Horse racing has been a popular sport in Britain for centuries, and the country is home to some of the world’s most famous Horse Racing Festivals. The Royal Ascot meeting in June is one of Britain’s oldest Horse Racing Festivals, racing at the course having been created by Queen Anne in 1711.
The growing popularity of attending the Ascot races was evident in social circles by 1752, prompting the Duke of Bedford to remark that when he came to London, there was no one to dine with. Popular racing festivals began to spring up all over the country, with racing fans gathering in their thousands to watch the runners and riders in places like Cheltenham, Liverpool, Chester, York and Goodwood.
Below we’ll give you the lowdown on the major festivals which take place each year across Britain and Ireland.
AINTREE FESTIVAL (April)
The Aintree Grand National is a well-known British sporting event that attracts over 150,000 racegoers to the course for this event alone. The race is broadcast in over 11 million homes.
The marathon Aintree Grand National Festival, which takes place every spring in Liverpool and includes 3 days of jump racing ending with a 40-runner steeplechase, is by far the most important race on the Jump Racing calendar and the UK’s biggest betting event.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL (March)
The Cheltenham Festival Jump Racing extravaganza, which takes place in March each year, is likely one of the most thrilling sporting events available.
At the start of each Cheltenham Festival, there is nothing like the collective rush of adrenaline and the roar of the crowd. Over four action-packed days, National Hunt racing fans get to see the cream of the crop in action.
ROYAL ASCOT (June)
Royal Ascot is revered throughout the world, attracting many of racing’s greatest horses. It is also known for its sartorial elegance, which is filled with beautiful fashion and magnificent millinery creations.
From the arrival of the Royal Procession at 2 p.m, to the communal singing on Ascot’s Bandstand, each day is a spectacle that must be witnessed to be believed.
EPSOM DERBY (June)
To this day, the Derby is still regarded as the race that everyone in the world wants to win, with an unrivalled history.
In 1779, the Epsom Derby was founded as a horse race for three-year-olds. It is one of the most famous and prestigious thoroughbred races in the world; the number of international races modelled on it demonstrates its importance as “the Blue Riband” of the turf.