Of all the fun and exciting things to do in York, none are quite like a trip to the racecourse. This is a place that not only provides an opportunity to create lifelong memories with friends and family but is also a walk through history; after all, there have been races on this site for around three-hundred years.
While you’re virtually always guaranteed to have a memorable trip, there are some things you can do that’ll help to make it that little bit more special. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some essential tips that’ll make sure that you get the most from your trip.
Getting to York
A trip to the races is fun, but it’s also long, so it’s best if your journey to York is as smooth as possible; it’ll help to conserve your energy for the big day. If you have any say in the matter, then try to come the day (or even two days) beforehand. York’s central location within the UK means that’s easily reachable from most corners of the country. For the best experience, it’s recommended to travel via train into York Station, which is well-served with direct trains from most major cities in the UK.
Where to Stay
York Racecourse is conveniently located a little more than a mile from York City Centre, which means that you’ll have all the great hotels as options for your trip. You’ll find all the major high-end hotel chains within the city, as well as many boutique B&Bs, so you can get the room(s) that are right for your travelling party. It’s recommended that you book your accommodation as early as possible because the best hotels will book up pretty quickly. We have put a post together on hotels near York Racecourse.
Starting the Day Right
And now to the big day itself. While you’ll be itching to get to the racecourse and begin having fun, it’s worthwhile thinking about how you’re going to start the day. A day at the races is fun but long! While you might be tempted to enjoy all the fun that York has to offer, you’ll thank yourself if you get a good night’s rest the night before. In the morning, load up with a big breakfast, either at your hotel or at one of the many excellent breakfast spots around the city, such as Dyl’s or Betty’s.
What to Wear
A trip to York Racecourse is about more than watching the races. That might be the main point of the day, but it’s not the only one. This is a social occasion, after all! There isn’t a strict dress code for any part of the racecourse other than the County Stand (here, a jacket, collared shirt and tie are required). Still, just because you don’t have to wear your best clothes, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. This is an opportunity to dress to the nines, and really, how many opportunities do you get to do this? Make the most of the chance. If you’re looking for a general idea of what other people will be wearing, think: “you’re a guest at a wedding.” Wearing your best rags will get you into the spirit of the day, and also make your photos look fantastic.
Pre-Race Day Research
A trip to York Racecourse is fun whether you’re a horse racing expert or you’re a complete beginner; that’s part of the appeal of paying a visit. Still, it’s always a good idea to have an understanding of what’s going on. You’ll find that you and your friends enjoy the racing much more if you know which horses are hotly-tipped to do well, so whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned pro, spend some time reading expert horse racing tips before you visit. It’s also recommended to pick up a booklet that outlines what races will be happening, and at what time.
To the Racecourse
As we mentioned earlier, York Racecourse is little more than a mile from York city centre, which makes it especially easy to get to. If you want to get there as quickly as possible, then jump in a taxi. You won’t need to look very far to find one in the city centre. There’s also a shuttle bus that connects York Station to the Racecourse. They depart the Station regularly between 11 am and 1 pm on race days; they return from 4 pm onward. If it’s a sunny day, then consider walking: it only takes around 20 minutes or so, and is an ideal way to see some of the city at the same time!
Eating and Dining
You’ll be at the racecourse for many hours. At some point, you’ll be a little thirsty and hungry. York Racecourse has many, many options when it comes to quenching your thirst and eating well. You’ll find the majority of the restaurants and bars — including the high-end offerings — in the country stand. The Grandstand and Paddock also have an excellent selection of establishments that cater to people of all diets (vegan, wheat-free, etc.). The Clocktower Enclosure has a few dining and drinking spots, but this area is different in that you can take your own picnic in with you. If you’re there just for the racing and want to save some cash, then this is a good option.
Once The Races Have Finished
Alas, all good things must come to an end. At what time the races at York Racecourse end will depend on which day you’re visiting, but typically somewhere around 5:30 pm or so (the Friday night meets will be later). There’s sometimes entertainment after the races have finished, but if there’s not, then it’ll be time to head back into the city. There’s always a buzz in York on race days, and the city is more than capable of keeping the fun going. Reserve a spot at a restaurant in town, and follow it up with a trip to a trendy bar. It’ll be the perfect end to a perfect day.