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A brief guide to Royal Ascot 2019

The Queen and Prince Philip attend Ascot

What is Royal Ascot?

Royal Ascot is an annual five-day horse racing event, taking place at Ascot racecourse, which features a daily royal procession as part of the proceedings. The very first royal meeting took place in 1768, and it is now the UK’s most popular race meeting, welcoming over 300,000 attendees annually.

Royal Ascot is also the UK’s most valuable race meeting, attracting some of the world’s finest racehorses, with £7.3 million in prize money being offered in 2018!

The event is a firm favourite in many people’s social calendars with Michelin-star quality food on offer, live music playing throughout the five days and a whirlwind of celebrities and international media attention.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets for Royal Ascot can be bought online and range in price depending on what type of package you would like to experience.  

For 2019, Windsor Enclosure tickets start from £37.00 for a one-day ticket - this is the most cost-effective and informal way in which to enjoy the event. If you want something a little more special, then the Queen Anne Enclosure offers fine-dining options, a more formal dress code and communal singing around the bandstand after the last race. For those wanting the ultimate royal experience, then a Royal Ascot Pavilion hospitality package can be booked, which includes car parking, food and refreshments to enhance your day.  

Membership into the Royal Enclosure at Ascot is still by invitation only, so you can’t buy tickets online for this unfortunately.

How do I get there?

Ascot racecourse is located just off the M4 Junction 6, on the A332 Windsor bypass. There are more than 8,000 car parking spaces available, so if you do choose to drive then you should be able to find a spot. Take note that pre-booked car parking spaces need to be booked at least five days in advance of the race day, otherwise you will have to take a chance and pay cash on the day.

If you are travelling by train from the north on Grand Central trains, then you will need to first get a train to London Kings Cross Station. From here, you will need to make your way to Waterloo station, where you can get a South Western train to Ascot station. The train journey is just under 30 minutes from Waterloo and train times are very frequent during the Royal Ascot event. Make sure you check out the train timetable in advance for the most suitable train times to ensure you arrive in time for the first race!

What should I wear?

Royal Ascot is famous for its guests’ ultra-chic outfits, eye-catching statement hats and glamourous shoes and accessories. The best dressed visitors are regularly covered by the national printed and online press throughout the five days.

The specific dress code rules will depend on which enclosure you purchase tickets into, but in general the rules are – go smart or go home!

For those in the Windsor Enclosure, it is ‘recommended’ that ladies wear smart attire with a hat or fascinator, while gentlemen should wear full-length trousers, a shirt with collar and a jacket. No fancy dress or branded clothing is ever allowed in the grounds.

For guests in the Queen Anne Enclosure, headwear is essential and there are strict bans on strapless dresses, sheer fabrics, and outfits which display a midriff. Men need to wear jackets and trousers of a matching colour and pattern and a tie must be worn at all times. No chinos, jeans or trainers (however trendy they might be) are allowed at any time.

Guests who are lucky enough to have been invited into the Royal Enclosure will need to keep to even more rules when it comes to dressing for the occasion! Dresses and skirts must be below the knee, dress straps must be one-inch thick or wider and hats should be worn which have a solid base of 10cm or more. Men need to wear a waistcoat and tie, a black or grey top hat and black shoes worn with socks.

Fear not if this is filling you with the slightest dread about what to wear for the event as Royal Ascot has partnered with Cunard for 2019 to offer a dedicated and comprehensive style guide, steering you in the right direction of what (and not) to wear on the day. Read this before planning your outfit and you should be totally prepared for every enclosure eventuality!

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