Donna Martin previews the Spring Family Raceday at Ascot – the highlight of the racing calendar for families on Sunday, 29th March.
From its humble beginnings as an ideal place for “horses to gallop at full stretch”, the first race at Ascot took place on 11th August 1711, and was open to any horse, mare or gelding over the age of six, with the winner taking home 100 guineas. The evolution of Ascot since that humble day has been nothing short of incredible, now hosting a smorgasbord of race days, events and festivals – and of course, Royal Ascot – each year.
When Ascot comes to mind, the first images that pop into your head might be of the royal family, a sea of hats and flowing Champagne, which might not be the right fit for the younger members of your family. That’s why Ascot has organised its Spring Family Racedays, giving mums and dads the opportunity to enjoy the thrill and luxury of Ascot races, while the children experience kid-friendly activities that would keep even the most fickle young’un happy – and it’s set to take place on 29th March.
The first family raceday of 2020 offers a thrilling combination of top-class Jumps racing and free countryside-themed activities for racegoers of all ages. The final fixture of Ascot’s 2019/20 Jumps season, the card features a mix of hurdles and chases for novices right through to veterans.
Families can enjoy a delightful Afternoon Tea in an exclusive space on the sixth floor of the Grandstand with guests enjoying the shared space for the day. Off the track, you can expect to learn rural skills, a photography safari, face painting, clip clop pony rides, jugglers, roaming entertainers including Peter Rabbit and the Gruffalo*, balloon modelers and much more.
Children can explore the racecourse in a safe environment with free fun attractions that have an educational slant. Central to its ethos is the importance of the countryside in our everyday lives, and enjoying the great outdoors.
Some things to look forward to at the Spring Family Raceday:
The Animal Arena
Watch action-packed displays from the Animal Arenas, featuring terrier and ferret racing, dog agility, the Quack Pack, falconry demonstrations and Clip Clop pony rides, with the Shetland Pony Grand National happening on the Trackside Lawns.
Meet farm animals
Come and meet a host of farm animals on the Queen Anne Lawn, including alpacas, goats, ducks, guinea pigs and donkeys.
The Rural Skills Area
Ascot’s iconic Bandstand lawns will be transformed into a countryside-themed educational area. Included in the line-up are a multitude of opportunities to learn about bygone country skills such as beekeeping and milking cows, and you have a chance to see a live chick hatching in the Pavilion.
Arts and crafts
A wide range of arts and crafts activities will be available throughout the day in the Ascot Pavilion. Returning for 2020 is the Animal Hospital, where children can learn what to do if they find a sick or injured animal. Also available is face painting, pot decoration, kids’ photography and soft play – the atmosphere promises to be exciting for all.
Roaming entertainers including Peter Rabbit and the Gruffalo along with Ascot favourites Merlin Bubbles, Scotty, The Greencoat Bear and Anton the Juggler will be on hand to delight the younger racegoers.
Families can join in on the fun during all four family racedays of the season for £70 per adult.
You can also choose to make the occasion truly unforgettable with a fine dining or hospitality package (starting from £146.40pp), and you can book Ascot vouchers online, so you’re ready to make the most of your day.
Click here for more information and tickets to Ascot Spring Family Raceday.
* Peter Rabbit and the Gruffalo will appear at intervals throughout the day.
Other upcoming events at Ascot in 2020:
Royal Ascot Trials Day: 29 April
May Racing Weekend: 8-9 May
Royal Ascot: 16-20 June
Summer Mile Racing Weekend: 10-11 July
King George Diamond Weekend: 24-25 July
Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and Concert: 8 August
Italian Tourist Board Festival of Food and Win Racing Weekend: 4-5 September