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Last month we went to our very first day at the races – a family fun day at Ascot Racecourse. The children were really excited to go to another family fun day as soon as possible so yesterday we went to Goodwood Racecourse to see what their family fun day would be like.
Thanks to Great British Racing, under 18s are admitted free of charge to the vast majority of fixtures at 60 racecourses across the country throughout the year when accompanied by a paying adult. This makes a day at the races such an affordable day out and one that the whole family can enjoy.
We arrived at Goodwood Racecourse at 11:30am when the gates opened and parked easily. Free parking is available but we paid £5 to park a little closer to the entrance as it was such a hot day and we knew the children would be tired later. We picked up our tickets and were soon in the Gordon Enclosure starting our day.
Our race day package included meals and a drink for Dave and I as well as a racecard that has details of all the races, horses, jockeys etc as well as a map of the racecourse and details of all the facilities and entertainment on offer. The children loved looking through the racecard and picking their favourite horses for each race based on their names and jersey colours. It’s definitely something the whole family can get involved with.
After getting our bearings and looking at the race times we made our way to the all of the family fun which was all located in the Lennox Enclosure. It was full of families having picnics, relaxing in the sun and making the most of the activities on offer.
The children loved the petting farm and soon made friends with Flora the pony. The animals were all well cared for and the children loved the mix of chicks, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep and goats. It was definitely something they weren’t expecting to see at a racecourse!
We spent some time in a circus skills tent being shown how to juggle, spin plates and walk on stilts. It was all inside so a great place to have some time out of the sun and learn something new in the process.
I think the children’s favourite part of the day was the traditional fun fair. There was a carousel, a helter skelter, a ferris wheel and train for the children to go on. They could queue up and ride as many times as they liked, all included in the family fun day admission price.
One thing we really didn’t think there would be at the races was an adventure playground. But, there was a really big one – thanks to Butlins – along with deckchairs to relax in. The children could easily have spent all afternoon in the play area and it was a lovely addition to our day out.
When the races started we watched from our enclosure, standing at the side of the track as the horses ran past. The atmosphere was electric with everyone cheering for the horses and the children loved taking it all in and watching through their binoculars. The children picked a favourite horse for each race and Little Man’s horse won on the second race we watched – you can imagine just how excited that made him.
We had lunch in the Gordon Enclosure Sussex Canteen restaurant which had a simple menu of burritos or fish and chips and goujons and chips for the children.
After lunch we carried on watching the races and the children had another look at the petting farm before having donkey rides. I was really impressed at the amount of activities that Goodwood Racecourse had put on for the children at no extra cost to attendees. It really was lovely.
Our day finished watching live music on the green and spending time watching the horses in the parade ring. The children always love seeing the horses up close and this time they got to see them cooled down with buckets of water too.
We loved our day at Goodwood Racecourse and I know it won’t be the last family fun day we attend. A day at the races is always such a lovely day out, something the children really enjoy and also a great excuse to get friends and family together too.
If you’re looking for something to do with the children before the end of the summer or on a weekend or school holiday throughout the year then why not see if there are any fixtures at a racecourse near you? Over the summer holidays there are more than 200 fixtures up and down the country, which includes 50 special family days with fantastic activities put on for families and young people.
You can find out more about ‘Under 18s Race Free’ and find a racecourse near you here.