Top 10 Horse Racecourses in the UK

A horse race with thoroughbreds and jockeys in colorful gear, with the leading horse in a red and blue outfit on a green turf track, other horses in pursuit.

The UK is home to some of the most famous racecourses in the world, with royal backing and storied histories marking them as important parts of our nation’s culture. There are 59 racecourses in the UK, and they aren’t all made equally. We’ve picked out our top 10 favourite racetracks you can visit and detailed some of their most anticipated events.



Cheltenham Racecourse

There are few racing events as high profile as the Cheltenham Festival. This four-day racing extravaganza is hosted at the Cheltenham Racecourse, one of the best courses across the UK for fans of jump racing. It has an incredible history, including an incident where the Grandstand was burned to the ground, and continues to make it as the host of some of the most exciting wins in horse racing. 

Without a doubt, the Cheltenham Festival is the biggest event held at the racecourse, but races are held year-round at Cheltenham, with the April, November, and Christmas meets also providing excellent racing opportunities no matter when you can attend. If you want to participate in the Cheltenham Festival, though, 2024 promises to be a special event as the Gold Cup celebrates its 100th anniversary.



Ascot Racecourse

Ascot Racecourse is the track of choice for the British royal family. Located in Ascot on land leased from the Crown Estate, Ascot Racecourse is one of the country’s most prestigious racecourses. It was founded by Queen Anne herself in 1711 when, while riding from Windsor Castle, she saw a field she described as ‘ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch.’ Three hundred years later, Ascot Racecourse still holds its place of pride in the racing industry.

Ascot Racecourse is most famous for holding the Royal Ascot, one of the grandest racing meets of the season. It’s known not only for the exciting races held throughout the festival but also for the atmosphere and culture, featuring strict dress codes and lavish hospitality services. For a fan looking for a classic racing experience, Ascot Racecourse is for you.



Aintree Racecourse

Aintree Racecourse is located in Aintree, just outside of Liverpool. First opening in 1829, it’s widely considered one of the UK’s most famous racetracks, if not the most famous. This fantastic course is home to none other than the Grand National, a racing event so popular that it attracts fans from all over the globe, including people who aren’t usually interested in horse racing. 

This track is well known for exciting handicap races through difficult terrain, showcasing the racers’ strength and the jockeys’ skill as they compete for one of the best-known trophies in racing. Aintree is open to all fans with myriad ticket options and an enclosure to suit racegoers of all expectations and budgets. 

If you want a full guide to Aintree Racecourse, including what’s on and tips for getting the most out of your visit, click here



Newmarket Racecourse

Newmarket Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing track located in Suffolk. It features two main courses, the Rowley Mile and the July Course, both of which host some of the best flat races worldwide. Newmarket is easily one of the oldest racecourses in the country, with records of races taking place there in the age of James I and a renowned favourite course of Charles II, who even rode a winner in 1671.

The biggest event you can attend at Newmarket is the QIPCO Guineas festival, with three days of world-class flat racing, incredible prizes and a lively atmosphere. Other events held at Newmarket include The July Festival and the Dubai Future Champions Festival. 



York Racecourse

York prides itself as one of the premier European flat racecourses, hosting some of the most notable racing events across the continent and even winning the Flat Racecourse of the Year Award four times. The track features three viewing enclosures, each offering a different experience, whether you’re after a luxury trip with full restaurant catering or a picnic with friends and family.

The biggest event held at York Racecourse is the Ebor Festival. The Ebor Festival is a four-day racing experience hosted annually in August, featuring races like the Ebor Handicap and Juddmonte International. It’s one of the last flat racing events of the season and routinely attracts racegoers from all across Europe. 



Goodwood Racecourse

Goodwood Racecourse is set apart from the rest of the entries on our list by not being exclusively a horse racing track. Goodwood is a sprawling estate owned by the Duke of Richmond that hosts horse racing, motorsports, golf, cricket and more. This variety of entertainment makes Goodwood a destination that appeals to racing fans of all sorts.

It holds some of the most anticipated flat races of the year, particularly at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, known as ‘Glorious Goodwood.’ This exciting festival is backdropped against the gorgeous south English countryside and populated with stylish racegoers ready to look and feel their best.


Epsom Downs

Epsom Downs Racecourse

You can’t think of horse racing without thinking of The Derby Festival. Epsom Downs Racecourse is the location of this sport-defining event, found in the picturesque town of Epsom, just 14 miles from London. The first races recorded at Epsom Downs were back in 1661, and horse racing has been a staple of the local culture ever since, seeing some of the most historic wins from horses like Eclispse, Sea the Stars and Nijinsky. 

Despite its prestige, Epsom Downs is a racecourse for visitors of all types, with enclosures and ticket experiences to suit anyone. Whether you’re hoping to dress to the nines and indulge in fancy hospitality dinners or get up close and personal with the racetrack, Epsom Downs offers an excellent day at the races. 


Haydock Park

Haydock Park Racecourse

Haydock Park is one of the most frequently used racecourses in the country, holding 32 days of racing throughout the year, which combines the best of both flat and jump races. Haydock is a perfect destination for racing fans looking for events held towards the end of the year, with the Sprint Cup and Betfair Chase taking place in September and November, respectively.

You’ll find Haydock in eastern Merseyside, conveniently equidistant from Liverpool and Manchester but maintaining that beautiful green woodland atmosphere. Easy to access and with a capacity of 20,000 people, Haydock Park is a fantastic option for any racing enthusiast.


Sandown Park

Sandown Park Racecourse

Sandown Park is a standout entertainment location, hosting more than just horse racing events like tradeshows, car shows, auctions, concerts and more, not to mention the on-site golf course and go-kart track. It’s located in Esher, Surrey, in a populated and highly accessible area. Sandown is notable for being a racecourse built explicitly for the luxury racing experience, being the first racecourse to charge all attendants, and even featuring the first members-only enclosure in England. 

The highlight of the event calendar at Sandown Park is Coral-Eclipse Day, the second day of the Coral Summer Festival. It features some of the standout races of the British flat season, most prominently the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse race, and always promises exciting action for spectators and bettors alike.


Kempton Park

Kempton Park Racecourse

Kempton Park is a proudly modern racecourse, having undergone renovations continually since its construction, either out of post-war necessity or an ambition to provide a stellar experience to racegoers. It’s now famous for its synthetic floodlight racetrack, which can be used in all but the most extreme weather conditions and into the night. 

The biggest race at Kempton Park is the King George VI Chase, part of the Christmas Festival on Boxing Day. If you’re looking for a festive activity for the family, visiting Kempton Park could be the perfect opportunity for you. 



Great Britain is rich with horse racing gems; hundreds of racing events take place at the fantastic racecourses up and down the country every year. If you want to attend a race for yourself, you can be confident with any of the courses we’ve listed here. And you won’t need to break the bank to get involved! Visit the racecourse websites today to see the upcoming races and find something for you. Protection Status


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