Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse, commonly shortened to just Stratford Racecourse, is a thoroughbred horseracing venue that hosts jump racing across the summer months. This article refers to Stratford as the town in Warwickshire and not the neighbourhood in London.
Stratford Racecourse is situated just 3km south west of the Warwickshire town of Stratford-on-Avon. It is a popular course and one that’s known for its informal and accessible events, making it an easy ‘first-time’ racecourse to visit for those who haven’t been to the races before. This makes it one of the most well-attended courses in the UK because of its broad appeal, even though it’s a small venue and not one that features notable prestigious races. Having a picnic in the centre of the race track is considered a ‘must’ amongst those attending Stratford Racecourse and considered a rite of passage for locals.
A total of 17 jump races are run from March to November at Stratford Racecourse, all open to families and first-time attendees as well as more experienced racing fans.
The track at Stratford Racecourse is speedy, left-handed and sharp, triangular in shape. It’s had a high number of falls and unseats in its recent fixtures, and these are primarily due to the size of the fences rather than their toughness. Races here are very well run and the water jump near the winning post is much feared. The horses that perform best at Stratford Racecourse are those that can jump quickly and accurately. It always makes for an exciting spectatorship!
The picturesque nature of Stratford Racecourse’s surroundings has gained it a good standing for its business and conferencing facilities, hospitality suites and dining options. A variety of dining and bar options are on offer for all, catering for all tastes, budgets and dietary requirements.
Racing dates back to 1718 at Stratford Racecourse, albeit at nearby Shottery Meadow, where a more informal racecourse was set. It was almost 40 years later until racing was fully and formally documented, notably because a celebrity at the time, David Garrick, formed a partnership with the close and founded a three-day meeting for a trophy in his (named) honour.
Leamington Spa Racecourse was founded in 1835, just down the road, and although it hit a heyday locally in the late 1800s, it never hit the same level of success as its Stratford neighbour and so folded and closed in the early 1900s.
Racing lasted less than a decade at Shottery Meadow, as local farmers protested, complaining of their crops being spoiled by horses and attendees alike. Racing resumed a year later, and the Stratford Race Company was founded in the 1900s – which continues to administer and operate races at the course to this day!
A new grandstand was built in 1955, and the first of the on-site restaurants in 1965.
Main Races and Events
There are several fixtures in the Stratford Racecourse calendar that could be considered ‘main events’, but perhaps the biggest two are the Stratford Foxhunters’ Champion Chase and the Stratford Summer Cup. The former is run over three and a half miles in May; usually during an evening meeting; and is considered the ‘third jewel’ in the Hunter Chase crown. The latter is run over two miles and one furlong, takes place every July, and attracts crowds from all over the local area and further afield too.
How To Get To Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse
Stratford Racecourse is well signposted by road and those travelling to Stratford-upon-Avon will find it easily. It’s a 15-min drive from the M40 and about half-an-hour from the M5. The course is a 20-min walk from the Stratford-upon-Avon rail station with a taxi rank available outside (although due the informal nature of the course, many choose to walk). Stratford-upon-Avon is accessible with frequent services from Birmingham Moor Street.
The nearest airport is Birmingham, which is approximately a 40-min drive away. Helicopters can land in the centre of the Stratford Racecourse racetrack by prior arrangement.
Stratford Racecourse was at one point served by its own rail station, which is often referred to as information on the internet about it is ambiguous. However, this station no longer exists, and closed its doors for the final time in the late 1960s. Don’t be fooled by misinformation!
It’s important that those looking for travel information for Stratford Racecourse look up options for Stratford-upon-Avon and not just the shortened ‘Stratford’; as they’re more likely to find TfL information for travel to the home of the London 2012 Olympics.
Hotels near Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse
Stratford-upon-Avon is a tourist destination in its own right, so there are plenty of hotel options around. The two closest accommodation options to Stratford Racecourse are The Hideaway, a private home available for rent, and 47 Wetherby Way, a B&B.
Other hotels in Stratford-upon-Avon include Midsummer House, a popular tourist hotel with all the necessary amenities; The Three Gables, a beautiful Tudor building; the Crowne Plaza Stratford-upon-Avon, a chain hotel with everything you’d expect as well as rooms available with views of the River Avon; and the Hotel du Vin, a bright and contemporary hotel with a fantastic bar.
Betting Shops Local to Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse
Betting facilities on-site at Stratford Racecourse are Totepool kiosks and independent track-side bookies. Wi-Fi is available for online betting, as the mobile signal isn’t always the best on all networks.
Betting shops in Stratford-upon-Avon include William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betfred and Coral, although as chains, they often focus primarily on racing at bigger and most prestigious courses than their local.
Two of Stratford Racecourse’s other biggest events are their annual Family Day and annual Ladies’ Day. The Family Day incorporates a range of different activities and child-friendly attractions, and the Ladies’ Day sees the course take on an unusually more formal dress code.
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 Stratford:
Our team as of July 2020 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit:
- Aintree Racecourse Guide
- Ascot Racecourse Guide
- Ayr Racecourse Guide
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse
- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
- Carlisle Racecourse Guide
- Cartmel Racecourse
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide
- Cheltenham Racecourse Guide
- Chepstow Racecourse Guide
- Chester Racecourse Guide
- Curragh Racecourse Guide
- Doncaster Racecourse Guide
- Downpatrick Racecourse Guide
- Dundalk Racecourse Guide
- Epsom Racecourse Guide
- Exeter Racecourse Guide
- Fakenham Racecourse
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Galway Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse Guide
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Park Racecourse Guide
- Haydock Racecourse Guide
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse Guide
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse Guide
- Leicester Racecourse Guide
- Leopardstown Racecourse Guide
- Lingfield Park Racecourse Guide
- Ludlow Racecourse
- Market Rasen Racecourse Guide
- Musselburgh Racecourse Guide
- Naas Racecourse Guide
- Navan Racecourse Guide
- Newbury Racecourse Guide
- Newcastle Racecourse Guide
- Newmarket Racecourse Guide
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse Guide
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse Guide
- Pontefract Racecourse
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse Guide
- Sedgefield Racecourse
- Southwell Racecourse Guide
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse Guide
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse Guide
- Warwick Racecourse Guide
- Wetherby Racecourse Guide
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Windsor Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse Guide
- York Racecourse Guide