Down Royal Racecourse

Welcome to our official guide to Down Royal Racecourse.

We explore this great Irish racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, local hotel picks, racing fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather.

Find out more about Down Royal Racecourse:

Down Royal Racecourse

Overview of Down Royal Races

Down Royal Racecourse has been home to racing since the 18th century and is situated just outside of Lisburn in Northern Ireland.

Although the course is located well within the borders of Northern Ireland, and therefore the UK, the racing at Down Royal sits within the authority of Horse Racing Ireland.

Down Royal is one of just two horse racing courses in Northern Ireland.

Down Races are considered an approachable and friendly venue for first-timers to the sport as well as seasoned veterans alike.

Situated in Lisburn, about half an hours’ drive from Belfast and less than two hours from Dublin (and just off the A1, the main road between the two), Down Royal is easily accessible to all on the Emerald Isle.

Thoroughly modern but with a rich history of racing, Down Royal mixes business with sport and pleasure to perfection.

Hosting both National Hunt and Flat racing, the highlight of the Down Royal’s calendar is the two-day Festival of Racing every October, which boasts a number of graded races and starts the jumping season with a bang.

The track at Down Royal is a right-handed square track measuring just under two miles in length. There are 10 fences to a circuit along a wide galloping track with better ground lying to the outside; although the winners are not always predictable. A chute for races run a 5 furlongs is in place at an almost constant turn right.

Horses need to be well balanced to enjoy running at Down Royal and experienced in running on a round course.

Down Royal Racecourse History

There has been racing at Down Royal since the early 18th century when the land was donated the First Marquess of Downshire, Arthur Hill.

Before that, King James II had issued a Royal Charter to form the Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders, but racing had never launched.

In 1750, King George II donated £100 for the King’s Plate to be run at Down Royal Racecourse – and a race resembling this (now named Her Majesty’s Plate) is run at the same time of year (July) over the same distance (1 mile 5 furlongs).

Down Royal has enjoyed heavy investment over the years and boasts a variety of great entertaining, hospitality and business facilities as a result.

Down Royal Racecourse Map

There are two courses at Down Royal.

Down Royal National Hunt Track

Below is a map of the jumps course at Down Royal:

Down Royal Racecourse Map

Down Royal Flat Course

Below is a map of Down Royal flat course:

 

Down Royal Flat Track

Down Royal Main Races and Events

Down Royal Racecourse holds events all year round and its schedule includes some of the biggest and most prominent races in the Irish calendar.

The first Grade 1 chase of the year starts off the jumping season in November with a two-day festival meet headlined by the JNwine.com Champion Chase.

The Ulster Derby and Oaks, run every June at Down Royal, is Northern Ireland’s most valuable flat race. Open to three-year-old horses, this race is run over 1 mile 4 furlongs and 150 yards and has been run at the course since 1936.

There most valuable race over jumps is the Ladbrokes Champion Chase.

Down Royal Racecourse Address

The address of Down Royal Racecourse is:

Down Royal Racecourse
Gravelhill Road
Lisburn
BT27 5RW
Northern Ireland.

How To Get To Down Royal Racecourse

The ways to get to Down Royal races are:

  • By road – Down Royal Racecourse is situated just 5km southwest of Lisburn in Northern Ireland. A turnoff from the A1, the main road connecting Dublin and Belfast, the racecourse is easily accessible by road; with the journey taking about 1 hour 40 min from Dublin and less than half an hour from Belfast. Free car parking is available for all visitors attending by car and all car parks are located within a 5min walk from the race track.
  • By train – the closest train station to Down Royal is Belfast Central Station, to which regular rail services run from all over the country. On race days, shuttle buses run from Belfast Central straight to (and later, from) the course to connect with all major services.
  • By bus – a return bus service from Belfast city centre is operated every race day by the Belfast Bus Company, departing from College Square North. These run from 90 mins before the first race and then from 1 hour afterwards.
  • By air – for those travelling by air, Belfast International Airport is less than a half hours’ drive from Down Royal.

Hotels near Down Royal Racecourse

There is no hotel directly on the Down Royal site, but there are plenty around for those visiting nearby Lisburn.

The closest accommodation option is Dunhill B&B, which has rooms starting from £62, closely followed by the Lisburn Premier Inn which is situated just to the south of the city. Broadly speaking, the further out from the city centre you go, the cheaper the hotel rooms get, but there are some more premium options around should you wish to make a real occasion of your visit to the races.

On the whole, Lisburn is extremely reasonably priced for hotel and accommodation options, but rooms do get booked up in advance for big meets – so prepare and make sure you have your stay confirmed before you leave. We often recommend booking via Booking.com, check out their great deals below: 

Betting Shops Local to Down Royal Racecourse

There are a couple of betting kiosks on-site at Down Royal Racecourse, but it tends to be understated.

The best odds are always to be found with independent bookies trackside!

Private and hospitality suites at the course benefit from roaming bookmakers who will visit tables and individuals as and when required.

If you’re looking to bet with chain bookmakers, you’ll find three branches of Ladbrokes horse racing in nearby Lisburn.

All major online betting sites will provide odds for races at Down Royal and you may find the odds a little more generous than you’re used to as the location of the course simply means less people place bets than they do at major courses elsewhere in the UK.

Best Down Royal Races Betting Sites

At British Racecourses, we often recommend betting online and via the best betting 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 with some amazing offers for new customers:

  • Parimatch Horse Racing

    Parimatch Logo
    BET £5 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    18+ New Customers opt in, deposit and bet £5 at odds 2.00+ on Horse Racing within 7 days of registration; excludes cashed out bets. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, set events only at odds 2.00+. Free Bets expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. | begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Horse Racing

    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £60 IN BONUSES

    New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Racing

    Coral Horse Racing
    GET £20 IN FREE BETS

    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.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • 888 Racing

    888 Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30

    New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F – A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market – Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) – Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days – Free bet stakes not included in returns – Deposit method and withdrawal restrictions apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Racing

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

    New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Racing

    Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    BET £5 GET £20 IN FREE BETS

    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 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Horse Racing

    Unibet Horse Racing Logo
    UP TO £40 MONEY BACK

    18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first racing bet loses. Wagering: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Sports bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Full T&Cs apply. #Ad

    Full T&C's Apply

  • BetVictor Horse Racing

    Betvictor Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £40

    18+ New customers only. Opt in and place a £10 qualifying bet on Horse Racing at odds of 2.00+ within 7 days of registering; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Horse Racing Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00+. Plus, a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. Please Gamble Responsibly.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Mr Play Sport

    Mr Play Sport
    BET £10 GET £15

    18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £15 bonus, valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at a min. odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets no eligible.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Betway Horse Racing

    Betway Sports
    UP TO £10 IN FREE BETS

    New UK customers only. £10 Min Deposit. 100% matched free bet on your first deposit of £10. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bets. Debit Card deposits only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+. BeGambleAware.org. Bet The Responsible Way.

    Full T&C's Apply

Many of the above, including bet 365 horse racing, Betbull, Paddy Power, BetVictor and Mr Green horse racing – all made our list of the best betting sites UK list.

Other Events Held at Down Royal

Down Royal is home not just to the big races, but also to several more informal race evenings popular with parties, tourists, sponsors and families.

Summer and Autumn race evenings are punctuated with street food stalls and entertainment options, and the Boxing Day race meet proves popular with racing fans from all over Ireland.

Down Royal Weather

Below is the weather for Down Royal:

LISBURN AND CASTLEREAGH WEATHER

Racing fans like to know the weather so they can plan what to wear for the races.

Down Royal 2022 Fixtures

The remaining fixtures for Down Royal racecourse in 2022 are:

  • 25 January 2022 – Molson Coors race meeting
  • 17 March 2022 – St Patrick Day Race meeting
  • 2 May 2022 – Mayday Races
  • 3 June 2022 – Summer Race evening
  • 17 June 2022 – Summer Festival of Racing
  • 18 June 2022 – Summer Festival of Racing
  • 22 July 2022 – Molson Coors race evening
  • 26 August 2022 – Musgrave Race Evening
  • 2 September 2022 – Grant Thornton
  • 26 September 2022 – Student Race day
  • 4 November 2022 – Festival of Racing
  • 5 November 2022 – Festival of Racing
  • 26 December 2022 – Boxing Day Races

Down Royal Racecard

The racecards for Down Royal races will be released the day before the races are set to happen (Down Royal races today). You can view full racecards in advance, check out  – horse racing tomorrow and horse racing today. In these, you will get an advance look at all the runners, trainers, form and riders.

You can also of course purchase a racecard from the track which carries much of the same useful information. Many like to keep these as souvenirs, especially from major horse races.

Popular Questions

What is the cheapest way to get from Belfast to Down Royal Racecourse?

The cheapest and quickest way to get to Down Royal Racecourse from Belfast is to drive.

How is Down Royal Racecourse rated?

Down Royal Racecourse is rated highly on Google and also by our followers at British Racecourses, it is definitely worth a visit.

What days are Down Royal Racecourse open?

To see what days Down Royal Racecourse is open check our full fixture list.

Summary of Down Royal Racecourse

Down Royal Racecourses hosts quality racing throughout the year both over jumps and on the flat.

It is a venue where modern facilities and superb horses combine and it is always a great day out for racing fans and families alike.

If you are looking for a great days racing you won’t be disappointed – definitely worth a visit!

Ireland Racecourses Alphabetical

Here is a full alphabetical list of Irish racecourses, as you can see there are lots of options and racecourses spread across the entire country:

As the Co-Founder of British Racecourses, I love the chance to share my enjoyment of racing with others. As a family, we have always loved the racing and went to Haydock races as kids, as often as we could. We are now lucky enough to own some fantastic racehorses who we will follow around the tracks and we have had some great wins. As part of British Racecourses, I enjoy visiting and reviewing the racecourses that we visit, all of which I think have something to offer and are brilliant in their own ways.