Trains to Ascot

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Just 52 minutes from London Waterloo
Welcoming kings, queens, princes and princesses from around the world since 1711, Ascot is rightly synonymous with its famously regal racecourse. Our Royal Family still roll up in a horse-drawn carriage for the Royal Meeting every June, and Ascot is a firm fixture in the British social calendar. But Royal Ascot week isn’t the only time to come to this charming Berkshire village – not only is there a full programme of prestigious equine events throughout the year, but two of the world’s most famous golf courses are on the doorstep. And – directly outside the racecourse – stroll down Ascot High Street and experience its wide range of enticing restaurants, bars and shops.

Attractions

There’s no getting away from it, Ascot is primarily about the racecourse. So do visit when there’s a race or event taking place (as well as races, there’s also a programme of concerts and open air cinema screenings) to sample its famously rarefied atmosphere in the parade rings, enclosures and thronged marquees. With ticket prices starting from just £18 for some races, you can take part in this unique experience without breaking the bank, and it’s a genuinely all-weather pursuit, too, with themed races also taking place around Halloween, Fireworks Night and Christmas. 

That other great pastoral pastime, golf, is also on the menu in Ascot. Royal Ascot Golf Club is attracting rave reviews in its new setting. Having spent over 100 years operating on the heath by the racecourse, in 2004 it was forced to move, but by all accounts this has been a huge success with a superb new 18-hole course open to non-members to play. Just four miles down the road, Wentworth is home to European Tour golf tournaments, though sadly is not open to non-members for playing. On event days there is usually a shuttle from Ascot and tickets can be purchased on the door to watch the finest golfers take on any one of the three grand old courses here.


The Great Park, Windsor
Restaurants

If you’re visiting Ascot for the races, then dining at the racecourse itself is not to be missed. At the Royal Meeting, dishes are created by Michelin-starred chefs in 12 different but equally sumptuous surroundings, while on other race-days there is a range of impressive food options. On the High Street, try the meat-marathon that is Ascot Grill, which specialises in steaks and boasts outdoor seating, while the convenient Bar One Ascot couldn’t be better located: right outside the racecourse entrance – it offers top traditional and contemporary international cuisine in an incredible setting.

Hotels

If stylish living is on your radar, try the grand and glamorous country manor that is Coworth Park. A luxury hotel and spa just 3 miles away, its beautifully decorated rooms and stunning surroundings are the perfect place to unwind. Closer and slightly easier on the wallet – though no less of a sumptuous country retreat – is the Macdonald Berystede Hotel and Spa, while just down the road is the family-run Highclere Hotel, offering Berkshire comfort and tremendous value for money.

Shopping

Given that Royal Ascot is naturally resplendent with lavishly-dressed racegoers, it’s no surprise that Nataliya Couture’s Ascot boutique is packed with high-end clothes for very special occasions. If you’re in Ascot on a race-day, then the new Royal Ascot shops offer exclusive collections of jewellery, scarves, homewares and souvenirs – perfect for a unique gift. Outside the course, Ascot’s short but bustling High Street is good for a last-minute buy, and there’s an impressive farmers’ market every third Sunday of the month. And if you’re in real need of a retail fix, hop on the train to Bracknell (7 minutes) and check out its brand new town centre retail haven, The Lexicon.

Travel Links

The racecourse is just a 7-minute walk along (the mainly flat) Station Hill from Ascot Station, though there is a taxi rank right outside the station exit. You can also get a bus into Ascot which runs from Station Hill (PlusBus is available for £3.50), but be mindful that there are only 8 services a day.

For more ideas on what to do in Ascot, check out Visit Windsor.

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