Epsom Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Epsom Downs Racecourse. In this section we explore this prestigious flat racing racecourse in detail, looking at its history, the main races (including the Investec Derby and the Oaks), a guide to the unique course, local hotel picks, the main fixtures, travel information and even the weather!

If looking to experience the race day at Epsom Racecourse we also provide information on the local bookmakers and also some of the biggest online betting sites.

Epsom Downs Racecourse


Epsom, or Epsom Downs to give it its full and correct name, is a name synonymous with the sport of horse racing and the Sport of Kings. Owned by the Jockey Club, it is one of few racecourses in the UK that maintains a fantastic relationship with her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, who attends annually to watch The Derby in early June.

The ‘Downs’ referred to in Epsom Downs’ is part of the North Downs, a ridge of chalk hills that stretch from Farnham in Surrey to the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent. The Epsom Downs overlook the course, and as a public area, people can sit there to watch the races entirely for free.

Including the capacity of the Downs, the racecourse can attract up to 130,000 people per day!

Epsom is not the oldest racecourse in the UK, but its history is rich and varied – perhaps best known as the course where suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V’s horse Anmer in protest. The feel of prestige and rich culture continues to this day, with the course itself proud to present its history and often offering tours.

Unusually, Epsom is a U-shaped track with chutes for the start of races over five, six or seven furlongs.

Today, Epsom is a multi-purpose events venue and used as frequently for music concerts as well it is horse racing. It also boasts a popular conferencing and business suite, is one of the area’s most popular dog walking spots (post-noon, that is, when the horses finish their training) and an array of Michelin-starred menus and dining/hospitality options for visitors to the course.

Epsom Downs Racecourse History

The first recorded race held at Epsom Downs Racecourse was in 1661, but it’s believed that horse racing was happening in the area much earlier – as burial records from some thirty years before referring to horse racing accidents. Charles II was a keen fan of racing at Epsom Downs and the course even gets a mention in the diary of Samuel Pepys in 1663. By 1730, a twice-yearly race calendar was established and staff hired.

In 1779, the 12th Earl of Derby, Edward Smith-Stanley, arranged a race to entertain his friends, named The Oaks. The race became so popular that four years later the track was extended to a mile and a half, with Tattenham Corner installed, and The Oaks remains one of Epsom’s most prestigious events today.

In 1913, suffragette Emily Davison infamously threw herself in front of the King’s horse to protest for equal voting rights. She was not instantly killed, but she was severely hurt: and died several days later. She did not live to see her dream of votes for women become a reality less than a decade later.

The racecourse underwent vast redevelopment in the early 00s, and in 2009 the new Duchess Stand opened to the public. With a capacity of 11,000 alongside restaurants, bars and conference facilities, the grandstand really upgraded the course’s offering to compete with others.

In June 2011, the (then) newest wedded Royal couple, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and attended the Derby in their first public appearance since their honeymoon in Seychelles.

Main Races and Events

Undoubtedly, the main event of the year at Epsom Downs is the Epsom Derby; full name dependent on the corporate sponsor. A Group 1 flat race open to three-year-old colts and fillies, it runs on the first Saturday of June annually and with the Downs’ public attendance, is often the most attended sporting event of the year. It is Britain’s richest horse race and the most prestigious of the five ‘classics’. The leading jockey at the Derby is Lester Piggott, who has picked up nine wins spanning 1954-1983.

Other major races include:

  • The Oaks
  • The Coronation Stakes
  • Epsom Dash

Epsom Racecourse Map

Epsom Racecourse Map
Courtesy of At The Races.

Epsom is a left-handed track and is undulating with stiff uphill climbs and sharp descents. Many consider it to the ultimate test or the thoroughbred horse. It is what is concerned to be a ‘U’ shaped course rather than a circle or oval. Races up to eight and a half furlongs are very sharp, meaning those ridden close to the pace fair well as horses tend to be always on the turn. The straight five-furlong course is fastest in the world and is downhill virtually throughout, until a slight climb and camber towards the line.

Epsom Racecourse Address

The full address is as below:

Epsom Downs Racecourse
Epsom Downs
KT18 5LQ

How To Get To Epsom Downs Racecourse

There are a number of options to consider when travelling to the racecourse, as below:

  • By Car – there is car parking at the course and the postcode for your sat nav is Surrey Kt18 5lq.
  • By Train – Epsom Station is a 10-minute taxi ride from the racecourse, with shuttle buses running on major event days/nights. Tattenham Corner station and Epsom Downs station are both less than a mile away if these are more convenient options.
  • Metro bus – services from the town centre to Tattenham Corner station run frequently and coach services are active on race days too .
  • By Air – for those travelling by air, London Gatwick Airport is less than 20 miles and London Heathrow less than 30.

Hotels Near Epsom Downs Racecourse

The closest hotel to the course is just across the road from its grounds – the Holiday Inn Express Epsom Racecourse. Breakfast and WiFi is included in all package deals, and there’s a variety of room and dining options to choose from.

Epsom town centre itself isn’t big enough to have a great deal of accommodation, but there is some to choose from a car ride away from the racecourse should you wish to stay.

Hotels nearby include:

  • Premier Inn Epsom Centre
  • Premier Inn Epsom South
  • Travelodge Epsom Central

Whichever option you go for, we suggest booking through Booking.com as below:

What Are The Best Online Epsom 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, especially for new customers:

Epsom Downs Racecourse Fixtures

Due to Covid the current fixture list is currently being amended, we will update you asap.

Epsom Weather

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

Epsom Downs Betting Guide

While attending Epsom Downs doesn’t mean you have to wager a bet, for many racegoers it is all part of the race day experience.

There are lots of betting options for you when attending Epsom Downs so let us dive in.

Online Betting

With strong wifi and 4G mobile phone connections betting online at Epsom is a popular choice.

Be sure to check out some amazing betting bonuses here:

Local Betting Shops

Here are the local betting shops nearest to Epsom Racecourse:

On Course Bookmakers

Totepool betting kiosks can be found throughout all enclosures on the course.

However, the independent bookmakers at Epsom really do make the experience; so nip by the trackside and hedge your bets with them if you’re able.

They’re usually found outside the Duchess Grandstand or by the rails, but at the Derby, betting capacity is expanded to fit all enclosures so everyone can have a flutter.

It’s always best to have a look at the horses in the Parade Ring before placing a bet on the course because you just might spot that winning horse.

Other Events

The Oaks remains a well-attended and enjoyed the event at Epsom Downs racecourse, alongside the Princess Elizabeth Stakes and Coronation Cup.

Aside from horse racing, Epsom Downs now also hosts an annual ‘Summer Nights Rewind’ festival that combines live music and DJ sets with an afternoon of horse racing and hospitality. Themed nights thus far have included 70s disco, 90s RnB and 00s dance anthems!

Epsom Races


Epsom is undoubtedly one of the most famous racecourses in the world. Synonymous with The Derby, Royalty and British summertime, it is a stunning racecourse enjoyed by local residents and international visitors alike. Steeped in history and continuing to make history every year, it is a racecourse considered to be the ultimate test of a racehorse. Great facilities, great fun and a beautiful location, we recommend the course very highly whether you are a seasoned horse racing fan or someone looking for a fantastic day out with friends and family.

Other Racecourses

Our team as of April 2021 have reviewed these racecourses that are definitely worth a visit: