Ayr Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Ayr Racecourse. In this section we explore this great Scottish jump and flat racing racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the tracks, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

Ayr Races

Considered Scotland’s premier racecourse, Ayr Racecourse hosts both flat and National Hunt racing, and hosts the crown jewels of Scottish National Hunt racing: The Scottish Grand National!

To say that Ayr Racecourse is well favoured would be to understate its popularity: the Racegoers Club have rated it the ‘Best Racecourse in Scotland and the North East’ some NINETEEN times – nine of those in a row! Designated a five-star attraction by VisitScotland, Ayr Racecourse is truly the star in Scotland’s racing scene.

Ayr Racecourse’s track is an oval-shaped flat left-handed course measuring just over one and a half miles, with a long run-in dependent on the race length. Its run either as a flat course, a hurdles course, or a steeplechase. Less than 2km from the west coast of Scotland, the course benefits from sandy ground and a moderate climate that offers great conditions for racing all year round. The jumps course in particular is known to be a tough one – it runs downhill to the home turn with an uphill finish, so can be tricky for even the most skilful of jockeys to manage.

The course can host up to 50 fixtures a year and is most famous for its National Hunt racing. The most famous race it runs is the Scottish Grand National; the Scottish equivalent of the English Grand National run at Aintree. Ayr Racecourse is one of just five racecourses in Scotland; one used exclusively for flat racing, two for jump, and one other mixed. It is definitely viewed by the public and those in the equine sport industry as the most prestigious and important on the scene.

Racecourse History

Horseracing in Scotland dates back at least 900 years, with the Lanark Silver Bell race being documented as far back at the 12th or 13th Century – believed to be one of the first races formally recorded. In the town of Ayr, records show horseracing having taken place as early as 1576, but the first official publicly-attended race wasn’t until 1771. This was held down the coast slightly in Seafield, on an oval course a mile long with tight bends.

In 1824, the town’s most important race was established: The Western Meeting. Within a decade, the prize fund had risen to over £2,000 and was the most valuable two-year-old race in the whole of the UK! The track continued to gain popularity and the facility was quickly not big enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend. In 1907, Ayr Racecourse was established in its current site, based on a blueprint of Newbury Racecourse. The jumps track was added in 1950, and in 1966, the Scottish Grand National moved to the course when its previous home, Bogside Racecourse in Irving, closed.

Main Races and Events

Ayr Racecourse hosts numerous race meets throughout the year, but the two primary ones are prominent races not just in the Ayr calendar but also the whole of Scotland’s!

The Scottish Grand National festival runs for two days every April and is a grade 3 handicap National Hunt steeplechase race. The Grand National race itself is broadcast live on ITV annually and more than 20,000 attendees see it live at the track itself. Tickets sell out fast and the whole town of Ayr transforms into a horseracing haven for the weekend hosting it.

Flat handicap race the Ayr Gold Cup is run over six furlongs every September, with eight races taking place throughout the day. This iconic event is part of Scotland’s rich racing history and is notoriously tricky – no horse has won it more than three times since the 1800s!

Ayr Racecourse Map

Ayr Racecourse Map
Courtesy of At The Races.

Ayr Racecourse Address

Ayr Racecourse
Whitletts Road

How To Get To Ayr Racecourse

Ayr Racecourse is situated just off the M77, which links the town of Ayr with Glasgow, less than 40 miles away. There are regular buses to Ayr from Glasgow using this route, too. The course is less than five minutes from Ayr railway station, with regular services linking the town with the whole of Scotland. For air travellers, the nearest airport is Prestwick International (about 10 mins away), and Glasgow Airport less than an hour away. Ferries run into Ayr from Troon and Larne seasonally, with more sporadic ferry services to and from Ireland.

Hotels Near Ayr Racecourse

Ayr isn’t a large town by any means, but there are plenty of accommodation options available in and around it. The Fox & Willow offers rooms centrally from £35, and the OYO Glenpark Hotel for around the same price. Chain hotels in Ayr include Mercure, Travelodge and Premier Inn. For a more premium stay, consider the Savoy Park or Ellisland hotels. There’s plenty of B&Bs and traditional guesthouses in the surrounding residential suburbs that offer competitive rates and are all within walking distance of the town and racecourse.

Best Ayr Betting Sites

At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps. This is because you can often get the best odds, great offers when signing up and you can place bets quickly and safely without having to queue.

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:

  • bet365 Horse Racing
    Bet365 Horse Racing

    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

  • Betfred Horse Racing
    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30 IN BETS

    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

  • Coral Horse Racing
    Coral Horse Racing

    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

  • Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    Ladbrokes Horse Racing

    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

  • William Hill Horse Racing
    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    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

  • Unibet Horse Racing
    Unibet Horse Racing Logo

    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

Betting Shops Local to Ayr Racecourse

There are Tote facilities as well as a standard betting shop on-site at Ayr Racecourse, but by far the most popular method for those wanting to have a flutter is with the independent bookies outside in the paddock. The Scots love to support a good, indie Scottish business, after all!

In the town centre of Ayr, you’ll find branches of Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Betfred, and guesthouses and B&Bs in residential areas often have a branch of one of these on their estate or in their neighbourhood. Mobile signal is, on the whole, absolutely fine in Ayr, so you can also bet online if you have a betting brand preference not available on-site or in-town.

Ayr Races Fixtures

To come.

Ayr Racecourse Weather

Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Ayr Racecourse:

Other Events

Ayr Racecourse complements many of its racedays with live music and performances, but also holds evenings without racing and just music gigs, with Little Mix booked for summer 2020. The Ayr Sunday Market is a market and car boot sale that takes place at the track weekly, and happens indoors or outdoors, dependent on the weather.

Ayr Racecourse


To come.

Other racecourses

Our team as of July 2020 have reviewed these racecourses: