With four days free to enjoy all the great things that Britain has on offer, there is no better place to start than with one of the country’s most celebrated sports; horseracing.
The bumper bank holiday sees Family Fundays galore, with fifteen horseracing fixtures to enjoy, many including extra entertainment from Fun Fairs and Easter Egg Hunts, to post-racing Pop Concerts. If that hasn’t convinced you to take a trip to the countryside, then perhaps the fact that children under the age of 16 GO FREE to every British racecourse might seal the deal!
In addition to the on-track action, there’s also the chance to get up-close-and-personal with some of the greatest racehorses in the country, as two major horseracing training towns – Lambourn in Berkshire and Middleham in Yorkshire – open their doors to the public on Good Friday, with many top trainers offering the chance to have an exclusive look behind-the-scenes.
Here’s our greatest picks to help you plan your Easter diary…
Good Friday 6th April
The Betfair Lambourn Open Day will once again see over 30 Racing Yards open their doors to the public in the Berkshire village of Lambourn, home to some 2,000 thoroughbreds, offering visitors an unrivalled insight into the world-renowned racehorse training facilities in the ‘Valley of the Racehorse’. Visitors will have the chance to meet the trainers, the staff and, of course, the racehorses, with those signed up including Nicky Henderson, Charlie Hills and Harry Dunlop. The afternoon also brings with it a host of fun and games for all the family, from Camel Racing, Equine Displays and Falconry. The Yards open their doors from 8.30am until 1pm, with the afternoon entertainment kicking off at 1pm. See www.lambourn.info for further information.
Middleham Open Day offers the chance to have a privileged look behind the usually closed doors of some of the leading Flat and Jump Racing Trainers based in North Yorkshire. You don’t need to be a racing enthusiast as there really is something for everyone, from meeting the equine personalities to learning first-hand what goes in to training a top-level racehorse. 14 Yards will be opening their gates to the public from 9.30am, with a host of top local trainers participating in the great day. In the afternoon, the fun continues when a number of professional jockeys will take on local Pony Club members from Bedale & West of Yore in a Speed Derby Trial, jumping against the clock. For more information visit www.middlehamstablesopenday2012.co.uk.
Saturday 7th April
Carlisle Racecourse hosts an Easter egg-stravaganza with Children’s Entertainers, Face Painters and Fairground Rides, all taking place alongside some great horseracing action!
o Tickets from just £12.00 and accompanied children under 16 go free
o For more information visit: www.carlisle-races.co.uk
Haydock Park Racecourse is hosting an action-packed day of racing for the adults, coupled with plenty of free entertainment to keep the children occupied, including an Enchanted Garden Craft Workshop, Easter Egg Hunt, Face Painters and Pony Rides.
o Tickets from just £13.00 and children under 18 go free
o For more information visit: www.haydock-park.co.uk
If you’re located further south, head to Kempton Park Racecourse for Family Fun Day, where you can introduce your children to popular TV characters, Peppa Pig and George and watch the racing as a family – all just a stone’s throw from central London.
o Tickets from just £12.80 and children under 18 go free!
o For more information visit: www.kempton.co.uk
Sunday 8th April
Plumpton Racecourse’s two-day Easter Family Festival is an ideal day out for all the family, with competitive racing action and children’s entertainment, including a traditional Funfair in the centre of the racecourse, an Easter Egg Giveaway, Face Painting and an Easter Bonnet competition, with prizes for the most creative festive design!
o Tickets from as little as £10 and children under 18 go free For more information visit: http://plumptonracecourse.co.uk/tickets/fixtures-buytickets/easter-sunday-raceday/
Take the children to see some furry friends at Towcester Racecourse, where CBeebies stars “Rastamouse” and “Scratchy” will be on-hand to meet young racegoers throughout the day.
o Tickets £10.00 and children under 16 go free
o For more information visit: www.towcester-racecourse.co.uk
Monday 9th April
Chepstow Racecourse offers exciting racing for the big kids, as well as a range of free activities for the smaller ones, including Meirion Owen’s Quack Pack (a Duck Herding demonstration!), Face Painting, Inflatables and Trampolines.
o Premier family ticket from just £30 for two adults and unlimited children
o For more information visit: www.chepstow-racecourse.co.uk
The second day of Plumpton’s Easter Festival brings along popular children’s character Peppa Pig, who will be making personal appearances at various intervals throughout the day. There will also be live music, a free programme of the day’s events, Face Painting, traditional Funfair and seven action-packed races.
o Tickets from just £10 and children under 18 go free
o For more information visit: www.plumptonracecourse.co.uk
Great Yarmouth Racecourse offers a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of family facilities, including a Children’s Playground with expansive Family Lawns for that all-important picnic, as well as plenty of additional entertainment for the children, including Donkey Rides and Inflatables.
o Tickets from just £12.00 and children under 16 go free
o For more information visit: www.greatyarmouth-racecourse.co.uk
Redcar Racecourse’s Easter Monday Raceday is a great get-together for both family and friends. There’ll be plenty of children’s entertainment from Bouncy Castles and Face Painting, to Balloon Modeling and a Magician! You can even join ex-jockey Jimmy Bleasdale for a behind–the-scenes tour of the racecourse, which includes an exclusive visit to the Weighing Room for a step on the scales!
o Tickets from just £5.00 and children under 16 go free!
o For more information visit: www.redcarracing.co.uk
Huntingdon Racecourse hosts an action-packed raceday with something for everyone. Fantastic free children’s entertainment includes a Bouncy Castle, Bungee Run, Horse Simulator and much more!
o Special advanced ticket offer: £22 includes two main enclosure admissions, and two free bags of mini Easter eggs, redeemable with voucher on the ticket – Quote EASTER2012
o For more information visit: www.huntingdon-racecourse.co.uk
For more information about a day at the races, visit www.lovetheraces.com