Welcome to our official guide to Thirsk Racecourse. In this section we explore this great North Yorkshire racecourse in detail, looking at its history, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
- 1 Overview of Thirsk Races
- 2 Thirsk Racecourse History
- 3 The Main Races and Meetings
- 4 Thirsk Racecourse Map
- 5 Thirsk Racecourse Address
- 6 How to Get To Thirsk Races
- 7 Hotels near Thirsk Racecourse
- 8 Other Events at the Course
- 9 Best Thirsk Races Betting Sites
- 10 Thirsk Racecourse Fixtures
- 11 Thirsk Weather Forecast
- 12 Summary of Thirsk Races
- 13 Other Racecourses in The UK and Ireland
Overview of Thirsk Races
Located on the outskirts of the market town that James Herriot famously called home, Thirsk hosts a summer-long season of flat racing and is known for it’s friendly, informal and fun atmosphere.
Found some twenty miles from York in the North Riding territory of Yorkshire, Thirsk Racecourse is a key attraction to this small but bustling market town.
Thirsk Racecourse is around a mile and a quarter in length, exclusively hosting flat racing meetings. The track is a left-leaning oval, with a run-in of roughly half a mile. Many experts advise against betting on large, powerhouse gallopers that take time to build pace. Nimble types typically enjoy more success.
The unofficial dress code for Thirsk Racecourse is smart-casual, but the owners have no problem with anybody upping their sartorial game. Jackets and ties for gentlemen visitors are not mandatory but heartily welcomed, especially in the Premier Enclosure. Most events will permit under 18s free if accompanied by a paying adult.
The Paddock Enclosure is more relaxed, but certain restrictions will apply to the racecourse’s restaurants. If you plan to attend in fancy dress, contact the racecourse in advance for permission and guidance.
Thirsk Racecourse History
The racecourse officially opened its doors in 1875, though racing in the region dates back to far before this. Racing meets were held in Yorkshire as early as the 18th Century, with Thirsk a popular venue.
Thirsk was truly recognised as a viable location for the sport in 1855, when Squire Fredrick Bell built a racecourse on this land, Thirsk Hall. Friendly meetings and events were held, with a range of horses competing – including non-thoroughbreds.
The racecourse officially opened in 1875. The outbreak of The Great War in 1914 enforced closure until 1924, while WWII also saw a temporary hiatus. The site of Thirsk Racecourse became an army base for the Allied Forces. These days, Thirsk remains one of the most prominent racecourses in Yorkshire – and it also remains a family affair. The Bell family still own the course, with John Bell currently holding a position as director.
The Main Races and Meetings
As Thirsk does not run any National Hunt races, the fixture list is a little more condensed than some racecourses. All ticketed activities at Thirsk unfold during the summer season. The Thirsk Hunt Cup is the most prestigious event of the course, with prize money worth up to £50,000. The Summer Cup in August is another significant event in the Thirsk racing calendar.
A typical fixture list for Thirsk Racecourse will unfold as follows:
- April – Season opener and one evening racing meet.
- May – The Thirsk Hunt Cup raceday, one evening racing meet, and Irish Day.
- June – Two afternoon racing meets.
- July – One afternoon racing meet, and the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival.
- August – The Thirsk Summer Cup raceday, one evening racing meet and two Family Days.
- September – Ladies Day, and an afternoon racing meet to close out the season.
As always, these events are subject to changing dates and cancellation. It is always advisable to check with the racecourse before travelling to Yorkshire in case of amended schedules.
Thirsk Racecourse Map
The course is a left-handed oval track. It is a mile and a quarter round with a run-in of 4 furlongs. There is a straight six-furlong course. The round course is flat however the sprint track is slightly undulating. The track is on the sharp side.
Thirsk Racecourse Address
The official correspondence address is:
How to Get To Thirsk Races
- By car – if driving use the post code listed above in your Sat Nav. This should lead you directly to the racecourse car park. If you prefer to navigate the traditional way, the racecourse is found at the peak of the A61, which can be joined from the A1 or the A19. The course is clearly signposted throughout the local area.
