Southwell Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Southwell Racecourse. We explore this popular all-weather and turf racecourse looking at its history, a guide to the tracks, local hotel picks, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

Southwell Racecourse

Southwell Overview

One of only six all-weather racecourse tracks in the UK, Southwell Racecourse has its own unique charm and character.

Southwell Racecourse is situated just 3km south of the minster town of Southwell in Nottinghamshire, and is unique in that it’s the only racecourse in the UK with a fibresand surface.

Fibresand is an all-weather track surface and is the slowest to race on, so it makes for some testing races. With a slow nature and some kickback, Southwell Racecourse’s fibresand track favours frontrunners with serious stamina. The fibresand itself is deep compared to other surface compounds and is made up of sand and ‘wispy’ fabric fibres.

The track, aside from its surface, is a flat mile-and-a-quarter oval with a run from the home turn of three furlongs. It’s considered by commentators ‘the perfect equivalent of an American track’. There is also a turf National Hunt track at Southwell Racecourse, which is tight and features portable jumps. The course is reputedly tough, with long-distance races frequently resulting in few actual finishers especially in heavy conditions.

Southwell Racecourse’s relationship with female jockeys has blossomed out of it being the home course for the first sustained career female jockey,; Hayley Turner OBE. Turner was the first female to ride 100 UK flat race winners in a calendar year, and her success as a jockey saw the amount of female apprentice jockeys increase rapidly. She has truly inspired a new generation of jockeys to take up the sport, and being local to Southwell Racecourse, Turner has not only competed here but also had her first-ever job working for a trainer just across from the course.

Southwell Racecourse was the first racecourse in the UK to be floodlit with LED technology.

Racecourse History

Racing in Southwell can be traced back as far as the 1840s, where pony races took place regularly in the town as well as at nearby Newark. Newark closed its gates in the 1880s, but Southwell Racecourse continued to flourish., As the only course in the area from the 1880s, Southwell Racecourse was moved to the Kirklington Road, but the track crossed a public road in two places with temporary turf laid over the top. Of course, this simply wasn’t safe, and in 1897, following the death of a jockey and several of horses, the course’s license was revoked and racing stopped. The current Southwell Racecourse venue was built the following year, with a 1,200 person capacity grandstand for spectators. The course has continued to flourish at its current home and aside from horseracing suspension during World Wars and some sporadic flooding, racing has remained consistent since.

In January 2019, Southwell Racecourse found itself in national headlines as drones were flown over the course during races to broadcast live footage online. This caused controversy as the drones were able to live-stream footage up to two seconds ahead of the television cameras covering the event; meaning that those betting on the races were able to gain an advantage in doing so by watching the online streams – which could be viewed from expensive hospitality boxes with high-speed internet access. The controversy continues on, with the drones being not technically illegal nor banned at courses across the UK.

Southwell Racecourse Map

Southwell Flat Track
Map courtesy of At The Races.

The all-weather track is left-handed and 10 furlongs around, shaped in an oval. The home straight is three furlongs long. Sprint races over five furlongs take place on the straight course. It is fibresand surface.

Southwell Turf Track
Map courtesy of At The Races.

A tight national hunt jumping course, when the going is quick it favours speedy front runners however it can also get very heavy in winter. The fences are of the portable variety and are stiff. The course uses brush-type hurdles.

Main Races and Events

The All-Weather Championships take place at Southwell Racecourse every Easter, with the £1million Finals Day taking place at Lingwood Park on Good Friday. The Championships are a fantastic way for horseracing fans to eye up the current talent moving into the finals and are well-attended year-on-year. The busiest events at Southwell Racecourse are undoubtedly their summer Ladies’ Day and winter Gentlemen’s Day, which are popular with locals and tourists alike.

Southwell Racecourse Address

Southwell Racecourse
Southwell
NG25 0TS

How To Get To Southwell Racecourse

  • By road – Southwell Racecourse is easily accessible by road but local authority regulations mean that there’s often workarounds and diversions – so pay attention to temporary signage, particularly on Sundays, Bank Holidays and for floodlit fixtures. The postcode for you sat nav is NG25 0TS
  • By train – the nearest train station to the course is Rolleston, which sits adjacent to the venue and is walkable. Rolleston sits on the Nottingham to Lincoln line and is served by extra services on race days. Newark is often touted as the best train station to travel into, as it’s more frequently served, but please be aware that it is almost nine miles away, so onward travel will be required.

Hotels Near Southwell Racecourse

Due to the rural nature of the surrounding area of Southwell Racecourse, you won’t find chain hotels here, but there are plenty of lovely country independent options to choose from. Pub hotels include The Dapper Spaniel and The Reindeer Inn, or, for something more formal, the nearby Saracen’s Head Hotel and Manor Court offer reasonable rates. Check out the fantastic range of brilliant hotels available via Booking.com below:

Booking.com

Betting Shops Local to Southwell Racecourse

Betting at Southwell Racecourse includes the Tote, a traditional betting shop, and independent bookies in front of the track, as you’d expect. Mobile signal in the area for online betting isn’t the best, but Southwell Racecourse offers free WiFi to all attendees. There are no betting shops locally to Southwell Racecourse, so if you’d prefer to have a flutter with a chain shop you’ll need to do so in advance.

Best Southwell Online 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 for new customers :

Other Events

Southwell Racecourse has conferencing and event facilities that can be hired privately for a range of meetings, occasions and parties. However, the non-racing jewel in their calendar is truly their themed Christmas parties, which take place throughout December. They are famed locally for fantastic hospitality, food and drink – so if you can get to one, do!

Southwell Racecourse 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 Southwell:
SOUTHWELL WEATHER

Southwell Races

Summary

Southwell is a fantastic little racecourse hosting all-weather racing all year round as well as jumps action over it’s tight inside track. Whilst not always well-attended the action comes thick and fast, customer service is good and it’s surprisingly beautiful. A great course and most certainly worth a visit.

Other Racecourse Reviews

Our team as of April 2021 have reviewed the other following racecourses: