Family Day Out At Ascot
Family days out are as rare as hen’s teeth these days. One of us always has something on that means we can’t all do something together. And then when we do have time together, what the hell do we do that won’t mean somebody is bored within two seconds?
Horse racing. That’s what.
We are very lucky to live just a few miles away from Ascot Racecourse so go as often as we can. It also helps that Mr B works within an industry that often has the odd ticket he can nab. I grew up going to Burghley Horse Trials (don’t mention that it was about six years before I saw a horse because we spent all our time in the beer tent or buying things) and various point to point races so love having a day out at the horses.
You can imagine how thrilled I was last week then when we were invited to Ascot Racecourse’s “Country Fair” day on Mother’s Day. Not only because there was a great day’s racing but because there was a great package of entertainment laid on too. It really is the perfect day out. And suits every budget because under 16s go free!
There are 26 race days at Ascot, five are Royal Ascot in June and the rest are dotted throughout the year. A handful of those are designated “Family Days” where as well as the racing there is a real emphasis on family entertainment laid on too.
Yesterday for instance we had everything from a petting farm to Wallace and Gromit to pony rides. To climbing walls, to a ball pool. To the Lamb National. I kid you not. Lamb racing. It was hilarious. It was also possible to get up close and personal to an ex race horse and pick the brains of the owners which was a real treat. We recently spent the morning with the trainer Charlie Mann and Bruce got all sorts of information from him, it was such a treat. I was too busy taking photos of horses to pay much attention.
In fact (name drop alert) when we met James Nesbitt, Mr B spent the entire ten minutes asking James about his recent win at Cheltenham whilst I was just desperately trying to stop shouting “ERMAGERD IT’S JAMES BLOODY NESBITT”. Mr B knows about horses and studies the form ahead of every race, I just go for the daft names and pink silks.
Yesterday we were lucky enough to get behind the scenes and into the weighing room where all jockeys have to be weighed after the race, it’s also where the starter sits, and the judge, who’s decision on the race is final! Whilst outside the weighing room we had the perfect view of the parade ring and watched the horses walking around ahead of the race, and the jockeys appear to get their last instructions from the trainers.
It was also our privilege to judge the “best turned out” and let Godfrey the course official know who the lucky stable lad or lass was who would get the prize.
And then our final treat was to stand on the podium and present the prizes to the winning owners, jockey and trainer. I have watched that ceremony so many times, it was odd to think it was our turn! In fact last time we were at Ascot it was Liz Hurley and Shane Warne doing it! I was thrilled when the winning trainer turned out to be the one and only Nicky Henderson, a trainer I know well. Well not personally, obviously, but in horse racing circles the man is a legend!
So if you are looking for a family day out, I can wholeheartedly recommend a day at the races. If you are on a budget, take a picnic, if you can push the boat a bit more go for the grandstand, but either way you will have great fun and won’t break the bank.
Unless you don’t back the winner all day. But the less said about the better.
And then decide that having lost on four races you won’t put that fiver on the horse called “hey big spender” that sounded like it was your horse. And then watch it romp in at 22-1.
Yeah, let’s not talk about that!
Featured image of Ascot Racecourse courtesy of Shutterstock