Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (2 hours, 40 minutes)
Railway station to Racecourse (1.5 miles)
Taxis in reasonable supply at station, less plentiful at track
Two main stands, one containing the restaurant and bar for premier ticket holders. A further number of bars under and around the gransdstand, including Hoops champagne lawn bar. Good selection of fast food vendors and sufficient Tote coverage everywhere.
Many options in town, including the very popular caravan site as this is a summer only track.
Free for members of ARC, variety of premier and non-premier ticket options and a family fun day for August Bank holiday.
(1) Return after challenge complete
26th July 2018– UK Tracks Visited (47), Irish Tracks Visited (3), ROW (2)
Madam Hoof and myself are huge fans of the UK railway network and the practice of booking advanced tickets to travel to the far-flung corners of this sceptred isle so to us it seemed the most logical choice of transport to travel to the most Easterly course by train. That of course does not take into account the Hottest summer since 1976, the unreliability of modern trains and the vagaries of the timetable once one train gets cancelled. Arriving at Liverpool Street for the 9.30 train we are told it is cancelled due to a train fault. This means by the time we get the next train, we have missed out connection at Norwich to get to Great Yarmouth. Add to this a shortened form, no aircon and no first-class seats and you end up with two very soggy racing enthusiasts.
All things being equal, we made the best of things as is our want and bumped in to a lovely retired couple who were also travelling by train to the races and had been delayed on another route. This seemed to be a familiar theme throughout the day. The experience of a 40-minute journey with them in the carriage with 80 degrees of heat but about 90% humidity was something akin to sharing a Swedish Sauna with them. We saw the funny side however and chatted as the flat fenland countryside slipped by on our way to the seaside.
Once you get to the track, the four of is having shared a cab (Just so much like racing folk to do), you cannot fail to be impressed with the set-up and the layout. Loads of open space, sufficient bars and food places to eat at and a good number of well-informed officials, made the place run like clockwork. We had booked dinner in the Trafalgar restaurant and we should make a special note about this. Sometimes one feels that you are jostled and cajoled to eat your food at racetracks to their timetable. This was one of the best trackside restaurant experiences Madam Hoof and I have experienced. Having arrived an hour later than we would have wished, the staff were happy to let us graze at our own pace and we were entertained by Luke who looked after our drinks orders. The terrace outside the restaurant and the bar next door gives a commanding view of the last four or five furlongs of the track and the repeater screens give you sufficient view of the rest of the track to be able to track your ponies.
The parade ring, a manicured affair with beautiful rose bushes (albeit suffering from the heat a little) is a fair size for a smaller track and gave an excellent view of the horses and riders. The whole process did not feel at all hurried. The ring sits off to the right of the restaurant and can be viewed through a large picture window if the summer is more typical than the current one. The location made it easy for all types of ticket holders to view the horses but there were no obvious issues with the usual tidal-flow of people one sees when the parade ring is behind the stands.
Overall, a fabulous day of racing, made all the more special by the dining staff and the well-oiled professionals running the event. I would highly recommend and we will return after the challenge is complete.
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