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At the weekend we were invited to have a day at Ascot’s Summer Mile Racing Weekend as part of the Great British Racing Under 18s Race Free campaign. We hadn’t been to the horse racing before so we were excited to take part in a real British tradition and have fun in the sun at the same time.
We arrived at Ascot in the late morning and were shown to our base for the day – a box in the King Edward VII enclosure with amazing views of the course. The whole of Ascot was already awash with people dressed up for the occasion, carrying picnics and buzzing with the excitement of the day. It was lovely to be a part of.
Before the races started we had an opportunity to go and see where the jockeys are weighed before competing and find out why this is so important. We also met jockey Nicola Currie who was happy to chat to us ahead of her two Ascot races. The children were so excited to meet her.
LP and Little Man got their first glimpse of the race horses and were picking out their favourites – usually by which one they thought was the prettiest! LP has always said she’d love to be a unicorn rider when she’s older but I think now that being a horse rider might come a close second!
A big part of our race day was the amount of fun activities there were for children. Great British Racing had put on a lot of activities for the children in our box – with a colouring wall, giant connect four and a buzz wire that made horse noises when you touched it!
Aside from that though there was so much entertainment for the children that everyone visiting Ascot could make use of. The children loved the rides that they could go on as many times as they liked – and the Helter Skelter was really popular too.
There were craft tents, shows, circus skills classes and even a marble run carved out of wood. There was face painting, story telling, giant games and even a gaming bus. It was so exciting for the children and completely free too!
Before one of the races we were taken onto the race course where we got to see the horses being loaded into the starting blocks and then rushing out as soon as the gates opened. We were then able to be at the finish line ready for the end of the race which was an incredible experience. We could see everyone on the other side of the course getting really into the race too. The buzz was contagious.
We watched so many races from up in the box, having a great view of the race course, chatting to the Great British Racing team and enjoying the food and drink on offer too. It was such a lovely day.
We’re now looking forward to going to other race days through the summer at local racecourses. We’ll be taking a picnic, enjoying the rides and soaking up the atmosphere knowing that the whole family will have a great day out.
Have you ever been to the racing? It’s a lovely family day out – even more so because under 18s go free with a paying adult to many fixtures throughout the year. There are 60 racecourses across the country with more than 200 fixtures including 50 special family days that include so many extra activities for families and young people. If you have a free weekend on your calendar this would definitely be worth a visit.
You can find out more about Under 18s Race Free and find a family race day near you here.