- By rail – the easiest way to reach Thirsk through public transport is by rail. It’s a small station so you may need to change somewhere along your journey, though several major cities also run directly to Thirsk. The racecourse is a fifteen-minute walk from the station, but if you need a little assistance with mobility, a free shuttle service also operates on race days. Alternatively, take a train into York and use a traditional bus service. Route numbers 30 and 70 serve Thirsk Racecourse.
Hotels near Thirsk Racecourse
Thirsk may be a small town, but it is also a popular tourist destination. The attractions do not begin and end with the racecourse, so always book early when planning to attend. Thankfully, there are multiple options open to any visitor.
The Golden Fleece hotel is the closest accommodation to the racecourse and is widely regarded as the finest hotel in the area. There is also a Premier Inn found just a mile from the races, however, for anybody looking for a budget option. Slightly further afield, but offering breathtaking views, are the White Horse Lodge and The Angel at Topcliffe. If you cannot gain access to any of these hotels, station yourself in one of the many options in York and travel to Thirsk by train. We often recommend checking availability and options via Booking.com as below:
Other Events at the Course
The racecourse is a little smaller that some of the nation’s leading venues, so it tends not to host substantial events after hours. Two themed Family Days are tied with racing meets during August, though. Youngsters will be thrilled by the likes of Pirate Day and All Creatures Great and Small Day.
Naturally, it is also available for private hire. It’s a popular wedding and conference destination, especially during the off-season. As Thirsk does not host meets during the National Hunt season, the racecourse is widely available for hire between October to March.
Best Thirsk Races 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 horse racing customers as well as the best odds :
Thirsk Racecourse Fixtures
The current Thirsk race meetings for 2021 are:
- Thursday 3rd June – Evening Racing
- Tuesday 15th June – Afternoon Racing Featuring Royal Ascot
- Wednesday 30th June – Afternoon Racing
- Friday 23rd July – Griy Summer Festival
- Sunday 1st August – The William Hill Thirsk Summer Cup
- Friday 6th August – Afternoon Racing
- Friday 13th August – Evening Racing
- Friday 27th August – Afternoon Racing
- Saturday 4th September – Ladies’ Day
- Monday 13th September – Afternoon Racing
Thirsk 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 Thirsk:
Summary of Thirsk Races
A charming North Yorkshire course, Thirsk holds some quality racing on its round course and straight sprint track. The Thirsk Hunt Cup is undoubtedly the highlight of their season but most of the meetings have some quality racing and are well attended by locals and those from further afield. Something of an understated and lesser-known course, that shouldn’t diminish the great value, fun and value for money this course offers. It is most certainly worth a visit if you are a racing fan or just looking for a great day out.
Other Racecourses in The UK and Ireland
Our team as of June 2021 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit:
- Aintree Racecourse
- Ascot Racecourse
- Ayr Racecourse
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse Guide
- Bath Racecourse
- Beverley Racecourse
- Brighton Racecourse
- Carlisle Racecourse
- Cartmel Racecourse Guide
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse
- Cheltenham Racecourse
- Chepstow Racecourse
- Chester Racecourse
- Doncaster Racecourse
- Epsom Racecourse
- Exeter Racecourse
- Fakenham Racecourse Guide
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Racecourse
- Haydock Racecourse
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse
- Leicester Racecourse
- Lingfield Racecourse
- Ludlow Racecourse Guide
- Market Rasen Racecourse
- Musselburgh Racecourse
- Newbury Racecourse
- Newcastle Racecourse
- Newmarket Racecourse
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse
- Pontefract Racecourse Guide
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Royal Windsor Racecourse
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse
- Sedgefield Racecourse Guide
- Southwell Racecourse
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse
- Warwick Racecourse
- Wetherby Racecourse
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse
- York Racecourse