Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (1 hour 30 minutes from London Paddington)
Bus from station is £4 single, £5 return.
Railway station to Racecourse (3.7 miles – take bus from station)
A main stand open to all and a number of corporate boxes along with a spectacular dining option on top of the very new Langridge stand. Glass fronted bars were busy (this was ladies’ day) but accessible and with food concessions available to suit all sorts, there were no shortage of places to eat and drink. Excellent little Betfred office to view other race tracks and get cash.
A multitude of options in stay in Bath, but this time we were in the Francis Hotel by MGallery which was heatily recommended.
As ARC members again we got in free, but tickets for all basic areas were £25 on the night
(2) Return before the challenge complete, but possibly not during Ladies day as it was a little busy.
19 August 2017– Tracks Visited: UK (34), Ireland (3), France (1), Barbados (1)
Bath was always going to be one of those iconic courses that we looked forward to visiting, but was going to take a bit of planning due to the distance from Hoof Mansions. In a parallel universe we would have combined it with a visit to nearby Chepstow or even Worcester, but as it was, the opportunity was there for an evening’s racing and we grasped the nettle firmly.
As this was a stopover, we got to the hotel in plenty of time, even with the M5 playing havoc with half of England’s holidays plans on that day. Once parked in the hotel car park in the last available space, all thought of driving to the track went out the window and we decided to take the shuttle bus from the station. At £5 return, this is a pretty good deal and allows you to meet fellow racegoers in a friendly and fairly buoyant mood before the off. The bus journey itself is an experience as if you have never been to the track before, you will not realise that it is at a very high elevation above the town and the top deck afforded us the most amazing views. In fact, It was so high, I wonder if we were actually higher above sea level than Brighton. Madam Hoof was looking to see if the horses were wearing breathing gear and we both thought it must have been a hell of an adventure for those first residents of bath making the climb on foot and in horse drawn carriages back in 1811.
The 1811 bar funnily enough is the hub of activity in the newer of the buildings, which has standard class punters on the ground floor and diners on the two floors above. The next time we come to the track we have promised ourselves the treat of dining on the top floor as the views must be spectacular. There are two other main bars, and of these, the hidden jewel is the Castle and Bell, hidden at the top of a winding spiral staircase. It is light, airy and a great escape from the wind.
I mention the wind as weather is a constant reference point in all our racing blogs. Track 37 in the UK and Ireland and yet again, it was dry, still only 2 rain days. The sun came and went, but the main element that took one’s attention was the wind. The elevation of the course and the lack of natural cover at this height, make this I imagine, a common factor to be dealt with when selecting racing attire, especially in the months outside high summer. Still we found enough places to duck into to warm up, including an excellent coffee bar with great hot chocolate.
In terms of good places to watch the race, there is one I will share for a couple of reasons. Right at the top of the grandstand, is the most perfect look-out point. Yes, you say, but I have to stand. But, I counter, it is well worth it for the view of the course. Apart from the very start of the longest races which you can also see on the two excellent repeaters screens opposite, there is almost none of the course that cannot be viewed from this veritable crow’s nest. For Madam Hoof’s benefit it is also wonderfully protected from the wind.
Overall, from the dialogue I had on email with Tom in marketing and PR through to the passion shown by every member of staff on the day, this is a well-oiled machine. My only criticism is the lack of card machine usage, which encouraged large queues at the cash machines, but this is common at tracks with less than 25 meetings a year. We will come back and soon as this is a delightful course attached to an even more delightful city.