Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (Kings Lynn or Norwich are closest)
Railway station to Racecourse (15 miles, taxi essential)
Taxis – From the Mill House we used Tiny’s who were excellent and cost effective. Also arranged to have them pick us up at the track afterwards.
The joy of this track is that it feels like getting back to what racing is all about. The stands are old and concrete, all standing. There is a long wooden bar reminiscent of a giant scout hut and everything was so friendly. There is a restaurant
We stayed at the Sculthorpe Mill, which if you get the chance is so worth doing. Quiet country pub with rooms and a killer menu. Really friendly manager (Ian) and lovely staff including Rosie who looked after us for breakfast. There are other mainstream hotel chains near by and other B&B options.
Day membership was Approximately 21 in advance. There were concessions available on the day. Not sure if they ever different in ticket types but as this was one of the biggest rtace days of the year this appeared to be the norm.
(2) Return before the end of the challenge
15th March 2019 – Tracks Visited: UK (60), Ireland (4), France (1), Barbados (1)
Madam Hoof and I have got into a bit of a habit around Cheltenham week. Two years ago, we went along to Ladies day as a guest of a corporate caterer on our Wedding Anniversary and had an amazing day. Since then we have visited a track on Gold Cup day each year, Lingfield in that year, Hexham last year and this year the delightful Fakenham. The restaurant was already full so we got seated in the overflow restaurant in the sports centre, which was an excellent choice.
Why excellent I hear you say, well for three reasons, the first of which is the wonderful view from our window table of the curve of the track as the horses enter the home straight. Secondly, the service we received was second to none. The food was good and the alcohol was very fairly priced (or maybe we are too used to London prices). We even got to meet Trudi who has organised our day for us and was a total advocate for this scenic track.
The final reason for enjoying our location was the proximity to the second to last hurdle and jump. Many tracks make it difficult for punters to move outside designated areas, which turns photography into a bit of a bit and miss pastime. At Fakenham, after a nice chat with the Racing Uk cameraman, I could walk around a lot of the outside to get far better shots that I had got at other larger tracks. This was honestly such a bonus and I hope the pictures show the difference.
The track itself is a joy, with a parade ring off to the left of the grandstand and in front of the last furlong. It’s a great place to get a seat and then be able to see the race. The bar and bookies are behind this and give a nice cadence to the day. There appear to be some corporate boxes at the far right of the main grandstand. It is a compact layout which makes everything just a short walk away. The other thing about the track is that it is easy to see the entire loop from almost anywhere around the track and from the first few steps of the grandstand there is a very good vista.
The races themselves are competitive, although smaller than many of the races we attend at Sandown or previously at Lingfield. But whatever your thoughts of the field size, the feel of jumps racing cannot be beaten. On Gold Cup we had all the excitement of Cheltenham on the TV, but all the atmosphere of being at a small passionately run track at the top of Norfolk. Both Madam Hoof and I agree this is one to come back to.
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