An elegant day at the races during flat season
Ascot racecourse is one of those venues that you should visit, and do, if just once in your lifetime. And visiting during Flat Season is the ideal time of year. There’s the horse racing, plus other tons of fun activities to do, just without the strict dress code.
This event has nothing to do with whether or not you like, or agree with, horse racing. The atmosphere at Ascot during flat season is electric and something a little different. What’s more, it also gives you the chance to dress up and have an elegant day at the races.
What is the dress code at Ascot Flat Season dress code?
Flat Season begins 3 May and ends 22 October*, and relates to the dress code of the time of year. A big part of the whole Ascot experience is the dressing-up, and you’ll see both men and women elegantly turned out.
For areas such as the Queen Anne Enclosure, there’s no strict dress code for men or women, although they do encourage smart dress. For the King Edwards Enclosure, ladies do have to dress smartly and also wear hats. Men have to wear a jacket with a collared shirt and tie — and definitely no trainers!
Even if you’ve tickets for the King Edwards Enclosure, you’ll be denied entry if you haven’t followed the correct dress code. That said, get it right the first time and check what they permit before visiting.
We had tickets for the Queen Anne Enclosure. And as you can see from the photos, I kept it stylishly simple, matching a dress with ankle boots. My other friends also were in smart casual dress, and none of us wore a hat!
Ascot Racecourse, Flat Season – what to expect
Ascot racecourse always has a variety of events happening, so check to see if any of them take your fancy.
When we went, there was an international food festival taking place, as well as live cooking classes in a separate marquee.
On that note, food and drink are aplenty, and there’s a lot of choice to choose from. I went for the fully loaded chicken, pesto and veggie crepe, which was perfect to munch on while watching the races.
“…the scenery’s exquisite and a nice change from the concrete jungle of the city”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
A purchase that’s very good value is the Wine tasting card. For £6 (€8; $8), you can ‘taste’ 6 wines on the menu list. I use the quotation marks here, because the quantity’s far from that of a tasting! In fact, my friend and I only managed 1 sad glass each!
There are also plenty of stalls to buy Ascot souvenirs, or other edible goods if you’d like to take something back for loved ones.
Ascot Racecourse Flat Season – the races
Alongside the spectacle of the dressing-up, the main draw of Ascot is of course the horse racing. Though by no means a fan, and with zero knowledge of the sport, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the racing.
I’m a complete newbie to horse racing, and if you’d like to bet, I recommend buying tokens online. There are 2 reasons why I suggest this:
- The card token tickets are more aesthetically pleasing than the paper one they give you at the betting windows. This means nothing to betting, but everything for your social media and photographs!
- More importantly, by buying beforehand, you’re more likely to only use the tokens you bought online, and won’t be tempted to want to buy more on the day.
- I bought £10 tokens along with my ticket to Ascot, and used these on 4 races.
How do I reach Ascot Racecourse from London?
Ascot racecourse is located in the English county of Berkshire, and getting there from London is very straightforward. I took the train from London Waterloo to the nearest station, which is also called Ascot.
Insider tip: Always check the train status on the day of travel before heading out. We got delayed due to signal failures, engineering works etc. Very useful websites to check are TFL (Transport for London) and National Rail. As my friend rightly suggested, it may be cheaper to consider hiring a car for the day.
How long is the train journey?
Once your travel’s been sorted out, the train ride’s a pleasant one. It takes around 1 hour 15 minutes from London Waterloo, or 1 hour from London Paddington. It’s approximately a 12-minute walk to the venue. These times are all estimates, and depends on the day and time of travel.
Heading out of the city and into the country means you get some pretty views of rural Berkshire. Whether from the train, or on foot, the scenery’s exquisite and a nice change from the concrete jungle of the city.
Ascot Racecourse Flat Season – the experience
Overall, I loved every second of my Ascot Racecourse, Flat Season experience, and would recommend it to anyone. From the dressing up, to the adrenaline rush of watching the races, it’s the perfect elegant day out.
Ascot racecourse is also something of a quintessential English experience, but a venue where everybody’s welcome.
“From the dressing up, to the adrenaline rush of watching the races, it’s the perfect elegant day out.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
We went in early September, which is just about on the fringe on the last of the British summer. Saying this, do consider bringing an extra jacket as the climate can really drop as the evening arrives.
Have you ever been to Ascot? If not, would you like to go? Let me hear your thoughts below!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. Thank you for your support.
*Correct at the time of publishing. Please check the website for the dates before you plan your visit.
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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience; a demographic (late 20s onwards) that enjoys glamping over camping, staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels, sampling the local food and wine, cultural activities, and indulging in a spot of wellness on their travels. Read more here…