Welcome to our official guide to Great Yarmouth Racecourse. In this section we explore this busy flat racecourse in detail, looking at its history, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
Situated just a mile north of one of Britain’s favourite seaside towns, Great Yarmouth Racecourse is attended by horseracing fans, locals and tourists alike for races and other events all year round.
It’s often known as just ‘Yarmouth Races’, or even ‘Yarco Races’ by those in the local area.
Great Yarmouth Racecourse boasts a racing calendar of over 23 race meets a year, primarily in the summer when the town is full of tourists and sun-seekers. A flat track, galloping in nature and best suited to long-striding horses, it is shaped as a narrow oblong approximately one mile and five furlongs in length, which each long straight measuring about five furlongs. It is left-handed and has an extension chute to allow straight races of up to a mile to be run here. The track is almost entirely flat, but there are references online to some inclines – these have, however, been levelled out in recent years.
Just over an hour’s drive from the training and racing town of Newmarket, it’s no surprise that Great Yarmouth Racecourse attracts some top talent and big names, even though it’s far from Britain’s largest or busiest course.
The course’s location gives holidaymakers the ideal excuse to combine a day at the races with their Great British beach holiday, and several holiday parks around Norfolk offer shuttle bus services to the course on race days.
Great Yarmouth Racecourse has worked hard to integrate well and serve its local community as well as those in the horseracing industry. As a result, the North Denes venue is used for a range of events year-round and even hosts family fun days and race days that are free to attend for local residents. It also has strong links with other tourist attractions in the area, including Great Yarmouth Greyhound Racing Track and the historic Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. It’s also a great employer of seasonal staff within the local community.
The nearest racecourse to Great Yarmouth is Fakenham, but it tends to attract more quality talent than its neighbour – primarily due to the amount of Newmarket trainers who send their horses here.
Racing in Great Yarmouth can be recorded as far back at 1715, when local authorities granted a license to a group of local innkeepers to host racing on an empty field nearby. Records from these times (and some dating further back for unlicensed events) suggest that racing coincided with the Great Yarmouth town fair held annually, and included novelty events such as pig racing and donkey racing.
In 1810, records show thoroughbred horseracing began with listed events at a course in South Denes, which gained popularity as the years went on and the prize money grew.
In 1920, after racings suspension due to World War I, the sport resumed across the road in the North Denes site it sits at now. The local fishing industry needed more room for expansion in the South Denes area, so the grandstands were dismantled relocated to the new North Denes site. The course was owned by local authorities for many years, but in 2001, Great Yarmouth Racecourse was sold to Northern Racing, and in 2012 merged with Arena Racing Company, who continue to manage the course to this day.
Main Races and Events
Great Yarmouth Racecourse isn’t known for it’s high levels of prize money, but it often attracts talent higher than you’d expected for little funds. Its most valuable race is the John Musker Fillies Stakes, run in September each year over mile, two furlongs and twenty-three yards. The total purse here is just £50,000, but Frankie Dettori has won here twice and sponsorship deals are hotly contested! The current sponsor of the John Musker Fillies Stakes is EBF Stallions.
Great Yarmouth Racecourse
How To Get To Great Yarmouth Racecourse
Great Yarmouth Racecourse is walking distance from Great Yarmouth town centre, but buses and taxis run regularly from the centre on big event days. Great Yarmouth rail station is also a mile from the course, so easy walking distance away, and is served up to every half an hour from Norwich and every hour from London Liverpool Street. Buses and coaches serve Great Yarmouth from Norwich, Peterborough and London Victoria, but services vary and should be checked in advance.
Helicopters may land at Great Yarmouth Racecourse when arranged in advance, and for other light aircraft, nearby airfields can be used. Staff at the course are able to advise further.
Hotels near Great Yarmouth Racecourse
Great Yarmouth is very much still a tourist destination, so there’s plenty of accommodation options within walking distance of the course. There are a couple of Premier Inns, but most hotels in the area are independent and/or B&Bs. There’s also lots of holiday parks around, including fully-functioning all-inclusive resorts, glamping sites and caravan and camping facilities. Google in advance for details, and book ahead for the busy summer months.
More hotels are available in Norwich, about an hour away by car.
Betting Shops Local to Great Yarmouth Racecourse
There are several places to bet at Great Yarmouth Racecourse: with the independent bookies at the side of the track, Tote betting facilities in the grandstand, and roving service in hospitality suites. Mobile signal is fine here, but there’s free Wi-Fi too should you wish to bet online.
Great Yarmouth town centre and surrounding residential neighbourhoods have branches of Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Betfred and Coral – and, seasonally, some seaside independent bookmakers within amusement arcades along the seafront.
Given its location, it is no surprise that Great Yarmouth Racecourse is home to more events than just horseracing. Indeed, locals and tourists alike flock to the course for numerous different events throughout the year, including assorted conferences, business meetings, occasions and weddings, as well as Comicon exhibitions, themed markets and live music gigs.
Great Yarmouth 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 Great Yarmouth:
GREAT YARMOUTH WEATHER
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