Welcome to our official guide to Aintree Racecourse. In this section we explore this brilliant racecourse in detail, looking at its history, The Grand National three day festival, a guide to the track (including Becher’s Brook), top hotel picks, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
- 1 Overview
- 2 Racecourse History
- 3 The Grand National Meeting
- 4 The Grand National
- 5 Aintree Racecourse Map
- 6 Aintree Racecourse Address
- 7 How To Get To Aintree Racecourse
- 8 Hotels Near Aintree Racecourse
- 9 Best Aintree Races Betting Sites
- 10 Aintree Race Fixtures
- 11 Aintree Racecourse Weather
- 12 Summary
- 13 Other racecourses
Famous as “The home of the Grand National“ and the stomping ground of one of the most famous racehorses of all time – Red Rum – Aintree is one of the most iconic racecourses anywhere in the world, with its splendour and reputation reigning far past its North-West postcode and gaining it fame on a global scale.
Situated in Merseyside it attracts visitors from all over the country, but it always stays true to its roots: with more locals visiting the course than anyone else. It is a racecourse that a great city is rightly proud of.
It is part of The Jockey Club’s elite portfolio of fourteen British racecourses, and whilst known for its enormous sense of fun and occasion, it is also considered amongst the greenest and most sustainable of British race tracks. Its natural picturesque countryside environment allows the Jockey Club to invest in environmental initiatives and trial various sustainability projects before they’re rolled out across other racecourses. However, Aintree will always be known for the Grand National, Red Rum, and perhaps the unusual and daring outfit choices for Ladies’ Day.
Aintree is a household name and is truly one of the top attractions in Merseyside. It’s a racecourse at the heart of a city and a racecourse that the world has fallen in love with.
The racecourse started life back in 1829, when local hotelier William Lynn had the idea of bringing racing to the area – with the benefit of course, of attracting new clientele to his hotel at the same time. He entered into talks with local landowner William Molyneux and a grandstand was constructed in July 1829 for a race. The course flourished and within the space of just a few years had attracted upward of 40,000 race-goers! By 1835, the course was adapted to include jump racing as well as flat, and in 1836 the first ever ‘Grand Liverpool Steeplechase’ took place. Whilst not listed formally in the history books, this is believed to be the first Grand National event.
In 1839, the reputation of the race preceded itself, and with nearby Liverpool gaining a railway, spectators arrived in their droves. This formed the first recorded Grand National race and the rest, as they say, is history.
The course remains upgraded and refurbished by the Jockey Club but largely unchanged today, although spectator capacity now sits at 75,000, and there are considerably more amenities and facilities for those visiting and racing than there were in the 1800s!
The Grand National Meeting
The undisputed main event is the Grand National. One of the most famous races in the world, it takes place annually, usually in April. It forms part of of a three-day festival – known as the National Meeting. Other big races during the festival include:
- The Aintree Hurdle – a grade one hurdle ran over 2miles and 4 furlongs on the Mildmay course, it is one of the premium hurdle races in the UK and Ireland with eleven flights of hurdles to be jumped. Won by greats such as Istabraq and Annie Power in recent years.
- The Melling Chase – another grade one over 2miles and 4 furlongs over the Mildmay course, this is one of the most prestigious races in the chasing calendar. Won by some great horses, such as the brilliant and tough Viking Flagship, Altoir and Moscow Flyer.
- The Fox Hunters Chase – ran over the Grand National course, but over a shorter distance of 2mile 5 furlongs, it is open to amateur riders.
The Grand National
It is considered the most famous race and most difficult course in the world to complete and includes 16 steeplechase fences to jump, many of which are now household names, such as the Chair, Foinavon, Canal Turn, Valentine’s and Becher’s Brook. All fences other than the water jump are covered in spruce, which is unique to this course. It’s run across approximately 4 miles and 2½ furlongs. The race is a staple in the British sports calendar and is broadcast live on free-to-air television annually, as well as around the globe, with an estimated viewership of up to 500,000,000. The prize fund for winning the Grand National has exceeded £1,000,000 and continues to grow.
Tickets for the Grand National are exceedingly hard to get hold of, but the whole of Aintree and the city hosts events over the three days, so those visiting will never be short of something to do; even if they don’t quite make it to the big race itself.
Aintree Racecourse Map
The track is made up of two left-handed courses both used for National Hunt racing. The conventional course is named the Mildmay Course. It is a flat, sharp track which is 1mile 3furlongs per lap – this is where all the hurdles and standard chase races are run.
