This summer, 48 Racecourses let under 16s in free at 200 fixtures
Summer holidays can be a costly time for cash-strapped parents, with one recent survey claiming parents spend an average of £2,274 on family days out. So, free entertainment on the door-step will help keep boredom at bay whilst giving the family quality time together.
Between the time that schools close in mid-July and the start of the new term in early September, there will be well over 200 horseracing fixtures when children are given complimentary admission and, with horseracing taking place across the length and breadth of Britain, there’s bound to be racing within easy reach by car or train.
And with adult admission starting from as little as £4, racecourses are providing some of the most fun-filled and affordable days and evenings out for all the family.
Every British racecourse – and there are almost 50 hosting fixtures during the summer school holidays – lets in accompanied under 16s free of charge at almost all their fixtures, and many extend that to under 18s.
As well as enjoying their first taste of one of Britain’s leading sports, kids are kept amused with extra entertainments that range from fun fairs and face-painting, to magician shows and appearances by children’s TV characters like Peppa Pig and George.
Rod Street, chief executive of Racing for Change, the organisation that markets the sport, said: “Britain is enjoying a great summer of sport and horse racing is more than playing its part by providing hugely affordable days out for families. No other sport is so child friendly and it’s easy on the wallet too, with kids admitted free of charge at almost every racing fixture and adult admission priced to suit every pocket.”
Most racecourses offer discounts for tickets booked in advance. Plenty allow picnics and there is a wide range of food and refreshment options.
A full list of summer racing fixtures and details about racecourses can be found at www.lovetheraces.com. The following twelve give just a brief flavour of what’s on offer during the school holidays.
Sunday 15 July – Perth Racecourse: Schools break up earlier in Scotland than in England and Wales, and it’s Family Day at the country’s most northerly racecourse with its first ever ice cream festival, a fun fair and pony racing. Adult admission from £10. Under 18s free.
Sunday 22 July – Redcar Racecourse: Help for Heroes Family Day on the first weekend of the Yorkshire Racing Summer Festival, including a free behind-the-scenes tour, fairground rides, stilt walkers and a military parade. Adult admission from £5. Under 16s free.
Tuesday 24 July – Bangor On Dee Racecourse: The course’s Family evening includes a free climbing wall, assault course and face painting, as well as entertainment in the form of a gladiator joust. Adult admission from £7. Under 16s free.
Friday 27 and Saturday 28 July – York Racecourse: Kids get in for free on both days of York’s very popular ‘Music Showcase Weekend’ when famous names from the 80s are set to perform on Friday evening, with McFly due to play after racing on Saturday. York also allow Under 16s in free during all four days of their Ebor Festival fixture in late August.
Saturday 28 July – Newmarket Racecourse: Mini Racegoers Day when ‘Fashion in the Garden’ offers Crew Clothing voucher prizes for the winners of the best dressed mini lady, best dressed mini gentleman and best accessory. Adult admission from £6. Under 18s free.
Sunday 5 August – Chester Racecourse: The most famous Family Fun Day in racing when crowds of over 40,000 descend on ‘The Roodee’ in the Roman city of Chester, with donkey rides, entertainers, face painters, climbing wall and human zorbing. Adult admission from £11. Under 16s free.
Saturday 11 August – Ascot Racecourse: Shergar Cup day, the unique racing occasion when the jockeys ride in four teams, with a two-hour 80s concert afterwards featuring famous artists including Bananarama, Rick Astley and T’Pau. Adult admission from £23.40 in advance. Under 18s free.
Friday night 17 August – Kempton Park Racecourse: ‘Kempton Live’ features Olly Murs in concert for the third year after racing. Adult admission from £10.40 in advance. Under 18s free.
Saturday 18 August – Newbury Racecourse: It’s the Party in the Paddock, an afternoon of racing followed by a concert with Jessie J. Admission from £30. Under 11s free.
Thursday 23 August – Ffos Las Racecourse: Britain’s newest racecourse begins its two-day Summer Festival with the Big Day Out for families followed by Ladies’ Day on the Friday. The Panic Circus is on course when visitors learn to juggle, unicycle and put on their own Punch & Judy show. Adult admission from £10 in advance. Under 16s free.
Monday 27 August – Huntingdon Racecourse: The Big Bank Holiday Family Fun Day when spectators take on the jockeys over a 120ft obstacle course, plus plenty more family entertainments. Adult admission from £9 in advance. Under 18s free.
Sunday 2 September – Folkestone Racecourse: Family fun day with a Wii entertainment tent, a bucking bronco and an inflatable moonwalker. Adult admission from £5. Under 18s free.
For more information about horseracing, visit www.lovetheraces.com