The best horseracing courses in the UK

photo by Steve & Jemma Copley on Flickr

Cricket is the closes thing to a national sport in the UK, although its origin is disputed between three of the four countries in the kingdom. But another sport that has been around for ages and has garnered just as strong a following is horse racing. You might not see the Queen or some other member of the British aristocracy at a cricket game very often, but you will almost always see them at a race. Horseracing in Britain is never boring whichever type of race you pick: flat racing, or racing over obstacles – the National Hunt race. With such a long tradition and great race courses, it’s not surprising that some of the best jockeys in the world are British! So if your travels take you to the isles, don’t miss your chance to watch a few races at some of the best horseracing courses in the UK!

Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire

Ascot is probably the most famous racecourse in the UK, and often mentioned in the same context as the Royal Family. Ascot is located mere miles from the royal residence at Windsor. The most prestigious race in Europe (and arguably the world) is the Royal Ascot, which was founded by Queen Anne in 1711. The races are definitely exciting (they draw over 300,000 people each year), but they are also a hugely important social event for the Brits, seeing how it is attended every year without fail by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the Price of Wales and other members of the British nobility.

Chester Racecourse, Chester, Cheshire

Ascot, photo by Herry Lawford on Flickr

Chester Racecourse is the oldest licensed racecourse in the UK, dating back to the 16th century. It might be extremely small (one mile and one furlong, and 65 acres), but it is one of the oldest, most famous, and best horseracing courses in the UK. The field was used for rather bloody and violent football matches until 1533, when the mayor of the matches. Six years later, the field was turned into a racecourse, and that’s what it has been for centuries.

Newmarket Racecourse, Newmarket, Suffolk

The small town of Newmarket is the capital of British horseracing. There are two courses in town: Rowley Mile Course and the July Course, both of them used to flat racing. Eight of the annual British Group1 races (there are 32 of them in total) are hosted at Newmarket, but even if you don’t happen to visit at the time of a race, the racecourse has the largest cluster of training yards in the UK, and absolutely worth a visit.

Goodwood Racecourse, Chichester, West Sussex

photo by Herry Lawford

Goodswood is widely seen as the most scenic racecourse in the UK, what with being surrounded by the gently rolling Sussex hills and woods. The racecourse is a very complex one, and its most important event of the year is the Glorious Godswood, one of the main highlights of the British falt racing calendar.

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