What’s the fuss around horse racing?
Have you heard your friends talking about how much fun they had at the races? Maybe you saw some photos pop up of people dressed in their best, beer in hand enjoying one of last year’s big meets? Whether you’ve been before or not, experiencing horse racing at Newmarket is a guaranteed great day out.
Newmarket races is a prime example of what horse racing has to offer everyone. Whether you’re completely new to one of the oldest and grandest sports in the world, or a seasoned horse racing enthusiast, the racecourse at Newmarket is not a venue you’ll want to miss out on.
Situated in the beautiful Suffolk countryside, Newmarket Racecourse is regarded as the home of flat racing and is an epicentre of British horse racing steeped in tradition. The course can trace its roots back as far as 1622 when the first horse race on the site took place. Lord Sailsbury and Marquess of Buckingham had a £100 wager between them and a few years later, Newmarket racecourse was born. Fast forward 400 years and horse racing has become the second largest spectator sport in the country, with Newmarket playing host to regular meets attracting punters in their tens of thousands!
A day here at Newmarket races covers so much more than just the racing itself. The selection of bars and eateries is first class, meaning the drinks can start to flow the moment you arrive and there is always a burger on hand should you need it. The festival-like atmosphere on race days, the sight and sound of the bustling crowds and the roar as the first race gets underway is what really turns any first-timers into regular race-goers.
How will your day shape up?
From the moment you arrive, there are experiences to be had. It’s fascinating watching the horses get saddled up in the pre-parade ring – there is a real art to the process. It often takes years of relationship building before a horse will be calm enough to saddle yet still able to race competitively.
If you really want the full race day experience then head down to the parade to get a good look at all the horses before you back them at the bookies. Here’s a top tip for you; Keep a keen eye on their eyes and their size. For flat racing, a leaner horse with a determined look in their eye is best.
Got your drinks and picked your horses for the next race? Then it might be time to place your bets! At the bookies you’ll be able to place bets on horses you like the look of, or back any last-minute tips you’ve been given. At Newmarket races, there are betting shops everywhere. Just find your nearest one, check the odds and place your bet – let’s hope you’ve picked a winner!
When your bets are placed and your drinks are full you’re ready for the main event. Head to the spectator’s area where the frenzied crowd will let you know the race is underway. If you can, try to get as close to the track as possible, there’s no other sound in sport quite like the stampede of hooves during a race.
After the race is over, the winners are paraded in the winner’s circle. Head on over to cheer the winners in, cash in your bets, & brag to all your friends about your ‘natural talent’ for picking horses.
The rush of backing a winner really adds to the excitement of the day. Even if it wasn’t you this time, there are plenty of races left for your luck to come in. If you decide betting isn’t for you then not to worry, a lot of people are just there to enjoy the atmosphere and the sport. Plus, you’ve got the aprés racing to look forward to later.
Aprés racing and Newmarket Nights
The evenings at Newmarket are often just as entertaining and anticipated as the racing itself.
After the excitement of the racing has finished for the day you may have the option of staying behind at the course for a few hours of entertainment. If you attend one of our feature events throughout the season there will be an official afterparty featuring great music, lots of dancing and plenty of drinking!
For those of you that really like to party, why not attend Newmarket Nights? These special meets begin and finish much later than their regular counterparts. Gates will open around 4 pm and you will be treated to a full racing schedule before enjoying an evening performance by some of the biggest names in music.
In summer 2021 you can expect to see The Script, Rick Astley, Bryan Ferry, Tom Jones and Olly Murs headlining. Get ahead of the crowds and book your tickets today.
Which is the right enclosure for our group?
When you purchase tickets for the day, you’ll have several enclosure options available. Now, if you’re familiar with a day at the races then this won’t be news to you, but for those newer to the racing world here, we’ll give a quick overview of what you can expect from each area.
The Premier Enclosure
If you want the full Newmarket races experience then look no further than the Premier Enclosure. With unrivalled views of the racing and access to everywhere from the pre-parade ring to the winner’s enclosure, you can track the journey of your chosen horses throughout their day.
You’ll not be short for choices of where to eat and drink either. From the famous Moët & Chandon champagne bar to the Bistro on the Rowley Mile, you’ll be able to drink and dine in style during your day.
Bear in mind that if you decide to go all out in the premier enclosure, you’ll be expected to dress up for the occasion.
The Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure
If you’re looking for a no-frills option, but still want as much of the race day experience and atmosphere as possible, then the Grandstand & Paddock could be for you. You’ll be guaranteed a fair view of the racing and access to the pre-parade ring, parade ring and winners enclosure too. The Grandstand is our most popular ticket type and provides punters with an array of bars and food stalls as well as more than enough opportunities to place your bets.
The Garden Enclosure
The Garden Enclosure is the perfect environment if you want to bring your family along for the day. With two children’s play areas, plenty of space for picnics, food and drink options and betting facilities, you can relax and enjoy your day away from the crowds.
If you plan on getting tickets to the Garden or Grandstand & Paddock enclosures the dress code is more relaxed, although who doesn’t like dressing up a little?
How to Get There
There are 2 racecourses at Newmarket, the Rowley Mile and the July course- your ticket will tell you which course your meet is held at.
From Cambridge you can get a direct train into Newmarket which only takes around 20 minutes.
If travelling from further afield, you’ll generally need to take a train into Cambridge, and then change onto the Cambridge-Newmarket line. The journey from London to Newmarket takes around 1hr 30 mins.
There’s a FREE shuttle bus service that runs from Newmarket Train Station and the High Street (outside Hughes electricals); you aren’t required to pre-book this service. The first shuttle starts two hours before the first race, and finishes at the first race. The shuttle bus back to the train station starts running 45 minutes before the last race. For Newmarket Nights, the shuttle bus back commences after the last race, and runs until the site is empty.
You could also get a taxi from outside the train station, this journey should take 5-10 minutes. On your return journey, we recommend you pre-book to avoid delays, the taxi rank is located outside the Premier Entrance on both Racecourses.
If you’re travelling from Cambridge, Royston, Bury St Edmunds or Ely then you could travel by the Outrider bus service. The bus will leave for the return journey 30 minutes after the last race has finished.
The bus picks up from outside Cambridge train station at the following times:
- QIPCO Guineas Festival: 12:30pm
- July Festival: 12:00pm
- Summer Saturdays: 12.30pm
- Newmarket Nights: 4:45pm (Return Journey is 30 minutes after the concert has finished)
- Summer Saturday Live: 12:30pm (Return Journey is 30 minutes after the concert has finished)
- Cambridgeshire meeting 24th, 25th,26th September:12.30pm
- Dubai Future Champions Festival: 12:30pm
Pre-order – £10.00 return, £6.00 one way.
For the Moët & Chandon July Festival 2019: Pre-order – £12.00 return, £8.00 one way
The bus picks up from outside Royston train station at the following times:
- Newmarket Nights: 4:30pm
- Summer Saturday Live: 12:15pm
Pre-order – £10 return, £6.00 one way
From Bury St Edmunds
The bus picks up from outside Bury St-Edmunds train station at the following times:
- QIPCO Guineas Festival: 12:30pm
- July Festival: 12:00pm
- Newmarket Nights: 4:45pm (Return journey commences 30 minutes after the concert)
- Summer Saturday Live: 12:30pm (Return journey commences 30 minutes after the concert)
Pre-order – £10.00 return, £6.00 one way.
The bus picks up from Market Street, Ely, also stopping at The Red Lion pub in Soham and Murfits Lane in Fordham
- QIPCO Guineas Festival: 12:30pm from Market Street, Ely. Return journey commences 30 minutes after the last race
- July Festival: 12:00pm from Market Street, Ely. Return journey commences 30 minutes after the last race
- Newmarket Nights: 4:45pm from Market Street, Ely. Return journey commences 30 minutes after the concert
- Summer Saturday Live: 12:30pm from Market Street, Ely. Return journey commences 30 minutes after the concert
Pre-order – £10.00 Return, £6.00 One Way
Travelling by Car
For the Rowley Mile racecourse, use the following postcode: CB8 0TF
For the July racecourse, use the following postcode: CB8 0XE
Where Can I Stay After?
If you’re looking to explore Newmarket a little more after the day’s racing is done, there are plenty of places to stay. Just make sure you get your booking in nice and early, availability around meets fills up fast.
- Squires at Bedford Lodge Hotel | 0800 6522991 | www.bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk
- Kings | 01638 660 668 | www.kingsnewmarket.co.uk
- The Packhorse | 01638 751 818 | www.thepackhorseinn.com
- The White Hart | 01638 663 051 | www.whitehartnewmarket.co.uk
The Rowley Mile course
The July course
Check out the rest of our horse racing tickets here!