Thirsk Racecourse Guide

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Welcome to our official guide to Thirsk Racecourse.

We explore this great North Yorkshire race course in detail, looking at its history, the best local hotel picks, current fixtures, handy travel information, and betting guides.

If you are looking for the latest betting tips for Thirsk, check out our full guide to Thirsk Racecourse tips.

Find out more about Thirsk Racecourse:

Thirsk Racecourse Guide

Overview of Thirsk Racecourse

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 its 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 at Thirsk Racecourse

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 change dates and cancellations. It is always advisable to check with the racecourse before travelling to Yorkshire in case of amended schedules.

Thirsk Racecourse Map

Below is a map of Thirsk Racecourse:

Thirsk Racecouse 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 address of Thirsk Racecourse is:

Thirsk Racecourse
Station Road
North Yorkshire

How to Get To Thirsk Races

The ways to get to Thirsk Races are:

  • By car – if driving use the postcode (Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1QL) 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.
  • Shuttle bus – the racecourse offer a free shuttle bus to the town centre.

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.

Other Events at the Thirsk Racecourse

The racecourse is a little smaller than 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

We often recommend betting online and via betting 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 great deals on this page, with some amazing offers for new horse racing customers as well as the best odds.

All of the above made our list of the best betting sites in the UK. Don’t forget if you have won on a bet to use our free bet calculator.

Thirsk Races 2024

Here is the horse racing calendar for Thirsk Races in 2024:


Check out our guide for the full list of UK horse racing fixtures in 2024.

Thirsk Racecard

The racecards for Thirsk races will be released the day before the races are set to happen. You can view full racecards in advance, check out  – tomorrow’s horse racing meetings and today’s horse racing meetings. In these, you will get an advance look at all the runners, trainers, form and riders.

You can also of course purchase a racecard from the track which carries much of the same useful information. Many like to keep these as souvenirs, especially from big horse racing events.

Popular Questions

✅What is the address for Thirsk Races?

The address of Thirsk Racecourse is:

Thirsk Racecourse
Station Road
North Yorkshire

✅What is the dress code for Thirsk Races?

The unofficial dress code for Thirsk Racecourse is smart-casual.

Jackets and ties for gentlemen visitors are not mandatory but heartily welcomed, especially in the Premier Enclosure.

✅Who owns Thirsk Racecourse?

Thirsk Racecourse is owned by the Bell family.

✅How much does it cost for Hospitality at Thirsk Races?

Hospitality costs at Thirsk Races vary depending on the enclosure and what you are looking for.

It is best to contact the course directly for packages.

✅Is there a Dress Code at Thirsk Races?

The unofficial dress code for Thirsk Racecourse is smart-casual.

✅Where can I stay near Thirsk Racecourse?

There are lots of lovely hotels near Thirsk Racecourse where you can stay.

Check out our guide where we review the best ones.

Summary of Thirsk Racecourse

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.