Taunton Racecourse

Welcome to our official guide to Taunton Racecourse.

We explore this great small jump racing racecourse in detail, looking at its history, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather.

Find out more about Taunton Racecourse:

Taunton Races

Overview of Taunton Racecourse

Taunton Racecourse is the youngest National Hunt racing venue in England, and until 2008 when Great Leighs Racecourse was built (and later, Ffos Las), was the youngest in the country completely. However, despite its youth, there is a rich history of racing in the area; and it continues to be a popular course for racegoers to visit.

Taunton Racecourse was constructed in 1927 and is set in the heart of the Somerset countryside in the village of Orchard Portman, just two miles south of Taunton itself.

Taunton Racecourse hosts 15 National Hunt races annually, and in recent years has diversified as a venue to offer a range of conferencing, business and event facilities. Indeed although the town of Taunton is fairly well known, it is not particularly large, and so the versatility gives it popularity in the local area.

The track itself at Taunton is a right-handed oval course with two long straights and two tight turns, measuring about a mile and two furlongs. The track has both fences and open ditches to be jumped, and is by no means an easy course to tackle.

Part of the track was redeveloped in the 1960s when the nearby M5 motorway was built – removed earth from the road area was transported to the track and extended the straights and strengthened the turns.

Racing is held at Taunton from January to May before taking a summer break and resuming in October.

Traditional spectator facilities are present as you’d expect, and there are three dining options – two of which have gained popularity locally for wedding reception dining as well as regular race day hospitality!

Taunton Racecourse remains independently owned and managed – a rarity for British horseracing venues these days.

Taunton Racecourse History

Despite Taunton Racecourse not having been built until the late 1920s, there are records of races having taken place in the region dating back to the 18th century.

A degree of formalised racing took place in nearby Broomhay, West Monkton, but this activity ceased back in 1812 with the Napoleonic Wars.

Racing continued unscathed in nearby Bridgwater, and in Taunton began back in 1825.

The site where Taunton Racecourse sits now was originally used by King’s College and held racing that was highly praised in Sporting Magazine. However, the course was continually plagued by bad weather and flooded with heavy rain, so moved after a few years to Trull Moor and back to Bridgwater.

When the Second World War started, all racing ceased again.

In the 1920s, the Taunton Racecourse Company was founded, and its purpose seemed to be to set up a specialist racecourse in the area for the benefit of gentry Viscount Portman. Orchard Portman House sat on the site but was moved for the construction, and a small church also on the site remains in place.

The first meeting at Taunton Racecourse was held on 21st September 1927, The Shoreditch Selling Hurdle.

Spectators were housed in a wooden stand and often founded themselves stranded in by light floods and heavy puddles in wet weather! Thankfully, these ground problems were resolved with the upgrading of the stands and course, and today no longer present an issue.

Main Races and Events At Taunton Racecourse

Racing begins at Taunton Racecourse each year with the Carlberg UK Handicap Hurdle in January, routinely a very popular first race fixture to start the season. Tickets often sell out and for many locals, it forms an annual routine to attend.

Perhaps the most prestigious race of the Taunton Racecourse calendar however is the season closer in November: the Audrey Chudleigh Memorial Handicap Hurdle. Both races are well favoured amongst National Hunt racegoers and the industry, though neither could be seen as major – but that’s down to the size of the racecourse rather than the talent of the horses!

Taunton Racecourse Map

Below is a map of Taunton Racecourse:

Taunton Racecourse Map
Courtesy of At The Races

The course is right-handed and sharp. Its fences are known as being small compared to some other tracks.

It is generally considered a fair track, although a more nippy horse can often fare well.

Taunton Racecourse Address

The address of Taunton Racecourse is:

Taunton Racecourse
Orchard Portman

How To Get To Taunton Racecourse

The ways to get to Taunton Racecourse are:

  • By car – Taunton Racecourse is well signposted by road and is just a few minutes drive from the M5, as well as just two miles south from the town centre. Free parking is provided but this does get full quite quickly on busy race days, so arrive early to avoid disappointment. Info for your sat nav: Orchard Portman, Taunton, Somerset TA3 7BL
  • By rail – the course is walking distance from the town centre, but there’s no footpath on the approach to the course, so heels may need to be packed away! On race days, free buses are put on from Taunton railway station to and from the course.

Best Taunton Races 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 with some amazing offers for new customers:

Some of these are brand new betting sites that you may not have heard of such as 32red, Mansionbet and MrGreen, whilst others are considered to have been the best bookmakers around for years, with names you will be familiar with such as William Hill horse racing, Paddy Power horse racing and Coral horse racing.

Hotels near Taunton Racecourse

The nearest hotel accommodation to the racecourse is the Rural Escape private lodge, a barn available for hire in Orchard Portman.

The town of Taunton is home to several independent hotels that offer great rates and reasonable packages – and some will offer private transfers to and from the racecourse. These include The Taunton House Hotel, Octon Lodge Hotel, The Castle Hotel, The Royal Ashton Hotel and Blorenge House.

The location of the racecourse means that there’s plenty of roadside hotel options on the surrounding A-roads and motorways, which often offer budget packages.

Check out Booking.com for some fantastic offers: 

Betting Shops Local to Taunton Racecourse

Taunton Racecourse has a William Hill betting shop on-site as well as several Totepool kiosks for pool bets.

Independent bookmakers can be found in front of the Orchard Stand: some offering minimum bets of £2, some £5.

Taunton has branches of William Hill, a Ladbrokes betting shop and a Betfred betting shop in the town centre, and some residential suburbs of the town has small branches of Coral bookmakers.

Betfred betting shops are seemingly very popular in Taunton, with several branches well-attended within walking distance of each other!

Taunton Racecourse Fixtures

The current Taunton race meetings for 2021 are:

  • Wed Oct 27 – Afternoon – Jump – Turf
  • Thu Nov 11 – Afternoon – Jump – Turf
  • Thu Nov 25 – Afternoon – Jump – Turf
  • Thu Dec 9 – Afternoon – Jump – Turf
  • Thu Dec 30 – Afternoon – Jump – Turf

Taunton 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 Taunton:

Other Events Held at Taunton Racecourse

Taunton has fast become a prominent conference and events venue in the Somerset region and plays host to a variety of professional events.

The dining and hospitality options on offer have gained it a reputation as a quality wedding venue for couples looking to host receptions and celebrations in Somerset.

Taunton Raceday

Summary of Taunton Racecourse

Taunton is a rural and well respected national hunt racecourse.

In the West Country and close to Cheltenham a lot of decent young horses from major stables learn their trade here.

The course is generally fair, if on the sharp side.

Whilst not the most modern course it is superb for a winter jumps meeting and is popular with locals and those from further afield who love the sport.

It is one of our favourite smaller tracks here at Britsih Racecourse.

Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland

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