Salisbury Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Salisbury Racecourse. In this section we explore this stunning English racecourse in detail, looking at its history, the main races, a guide to the unique track, local hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

Salisbury Racecourse Guide

Overview of Salisbury Races

Believed to be one of the oldest horseracing courses in Britain, Salisbury Racecourse remains a top racing venue in the flat racing scene, holding up to fifteen race meets a year between May and October.

Salisbury Racecourse is set in beautiful countryside surroundings and boasts an incredible view of the world-famous Salisbury Cathedral.

Just 2km from the city centre, Salisbury enjoys great transport links despite being set in scenery that would fool you to think you were in deepest, darkest rural Wiltshire! Just 8 miles from Stone Henge, it’s not uncommon for tourists to the UK to visit Salisbury Racecourse whilst in the area.

The course itself accommodates flat racing only and is uphill almost for its whole length, so large galloping horses are favoured here. The straight is over seven furlongs long, with the loop course able to host races of over one mile and two furlongs.

Salisbury Racecourse was, for many years, centre stage of the British horseracing scene, but its lack of recent development or allocation of larger high-profile races means that it now enjoys a somewhat mid-table reputation. It is, though, still considered a great track for trainers to race their exciting prospects at – to train them hard on the uphill incline, but also because the two-year-old races held here tend to be a good indication of future racing success elsewhere.

Salisbury Racecourse has a variety of dining and drinking options, as well the hospitality packages you’d expect to find at any UK course. What’s more, all children under 16 attend free, so it’s a very family-friendly environment and one befitting the tourist nature of most of its clientele.

The Racecourse History

Racing at Salisbury Racecourse is documented as far back as the sixteenth century: making it one of Britain’s oldest racecourses! The ‘City Bowl’, held here and now sponsored by BetFred, dates back to 1654 and is the oldest currently-running race in the country.

In keeping with its reputation for fostering talent, several big names of jockeys, trainers and horses have run at Salisbury Racecourse.

In 1948, the legendary Lester Piggott ran his first ‘under rules’ race at Salisbury as a twelve-year-old – and despite being unsuccessful at the time, he did go on to do great things – the rest is history!

The following year, Winston Churchill raced Colonist II here, who won and went on to run at Ascot.

Other notable names having raced at Salisbury Racecourse include Sun Chariot, Mill Reef, Brigadier General and Sir Percy.

The Main Races and Events at The Racecourse

Whilst there is racing throughout the year at Salisbury Racecourse, the summer fixtures by far attract the most racegoers. The listed Upavon Fillies Stakes in August is run over 1 mile, one furlong and 201 yards, with Frankie Dettori its most successful jockey.

August also sees the mile Sovereign Stakes run at the course, which is tough enough that no horse have ever won more than once!

A month later in September, the Dick Poole Stakes are run over six furlongs, named after the horse trainer. Richard Hughes has won this race three times, but now has retired so we may well see someone new step up to the plate in the near future!

The Racecourse Map and Guide

Salisbury Racecourse Map
Courtesy of At The Races

Salisbury is a right handed course with a loop. Races up to 1 mile take place on the straight course. Longer races start on the loop or further back – meaning that in races over 1m6furlongs, the horse run past the finishing line twice – in different directions. The straight course is uphill and very testing it favours strong galloping types and can be tough for early two year olds races.

Salisbury Racecourse Address

The official address of the track is:

Salisbury Racecourse

How To Get To Salisbury Racecourse

  • By car – Salisbury Racecourse is about a two-hour drive from London, or five minutes from Salisbury city centre. All parking is free, but it does get busy on race meetings, so arrive in plenty of time to avoid getting held up in congestion. Info for you sat nav is Netherhampton, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP2 8PN
  • By coach – coach services run to the racecourse from a number of destinations, so check with your local operator for details.
  • By rail – the nearest rail station to the course is Salisbury, about four miles away. Salisbury station sits on several major routes and is just over an hour from London, Portsmouth and Bristol, and just over half an hour from Southampton and Basingstoke. A taxi rank is available at the front of the station, but on racedays a free shuttle bus runs to the course. Shuttle buses also run from Castle Street in Salisbury city centre on event days.
  • By air – helicopter landing is permitted at Salisbury Racecourse if booked and arranged in advance.

Hotels Near Salisbury Racecourse

There is no on-site hotel at Salisbury Racecourse but there are several accommodation options both in the rural areas around it and in Salisbury city centre.

For a traditional ‘pub room’ feel, try The Pembroke Arms in nearby Wilton or The Barford Inn in Barford St Martin. Options right in the city centre include the Caboose, The Chapter House and The Merchant’s House. There are also hotel branches of Mercure, Best Western and Peartree Serviced Apartments in Salisbury itself. For more information, availability and great rates check out below:

Best Salisbury Races Betting Sites

From our research, here are the best betting brands for Salisbury races betting offers:

Betting Shops Local to Salisbury Racecourse

You’ll find several Totepool betting kiosks and a branch of William Hill bookmakers on-site at Salisbury Racecourse, as well as the usual independent bookies in front of the Tall Grandstand. Staff at Salisbury Racecourse are used to dealing with lots of enquiries and betting beginners, so feel free to ask a question or for some guidance if needed (but please note that they will be unable to give you any ‘tips’). Mobile signal can be patchy here, so don’t rely on online betting options. ­

Salisbury isn’t exactly flush with chain betting shops, but you will find branches of William Hill, Ladbrokes and Betfred in the city centre. There’s also an independent bookmakers, Reeve’s Racing, in nearby Wilton. Representatives from Reeve’s can also often be found at the course.

Other Events Held at The Track

Salisbury Racecourse has introduced a range of summer events with live music performances tacked onto the end of an afternoon racing meeting for a summer festival feel. These have proved very popular with Salisbury locals and tourists alike, and include tribute acts, well-known pop groups and collaborations with local radio stations.

Salisbury Races

Salisbury Weather Forecast 

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 Salisbury:

Summary of Salisbury Races

Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside and with a backdrop of one of the most famous Cathedrals in the world, this makes Salisbury a picturesque and beautiful racing venue. It is however not just a racecourse of natural beauty, it also hosts high-class flat racing throughout the season including the Upavon Fillies Stakes. The course itself is a favourite with locals, those in the industry and travellers who are visiting this part of England for the summer. Watching racing in Salisbury is like going back in time and you can easily imagine the racing here hundreds of years back. It is a great and very English course and one that we recommend very highly for its beauty, customer service and atmosphere, basically Salisbury has a touch of class about it.

Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland

Our team as of May 2021 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit: