Bath Racecourse Guide

Overview

Bath Racecourse is situated just three-and-a-half miles north of spa city Bath, and five from Bristol. It is a small (but perfectly formed!) racecourse, and despite its size, has cemented its place as one of the most important racecourses in Britain. The Lansdown plateau on which its set is picturesque and means its popular a course for attendees to enjoy a ‘countryside picnic’!

The spa city of Bath is popular with a middle-class tourist demographic, and Bath Racecourse is no different. Despite its size, it remains one of the top flat racing courses in the country and interestingly is also the highest, at some 780ft above sea level (there are two National Hunt courses higher, however: Hexham and Exeter). The racecourse’s popularity with tourists means that refurbishments and investments have looked to balance modern hospitality with a traditional ‘English racing’ feel – and the owners of the venue, the Arena Racing Company, have done so brilliantly. Millions of pounds have been invested by ARC, with the most recent round seeing development completed back in 2016. The dining and hospitality options are second-to-none; perhaps unexpected for a course of this size.

The Bath Racecourse track is a flat racing sharp left-handed oval track, set on a hill with fantastic views of the city of Bath below. Its hilltop location means that weather and wind can often be challenging. The track measures one mile, four furlongs and 25-yards long, with a half-mile-long run-in. Even though it’s already up a hill, the finish is uphill too – so this isn’t a course to be taken lightly and needs good preparation and training to conquer!

Nineteen racedays are held at Bath Racecourse annually, with lots of other events happening too. Its popularity with tourists means that it is primarily focused on punter-attracting minor race meets, but there are one or two notable events in the calendar.

Bath Racecourse’s scenic surroundings make it also popular as a wedding and celebration venue, with it being booked up years ahead for private non-racing events!

Racecourse History

Records of horseracing in the city of Bath go back as far as 1728, albeit not quite in the same location as is held today. The first instance of racing on the current course dates to 1811, when a local family, the Blathwayts held a two-day race meet. For many years, this was the only event annually, but as the popularity of horseracing grew and the sport became more mainstream, the venue took on a busier racing calendar.

The course, as all others in Britain, took a temporary break from horseracing during World War II, when it was used as a landing strip for the RAF.

Bath Racecourse really hit headlines in 1953 when it became the venue for a criminal plot. A gang sourced a near-identical horse to one running at odds 10-1, and substituted it knowing it was considerably faster. They heavily bet on the substitute and then damaged the venue’s power supply, knowing it would cause confusion. Their house won easily but bookmakers became suspicious at the rapid and high betting levels and contacted the authorities. The gang were subsequently all arrested and brought to justice.

In 2016, the most recent development of the course was finished and the new Langridge Grandstand opened. This included a canopied roof garden and wedding license, which has led to Bath Racecourse becoming a popular venue fixture on the local wedding scene.

Main Races and Events

The two main events at Bath Racecourse are the Lansdown Fillies’ Stakes and the Beckford Stakes. The former takes place in April annually and is run over five furlongs and ten yards. Set up in 1999, it recently celebrated its 20th birthday and is easily the most attended race at Bath Racecourse! The latter is held every October and is a listed flat race run over one mile and four furlongs. It was created in 2016 as a new listed race and has already gained such popularity that it’s become a firm fixture in Bath’s schedule and is renowned by all ‘in the industry’.

The Dick Hern Fillies’ Stakes was one of Bath’s most popular race meets, but was moved to Haydock Park in 2011

Other Events

Bath hosts a whole range of non-horseracing events, including live music gigs, weddings and themed occasions. Their ‘Gin and Fizz’ tasting evenings are exceptionally popular for those looking for a bit of a different night out, second only to ‘Rum and Reggae’! Bath Racecourse is also an extremely popular wedding venue, and is often booked up some years in advance.

How To Get To Bath Racecourse

Bath Racecourse
Lansdown
BA1 9BU.

Bath Racecourse is well signposted on all main roads from both Bath and Bristol, and offers free car parking year-round (with the choice to upgrade to priority parking for a fee on racedays). The nearest rail station is Bath Spa, which is about a 15-min cab ride away and takes only 10-mins from Bristol. Air passengers are best to arrive at Bristol International Airport, less than 20 miles away, and the on-site helipad can be booked in advance.

Hotels near Bath Racecourse

Nearby Bath is an absolutely beautiful place to visit and stay. It’s quite the tourist destination, so you may find you need to book well in advance, but check out The Bear, The Z Hotel and The Harington’s Hotel. You’ll find all of the usual chain hotels in the city, too (and in nearby Bristol, where you may find greater availability).

Betting Shops Local to Bath Racecourse

You’ll find Tote shops and traditional bookmakers shops on-site at Bath Racecourse, as well as independent bookmakers outside the Langridge Grandstand. WiFi is available throughout the course for online betting, but there may be a charge, depending on your enclosure.

Branches of Coral, William Hill and Ladbrokes can be found in Bath city centre.

Other Racecourses

Our team as of May 2020 have reviewed these racecourse that you can also bet on: