Where to get tickets, what to wear and how to watch it if you don't make it there. Agnes Stamp advises ...
This month, over 300,000 visitors will flock to Ascot racecourse to witness British flat racing at its finest as world class thoroughbreds compete for more than £6.6 million in prize money.
Over the course of five days, eighteen Group races are run including eight Group Ones (the highest class of race in the UK) and Thursday boasts the jewel in the crown – the coveted Gold Cup – the oldest and most prestigious race run over 2½ miles. It was famously – and joyously – won by The Queen’s filly Estimate in 2013.
When is Royal Ascot?
Royal Ascot takes place Tuesday 20th – Saturday 24th June 2017.
TUESDAY: Queen Anne Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes
WEDNESDAY: Prince of Wales Stakes
THURSDAY: Gold Cup
SATURDAY: Diamond Jubilee Stakes
Ascot Racecourse is situated in Berkshire, a stone’s throw from Windsor Great Park.
What should I wear?
For the ladies, Ascot’s own style guide video is essential viewing :
- Strapless dresses are absolutely verboten in the Royal Enclosure. Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
- However jumpsuits will be allowed in the Royal Enclosure for the first time this year.
- Wedges over high heels (unless you want to sink backwards into the grass).
- Dresses and skirts should be of modest length and fall just above the knee or longer.
- Hats should be worn; however a headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches or more is acceptable as an alternative.
For gentleman, we’ve got some style tips from Huntsman’s head cutters Campbell Carey and Dario Carnera:
- Always wear trousers that are worn with braces – there is nothing worse than the sight of a shirt peeking out from the bottom of your waistcoat.
- Silk braiding around the edges of your morning coat accentuate the sweeping lines of the traditional body coat.
- White collar and cuffs should always be worn with morning dress. You should have half an inch (not a quarter) of shirt at the cuff.
- Try and wear a top hat made from silk where possible.
- Lastly, in the words of Kingsman: Oxfords NOT Brogues.
How much are tickets?
Ticket prices start at £37. Hospitality packages can be bought from £269 per person – see Ascot’s own website for details.
The Queen Anne, Village and Windsor Enclosures have now sold out on Saturday 24th June, as has the Queen Anne Enclosure on Thursday 22nd June.
All is not lost if you would still like to come on one of the other days:
For racegoers still looking to come on Saturday there are a small number of Queen Anne Enclosure tickets that can be purchased as part of either a Furlong Club or Silks Lawn package.
The Furlong Club is an exclusive marquee with elevated views over the final Furlong from a private decking area. It has its own bar and restaurant serving tapas and sharing plates. Prices start from £191 including a Queen Anne Enclosure ticket. It has now sold out on Thursday 22nd June but has limited availability on other days.
Alternatively a Silks Lawn package allows access to the private Silks Lawn bar and viewing area on the Queen Anne Enclosure Lawns and is available for £146 per person.
If you would rather spend the day in the Village Enclosure consider the The Villiers Club within The Village – the entry level hospitality option which is located at the heart of the track next to the home straight offering live music, a private bar and canapés to be enjoyed throughout the day.
For racegoers still looking to come on Thursday why not try the Village Enclosure. The first new enclosure to open at the Royal Meeting in more than 100 years it promises a contemporary British summer scene featuring al fresco dining, live music and an excellent view of the racing from the inside of the track. Prices start from £67. Or if you’re looking for something a little bit special there is still also a chance to enjoy the Villers Club in the Village on this day.
For racegoers looking to come on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday there is remaining availability across all Enclosures at this point but booking is recommended as soon as possible. Tuesday is of course the opening day of the Royal Meeting and features three of the most anticipated races of the week.
What else should I look out for?
Beyond the racing, fashion and sumptuous food, Royal Ascot also has a wealth of art on display this year. Sculptures will be on display by Nic Fiddian Green, Philip Jackson, Hamish Mackie, Heather Jansch, Yong Ho Ji, Mark Coreth and Charles Elliott, and there will also be a hand-illustrated globe made by London globemakers Bellerby & Co.
Where can I get tickets?
Visit www.ascot.co.uk/Royal-Ascot to book. For membership to the Royal enclosure (sponsorship by two members of five years’ standing is still required), telephone 01344 878474 or visit www.ascot.co.uk/royalenclosure. To enquire about a private box, telephone 0844 346 3618.
How do I get there?
Rail: By train to Ascot (52 minutes from Waterloo), followed by a short walk.
Car: The M4 and M3 offer direct routes towards Windsor via the A332 Windsor by-pass. Car parking spots cost an additional £35. The most expensive coach park spots are priced at £130.
Coach: National Express are running select services to and from Ascot throughout the five day festival.
Helicopter: 400 helicopters will also descend on the meeting, so if that’s your preferred method of transport, go for it.
Tips for backing a winner?
- Tuesday: Ribchester in The Queen Anne Stakes
- Wednesday: Briardale in The Royal Hunt Cup
- Thursday: Big Orange in The Gold Cup
- Friday: Harry Angel in The Commonwealth Cup
- Saturday: The Tin Man in The Diamond Jubilee
- A royal winner? Dartmouth in Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes
If all else fails, can I watch it on television?
Yes. ITV, makes its debut as racing’s terrestrial broadcaster. For more information visit: www.itv.com/racing