The Grand National course is a much bigger circuit, which is 2miles and 2 furlongs in distance, with a variety of fences and ditches to negotiate. The most famous fences are known the world over, such as the Canal Turn, Beecher’s Brook and The Chair. Whilst the most important race ran over the National course is The Grand National, there are actually other races contested over the track including the Grand Sefton and The Foxhunters.
Aintree Racecourse Address
Phone: 0151 523 2600
How To Get To Aintree Racecourse
- By Rail – served by its own railway station directly opposite the racecourse with trains arriving from Liverpool Lime Street every 15-mins on race days (and even more frequently during the Grand National!).
- By Bus – buses travel from the city centre regularly and National Express schedule coaches to Aintree from a variety of destinations on event days.
- By Car – car parking usually needs to be booked in advance, and the racecourse is a short drive from Liverpool city centre. The postcode for the stat nav is L9 5AS.
- By Air – those travelling from further afield can fly into Liverpool John Lennon Airport, just a 20-min car ride away.
Hotels Near Aintree Racecourse
The popularity of events at the racecourse means that the hotels in the area rely almost entirely on the trade from the venue, and some are only open seasonally. There is something for all budgets and tastes:
- The Premier Inn Liverpool North Hotel – the cheapest option with rooms available from £30 when booked in advance and remain at the quality you’d expect from such a big brand. If your trip is already an unusually large expenditure, this is a great choice.
- The Titanic Hotel – known as one of the best luxury hotels with superb rooms, leisure facilities & quality dining.
- Cavern Quarter Ibis Styles Hotel – another good option, great as part of a weekend trip to the city.
We recommend checking these out and booking through the brilliant Booking.com below:
Best Aintree Races Betting Sites
At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps when going to the races. This is because you can often get the best odds, great offers when signing up and you can place bets quickly and safely.
If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:
New Customers Only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply
New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. Doesn’t apply to customers who place their first bet on the Virtual Grand National. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply
18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit and bet types excluded. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply
18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply
New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days. Full T&C's Apply
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. Full T&C's Apply
Aintree Race Fixtures
- October – The Halloween Races – the main race being The Old Roan Chase – won by legends such as Monets Garden and Kauto Star.
- November – The Autumn Races.
- December – The Becher Chase Meeting – featuring the Grand Sefton and Becher Chase.
- April – The Grand National Meeting – the main meeting features the Aintree Hurdle, Melling Chase, The Bowl and The Grand National, made famous by the amazing Red Rum.
Aintree Racecourse Weather
It’s important to keep up the weather when arranging your trip to the races, so you are up to date with ground conditions and also so you can choose the right outfit.
Aintree Racecourse Events
Whilst undoubtedly most famous for being the home of the Grand National, this venue ran by the brilliant Jockey Club also hosts other events too. The course also has a range of conferencing and hospitality facilities. Previously, it has also hosted golf events, motor racing and a variety of music concerts – including the likes of:
- Michael Jackson
- Kaiser Chiefs
- Chemical Brothers!
Frequently Asked Questions
- “Is the Grand National the only race ran over the Grand National Course and the famous national fences?” No, there are other races over the course throughout the year, so those iconic national fences, such as Becher‘s Brook, the Canal Turn and the Chair are jumped at other times of the year, most notably in the Becher Chase and Grand Sefton.
- “Who is your favourite National winner or runner of all time?” There are so many great runnings of the race and so many great performances from winners and placed horses alike. Surely every list has to start with Red Rum, the most successful horse in the race and a three-time winner. Other favourite winners have included Tiger Roll and Many Clouds, the grey Neptunes Collonges, Rough Quest and who can forget the run of the brilliant Crisp, probably the best horse to run in the race and not win it when denied late on trying to give weight to Red Rum.
- “Who are the most successful jockeys and trainers?” The best trainers at the track over the past few years are led by Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton and Willie Mullins, looking further back Jenny Pitman and of course Ginger McCain, the trainer of Red Rum. In terms of jockeys, Davy Russel, AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh and Richard Dunwoody.
A stunning and fun racecourse owned by the Jockey Club, Aintree is a firm favourite and household name across the world. Largely this is due to it being home to the most famous horse race in the world, but a great atmosphere, superb races and brilliant facilities make it an annual tradition for locals and fun-seekers alike. If you haven’t visited yet, you need to add it to your bucket list, it’s an occasion and spectacle not to be missed.
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