Horse racing is one of the most popular sports and proudly bears a long and rich history that dates back to ancient civilizations all across the world. Thrill comes when the magnificent creatures reach amazing speeds, when one participates in the wagering, or even simply enjoys the atmosphere created by the communal aspect of watching the races. And the best place to relish in these experiences is at the fantastic annual event in England – Royal Ascot.
This event takes place at the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England, which was founded by Queen Anne in 1711, who saw the potential for “horses to gallop at full stretch” at an open heath in East Cote. The racecourse was officially inaugurated on August 11th of the same year by hosting the first race, aptly called “Her Majesty’s Plate”. From then on, over the past 300 years, Royal Ascot has become the centerpiece of the British summer calendar and the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world.
The event takes place over the course of five days, each of which begin at 2pm with the Royal Procession, a tradition that began in 1825 by King George IV, where the Queen and other member of the Royal family arrive down the straight mile in the Royal Landaus, accompanied by the National Anthem and the raising of the Royal Standard. The first day always takes place on a Tuesday, with the first race being “The Queen Anne Stakes”, as tradition dictates.
However, the most memorable day is the third day of the event, always on a Thursday, due to most prestigious race taking place – The Gold Cup, which consists of over two-and-a-half miles where the world’s most elite long-distance horses participate in a test of endurance. This day is colloquially called “Ladies Day”, as the event’s reputation for sartorial excellence is taken to a higher level through designer creations and millinery masterpieces take center stage.
Royal Ascot seeks to maintain a timeless appeal through elegance, and as such, the racecourse has four different enclosures, each of which has a different Dress Code. The most famous one is the Royal Enclosure, where new applicants must be sponsored by two eligible Members, and where the strictest Dress Code can be seen, as ladies are required to wear formal daywear and a hat or headpiece, and men can be seen sporting morning dress, which include the characteristic waistcoat and top hat.
The Queen Anne Enclosure is not as exclusive as the Royal Enclosure, and the Dress Code is slightly less strict but incredibly formal nonetheless. Badge holders of this enclosure can participate in the traditional singing around the bandstand and fine dining.
Besides providing informal and flexible dining options throughout the event, guests can also enjoy Fine Dining à la carte menus by Michelin-starred chefs such as Raymond Blanc OBE, Simon Rogan, and Ollie Dabbous. These restaurants host uninterrupted views over various parts of the track. At the Royal Enclosure one can find the Parade Ring Restaurant, the Panoramic Restaurant, and the Trackside Restaurant, while the Queen Anne Enclosure holds the On 5 and the Wolferton Restaurant.
Whether you attend the Royal Ascot one day or all week, you are sure to have a fabulous time. The Fine Dining experiences are sure to be most enjoyable with their culinary creations and uninterrupted views perfect for such an exclusive atmosphere. The general luxury and dress codes complete the experience and create a timeless and unmissable event fit for royalty.