Flat, Hurdles, Fences
Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (4 hours from London Approximately)
Bus from Railway station or bus station on race days
Taxis are not that plentiful and it worth booking in advance. EcoCabs are pretty reliable and the costs are not extreme.
There is a paddock and grandstand area, and also a corporate suite. But the best location is the dining experience in the panoramic restaurant. Even on a day with ropey weather, the view is amazing, see full text for more.
We stayed in Newcastle for two nights at the Royal Station hotel. The splendid beast may have seen better days, but it still quite a spectacle and has the most stunning tile work and chandeliers. It is more definitely value for money for an overnight stay.
Grandstand, Paddock and dining options. The price of tickets is likely to vary per meeting.
(2) Return before challenge complete. We loved this place so much we would even consider membership
15 March 2018– UK (42), Irish (3), Rest of the World (2)
Hexham, take two. We booked for a racing lunch on our trip across the North East in December and unfortunately even though it was a marvellous introduction to the area, we did not get to see any racing due to the snow and ice. The fact that one week ago there was still snow on the course and based on video from our cab driver there were car high snow drifts merely days ago, we are very grateful things went ahead as planned.
Being anywhere watching racing when Cheltenham is on, is special, but to be at the most scenic racecourse in the country made it doubly so. It is a shame the that nearby hills did have a habit of disappearing in the rain on the day, but with brief clear spells, it became increasingly obvious why everyone from Ayr to Beverly has told us we must visit Hexham. For those who have not been, let me explain. The course sits in a natural amphitheatre and is surrounded by the most spectacular range of hills. Everything is verdant and in the centre of the course off to the right is a picturesque lake.
The dining experience, whilst providing a good value location for the day and a nice three course lunch was somewhat chaotic in terms of front of house. It appears this was the first outing for the new caterers and after a power cut just before start of service, everything was a little confused. No wine lists and only one unknown champagne is a little unusual and certainly incurred the wrath of Madam Hoof. But the experience is still one to be repeated and I imagine the new team will get the gremlins rubbed out pretty quickly as our congenial front of house discussed with us.
The track itself is a delight in terms of visibility. As described, the layout lends itself to being able to see almost the entire track (certainly from the panoramic restaurant). There are several tracks in the UK we will not return to due to poor visibility, this is certainly not the case here. In fact between this visit and the abortive attempt in December, we have already grown to love the area and especially Hexham and its environs.
A slightly tricky note was the bus service to the track. We were told that there were would be more than one bus, but as we walked down the hill to see it pulling away, we were informed by security staff that this was the only one. With a struggling taxi service, there needs to be a better way to get back to town. In the end, the friendliness of the locals made it all a bit of fun, and we shared our eventual cab with two guys back to the city. However, waiting in the open, in the rain could have quickly become quite boring.
I have noted a couple of points to be improved, but the overall view of this track is not only one that could be revisited, but in fact one that we WILL revisit before the end of the challenge, however, with our current luck with the weather, we may wait for the summer.