Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (2 hours)
Railway station to Racecourse (2 miles) – Two coaches at two hours before, chaos at track when trying to return. Much congestion impacted taxis too.
Taxis – Expensive and should pre-book. We walked back to town via a far quicker route:
Two main stands, one for premier, one for non-premier, but on the day, the entire track was open. Two main bars, but insufficient for the number of race goers. Small number of concession stands.
We stayed in Blorenge House in town, but many options available and we would suggest the Castle Hotel.
Single entry type on the day which includes a pre-paid discount and a race card
(0) Do not Return.
30th December 2018– Tracks Visited: UK (56), Ireland (4), France (1), Barbados (1)
The day at Taunton was an odd one. When Racetracks say they offer a shuttle bus from the station, we assume that is something that is well advertised and sign posted, and also runs more than once. At Taunton station the staff seemed almost oblivious to the feature and could not tell us that we had missed the bus as it only ran once. Also, for the 2500 advanced internet sales, putting on just two 77- seater buses seemed to be ill conceived.
In the end we resorted to a taxi to get the “2 miles” out of town to the tune of almost 20 quid due to the 1 mile of more of congestion. We have only seen access to a track as bad as this at Salisbury before. The way back was even more tortuous as the bus back did not turn up on time and after a 25-minute wait, we decided to walk back to town via the most direct route, which was quicker than waiting for any public transport. The issues with getting to and from the track alone would make us think twice about returning.
The thing is, this sounds quite negative, but the actual racing was good as were the views if you could find somewhere to stand and also buy a drink. If a track knows it has so many advanced sales for a big day, it needs to add more facilities. The main bar was regularly 4 people deep waiting to get served and although there was a bottle bar outside, it too struggled to cope.
Anyway, back to the racing, which was easy to view and by coming to the end of the parade ring, I managed to get some good shots of the action. Good jockeys, good horses and full race cards are exactly what we come to the races for and with a very small number of non-runners, this was jump racing at its best. If we were to come back we would probably do it through hospitality, get a seat in the restaurant, or alternatively, come on a quitter day when the racing is the only game in town, not crowd control or bar room strategies.