Visiting Royal Ascot

Visiting Royal Ascot is always exciting, a wonderful day out during the iconic British Summer ‘Season’.

Visiting Royal Ascot
Britain’s most popular and fashionable horseracing event, Royal Ascot, is being held in the pretty Berkshire town of Ascot this week. Visiting Royal Ascot is always a fun day out, a great opportunity to dress up, people watch and enjoy some fantastic horse racing. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to see the Royal Family close up.

Visiting Royal Ascot
Her Majesty The Queen traditionally attends every day of Royal Ascot. As an owner and breeder of racehorses, Her Majesty takes a keen interest in the races, both at Ascot and elsewhere. My husband took the photograph above at Royal Ascot a couple of years ago. It felt like the Queen smiled right at us that day – but then I’m told she has a knack for making everyone feel like that!

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Visiting Royal Ascot

HRH Prince Andrew (on the left) presenting one of the trophies to a winning horse’s owner.

Other members of the Royal Family attend Royal Ascot too, and many celebrities enjoy visiting Royal Ascot. The best place to see them is in the Grandstand on their way to the Royal Box or speaking to the media just after the entrance to the race course.

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Hints and Tips for Visiting Royal Ascot

Ready to head off to the races a couple of years ago – we have both lost a lot of weight since this photo was taken!

As a very traditional race meeting, there are strict dress codes at Royal Ascot. These vary depending on your category of admission.

Windsor Enclosure

Tickets for The Windsor Enclosure (formerly known as the Silver Ring) offer a view of the start of the daily Royal Procession and the races. Racegoers here are ‘encouraged to wear smart clothes’, however there is no actual dress code other than that ‘replica sports shirts are not permitted’. Windsor Enclosure ticket holders must stay in their designated area, which is somewhat restricted.

Queen Anne Enclosure

From experience, I recommend the Queen Anne Enclosure which allows access everywhere except the Royal Enclosure.  There is an opportunity to upgrade your ticket and access some of the more elegant catering options at Ascot. Ladies in the Queen Anne Enclosure (formerly the Grandstand) must dress for a formal occasion and wear a hat, headpiece or fascinator at all times. Formal trousers must be full length and strapless or sheer tops or dresses are not allowed. Gentlemen must wear a suit with a shirt and tie. 

The Royal Enclosure

The Royal Enclosure is by invitation only and the dress code is extremely strict. Morning dress (a specific, formal suit which must include a waistcoat and tie, black or grey top hat and black shoes) is the sole option for men. Ladies must wear dresses that fall just above the knee or lower, with shoulder straps of no less than one inch. Trousers suits are allowed but only if the trousers and jacket are of matching materials. Hats – or headpieces with a solid base of at least four inches – are obligatory (fascinators are not allowed).

Visiting Royal Ascot – Ladies’ Day

The most popular day for visiting Royal Ascot is the third day – traditionally known as Ladies’ Day. This is the day when the Gold Cup, one of the most important races in the British horse racing calendar, is held. Designer creations and extravagant hats take centre stage as ladies from around the world vie for the attention of race goers and the press.

Visiting Ascot
Whether you are a fan of horseracing or not, visiting Royal Ascot is an experience you will never forget. Here are my tips to help make your visit more enjoyable:

Visiting Royal Ascot – Helpful Tips

Visit the Royal Ascot website early to sign up for notification when tickets go on sale. Tickets sell out fast and early bird pricing is generally available.

Plan and book your day fully in advance as early as possible for access to the best restaurants and accommodation.

If you are on a budget, consider one of the pre-bookable picnics as they are considerably less expensive than the restaurants,  and in my experience very good quality.

To get the best view of the Royal Procession, which starts at 2pm, arrive early to get a good position.

Treat yourself to a striking new hat (if you are a lady that is!) I love hats and can never resist a pretty one.

Consider attending a day other than Ladies’ Day – While Ladies’ Day is a wonderful experience it is incredibly busy and later in the day things can get quite raucous. All the days of racing at Royal Ascot are great fun.

Travel by train to Ascot – The traffic jams during Royal Ascot are the stuff of legend. Believe me, I’ve sat in them.

Royal Ascot is a colourful, exciting day out and a real glimpse into the celebrations of the ‘London Season’. If you do have the chance to attend, it really is not to be missed!

More Posts About British Summer Events

More Than Just Tennis at Wimbledon

The Henley Royal Regatta

The Chelsea Flower Show

Please note: Do check the dress code before attending Royal Ascot as the rules have been known to change year to year.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.
April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.
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  1. I absolutely loved reading about this event. Since I’m not from England, I’m not very familiar with this event. I had no idea about how dressy the event was. Love your outfit!!

  2. jessica says:

    I love the hat! I just went to the races for the first time last week (in Australia)– so much fun!

  3. You looked fantastic and it’s a lovely rundown of Ascot. I went once and saw the Queen as well 🙂

  4. Looks like you got an invite to the Royal Enclosure, April =) It does look like QEII is smiling straight at your husband…And why not? You’re a beautiful couple! P.s. Makes me think again of all the similarities between the British and the Americans….After all the Kentucky Derby is also about horses, fashion and hats!

    • Thank you so much, Kim! It wasn’t quite the Royal Enclosure, but we did get up really close 🙂 Thank you so much for the lovely compliment! I’d love to attend the Kentucky Derby – I remember watching it on television when I was a little girl in Canada!

  5. What fun, April! And if I were going, I’d definitely appreciate your tips, such as opting for the Queen Anne Enclosure and avoiding Ladies’ Day and driving.

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