The UK is blessed with a host of amazing horse racing courses spread right across the country, each very different and all offering their own unique charm. But which are considered as the best horse tracks and what justifies such as a title?
Well, fear not, our teams have visited, researched and reviewed every single British Racecourse looking at a whole range of factors including the track, main races, customer service, local hotels, food and drink, ease of travel and more so that you can plan a perfect day the races.
So sit back and check out our current top ten list which looks at both National Hunt and flat racing courses:
Top 10 Racecourses in the UK
If you have any further info or you think there’s a course we have missed please do drop us a message. The list is not in any order of preference!
How could Cheltenham racecourse not make the list? The HQ of national hunt racing, the home of the Cheltenham Festival and the Gold Cup, it is a stunning natural amphitheatre of a venue. Set in the beautiful Cotswold Hills with knowledgeable crowds, top-class horses, drama and steeped in history, it is a must for any racing fan. When visiting we would recommend you go for a few days and enjoy a full meeting so you can soak up the atmosphere of the town and really appreciate the experience, whether that is to the Cheltenham Festival or one of the smaller meetings.
The home of the Grand National and a racecourse at the heart of the vibrant and fun-loving city of Liverpool. The crowds at Aintree racecourse are always bright, colourful and up for it, plus the horse racing is top class. The national course is known the world over as the ultimate test of any National Hunt horse – it is a track where history and legends are made. It’s perfect for a day out with friends and every racing fan needs to see the Grand National ran live once in their lifetime!
The oldest course in the world had to make the list! Set within ancient Roman surroundings and with a tight whizzing track, Chester is a firm favourite with race-goers of all ages and thoroughbred racing has been taking place there for centuries! A day at Chester Races isn’t just about the racing but it’s a fabulous social occasion, the crowds look great, families are well looked after, plus food and drink options are superb. So if you are looking for great racing and an amazing social occasion to boot – Chester is for you!
The true Royal Course and the home of Royal Ascot – one of the most prestigious social events held anywhere in the world annually – Ascot racecourse is a beautiful venue. Attended every year by Queen Elizabeth herself and other members of the Royal Family, many of the races are named after Royalty, such as the Queen Anne Stakes and Prince of Wales Stakes. However, a day at the Ascot races is more than a posh day out, hosting flat and National Hunt racing throughout the year the venue has had a multi-million make-over, its hospitality is outstanding, crowds beautiful, travel easy and it has seen the best horses in the world take to its turf. A top pick.
A jewel in the crowd of Yorkshire, a day at York Races is like no others and easily made into our Top 10 Racecourses. With a history dating back to the 1700s, it still hosts a clutch of top Group 1 races throughout the year including the Nunthorpe Stakes over 5 furlongs – a race which attracts the top sprinting talent from the world over! York also hosts the brilliant Ebor Meeting with the Ebor itself the richest handicap in Europe with a prize pool of over 1 million pounds! If you are looking for a racecourse with charm, character, history and class, York is for you.
Of course Newmarket made the list! Recognised as the home of flat racing, the town is dedicated to thoroughbred horse racing and it seems that everywhere you turn and everyone you speak to works in the industry; the town is always buzzing. Similar to Cheltenham it is somewhere that any horse racing fan should take a few days visiting to really soak it all up. With two courses, loads of amazing races (including the 2000 Guineas, the first leg of the UK triple crown) and the biggest concentration of training yards in the UK, it’s a special place. Enjoy!
The home of Glorious Goodwood – a superb and iconic flat racing festival held in British Summertime – Goodwood racecourse is a beautiful track set in the picturesque English countryside. A natural amphitheatre for the sport with rolling hills, it has seen superb performances by many horses and jockeys over the years in everything from the Sussex Stakes to the Goodwood Gold Cup. Similar to Wimbledon and Royal Ascot, the Glorious Goodwood Festival is seen as a social must-do for many, it’s a truly fantastic event.
A dual-purpose racecourse sandwiched between Manchester and Liverpool which hosts racing throughout the year, on both the flat and National Hunt, Haydock Park is a fun, galloping course attracting great fun crowds from the surrounding areas. Evening meetings are particularly great and well-attended. Easy transport links, top quality racing, great customer services and buzzing crowds often see Haydock as an under-rated course but we think its a hidden gem.
The home of the Epsom Derby (the second leg of the triple crown), on the stunning Epsom Downs, this is a racecourse to saviour. The Derby meeting itself is attended by thousands in the stands and enclosures, as well as thousands in the centre of the course who picnic and enjoy the horse racing and occasion in a more relaxed way. Epsom is regarded as the ultimate test of any thoroughbred horse with its climbs, tight bends and downhill runs. Whether you are choosing to attend for the Derby or Oaks, or a more relaxed evening summer meeting, Epsom is a course which is welcoming, friendly and popular.
A small track within a stone’s throw of Windsor Castle, it is best known for its wonderful intimate evening meetings held in summer (often with Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family in attendance). An unusual figure of 8 racecourse, where horses turn left and right, Windsor may be a tiny racecourse but that means you are close to the action at all times. The food and drink options are superb and you can even get to the course by boat along the Thames – what a way to spend a beautiful English summer evening
Summary of the Top 10 UK Racecourses
So that concludes our current list of the Top 10 Racecourses in the UK which has looked at both flat and National Hunt tracks, it was last updated in July 2020 – our teams here regularly make sure the reviews are accurate but if you would like more information contact us today or read our more in-depth guides which look at courses from Cartmel to Cheltenham racecourse, Ascot to Bangor – and everything else in between.
Enjoy your day at the races!