An elegant day at the races: Ascot Racecourse, flat season and horses

Ascot racecourse is one of those venues that you must see, and do, if just once in your lifetime. And Ascot racecourse, Flat Season, is the time of year to take in the festivities, and all without a strict dress code.

Forget whether you like horse racing, visiting the venue, taking in the atmosphere and even seeing Ascot itself is a fun, and very elegant day out.

Spend a day at Ascot racecourse

Getting there

Ascot racecourse is located in the English county of Berkshire, and getting there is very straightforward. With some friends, we took the train from London Waterloo.

Top 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.

Once your travel’s been sorted however, the train ride’s a pleasant one. It takes around 1 hour 15 minutes from London Waterloo, or 1 hour from London Paddington. The nearest station is Ascot, and 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.

Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera
Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera

“…the scenery’s exquisite and a nice change from the concrete jungle of the city”

FOLLOWING THE RIVERA

Luxury experience in Vienna - Burggarten
Luxury experience in Vienna - Burggarten

Ascot racecourse, Flat Season – What does it mean?

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!

The Ascot website offers some stylish inspiration in case you’d like to know what to wear.

Ascot Racecourse, Flat Season – what to expect

Ascot racecourse always seems to have a plethora 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.

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:

Luxury experience in Vienna - Kunsthistorisches Museum

“From the dressing up, to the adrenaline rush of watching the races, it’s the perfect elegant day out.”

FOLLOWING THE RIVERA

  • 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.

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. 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!

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