience and a different level of formality. Different enclosures come with different ticket price points and there are different dress codes too.
Tickets to The Royal Enclosure are strictly by invitation only. The next ‘poshest’ enclosure is the Queen Anne Enclosure, where women must wear a hat or fascinator, and men a tie, collared shirt and full-length suit. While optional, they often wear a top hat.
While this comes with a touch of prestige, guests might regret not choosing a more casual enclosure on a hot day.
If you simply want to soak up the experience wearing a nice summer dress or a more casual shirt, the Windsor or Village Enclosures are the place to be. Better yet, the Windsor enclosure is the only one that lets you bring in a picnic and your own drinks.
Where is Ascot Racecourse?
The Ascot Racecourse is 25 miles west of London and less than an hour by road or rail. While you’re there you can also sneak in a visit to Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle is only six miles from the racecourse and is the world’s oldest, and largest, occupied castle. St. George Chapel is in the grounds of Windsor Castle and is the final resting place of Queen Elizabeth 2nd, as well as 10 other former British monarchs. The chapel is open to visitors.
You’d be advised to look out for offers from Ascot Racecourse. Raceday tickets are often booked far in advance, particularly for Royal Ascot.
Travelling to Ascot by train
Getting the train to Ascot makes life much easier on race days.
Aside from fighting for a car park space, traffic often backs up for miles before the racecourse. It’s common to see people ditching their taxis and walking as they get closer. If you’re dressed in heels it’s far from ideal.
Trains run frequently and Ascot train station is just a seven-minute, flat walk from the station.
The closest major train station to Ascot is Reading, which is a 27-minute journey. Many come from London though.
Avanti West Cost runs regular trains into London from all major UK cities.
From London, direct trains to Ascot leave from London Waterloo and take approximately 50 minutes.
Closest train station to Ascot racecourse
Ascot station is only a seven-minute walk from the racecourse, which is good news for anyone wearing heels!
However, if you can’t face the walk, there’s a taxi rank outside the station. Traffic on race days is chaotic though, so even a slow walk may be far quicker.
The racecourse is well-signposted from the station and you’ll pass many pubs on the way. They will all welcome you in for a quick drink before you head to the racecourse.
The pubs get busy before and after the races and are a great place to soak up the atmosphere after a great day that you’re not quite ready to end.
Get to Ascot with Avanti
Save on your fares by booking your train tickets in advance with Avanti. Find the cheapest train tickets possible so you can save your money for the races.
You can also make the day as stress-free as possible by installing the Avanti West Coast app. This features Apple and Google Pay features, along with Seat Picker and Track My Train tools. Thanks to these, you can pay and travel your way with no stress or booking fees.