Just 15 miles from the centre of London, Sandown Park Racecourse’s location makes it a great option for an exciting day out. Whether you’re visiting with a group of friends, your partner, or family members of all ages, you’re guaranteed to find plenty to do at this fun-packed racecourse.
Sandown Park opened in 1875 and was an immediate hit with both locals and tourists alike. In fact, the racecourse is even a favourite of the Royals, and the Queen’s mother was often seen amongst the visitors.
These days, Sandown Park has expanded into so much more than just a racecourse, and is now a fabulous host of exhibitions, live music festivals and numerous sporting events taking place throughout the year. What’s more, Sandown Racecourse is easily accessible by public transport, meaning that it couldn’t be easier to plan for your group day out or family weekend activity.
Read on for tips to help you plan your day out at Sandown Park Racecourse.
Where is Sandown Park Racecourse?
Located in Esher, Surrey, Sandown’s ideal proximity to the city of London makes it a popular destination with visitors from all over.
How do I get to Sandown Park Racecourse?
Travelling by train
Getting to Sandown Park via public transport couldn’t be easier. The nearest train station to the racecourse is Esher station, and with travel links from Walton-on-Thames, Hook, Southampton Central and Woking, you can find a route that best suits you.
From Esher station, it’s just a 15-minute stroll to the racecourse entrance, or if you’d prefer not to walk, there are a number of different bus routes that will drop you off outside the racecourse, including the 458 and the 715.
From the buzz of the races to Sunbury’s fascinating antique markets, there’s so much to do both within and beyond Sandown Park Racecourse. Esher is a small yet bustling town that’s home to some beautiful parks complete with stunning scenic views, so you don’t have to go far to make the most of your trip away.
Races at Sandown Park
Whether you’re a racing regular or a total novice, there’s so much to keep you entertained at Sandown Park. Hosting on average 26 high grade meetings for both flat and National Hunt throughout the year, Sandown Park is a must-visit for racing fans of all ages. And as one of the only right-handed racecourses in the UK, you can expect something a little different. Prepare yourself for top-class, year-round entertainment at Sandown Park, with the three main racing events taking place in April, July and December.
Bet365 Gold Cup
April’s Bet365 Gold Cup is not to be missed, since this exciting day of races also marks the end of the UK’s National Hunt season. Featuring seven jump races in total, the Bet365 Cup sees some of the most talented racers take on thrilling courses from the Oaksey Chase to the Handicap Hurdle, so this day is guaranteed to be full of action.
The Eclipse Stakes
Be sure to leave space in your diary for The Eclipse Stakes too, which takes place in early July and comprises seven fantastic flat races. Horses aged three years and older can take part in The Eclipse Stakes, and with a track that’s over a mile long, these races aren’t for the faint hearted.
The Tingle Creek Chase
When the colder winter months arrive, get your racing fix at The Tingle Creek Chase. This Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase takes place over two days in December and promises both an electric atmosphere and some good old festive fun. There’s no better way to round off the year.
Events and Exhibitions
After a fantastic day of racing, the fun continues at Sandown Park, with events and exhibitions that the entire group can enjoy. Live music events take place throughout the summer months, and with pervious performers including Nile Rodgers and Craig David, you can expect to be in for a treat.
Gather your friends and head to The Coral Summer Festival in early July. This two-day summer festival features fabulous fashion and 14 thrilling races, as well as the much-loved Ladies’ Day. Another event not to be missed is The Coral Brigadier Gerard Evening, an exciting flat-racing meeting which is held annually on the last Thursday in May.
A number of fascinating exhibitions also run throughout the year, from contemporary art fairs to car shows, so take a look at what’s on and plan your visit accordingly.
What to wear at Sandown Park Racecourse
Fashion is a big part of the races. For guests watching from the Grandstand Enclosure, the dress code is casual, though in the spirit of the races, many people opt to dress up for the occasion, so the choice is yours.
Both the Premier Enclosure and 1875 Lounge, as well as restaurants and private boxes, require a more smart-casual look, such as polo shirts and chinos for men, and summer dresses for women. In the colder months, you might want to add a jacket or blazer to protect you from that winter chill.
Music and racing nights have a relaxed dress code, so trainers are allowed, and you’re free to dress down or up as you please.
Things to do at Sandown Park
When the day’s races come to an end, take some time to explore what else is on offer in the racecourse and around the local area. Esher might only be a small town, but it’s bursting with fun things to do.
Those with a keen eye for bargains should head to the Sunbury and Sundown antiques fair, which is hosted at the racecourse itself and is home to stalls selling unique and beautiful antiques. Also nearby is Esher Common, a picture-postcard wooded area which seems miles away from the hustle and bustle of London.
Thrill-seekers big and small can get behind the wheel at Daytona Sandown Park, which is widely recognised as the best outdoor go-kart venue in the South of England. For yet more thrills for the whole family, pay a visit to the Skywalk Adventure, an exciting treetop adventure course that’s bound to get your adrenaline pumping, or get your competitive streak on with a round of golf at the nearby Safari Adventure Golf or Galloping Mini Golf.
For some fun a little further away, catch a 30-minute train into the centre of London and spend the day sightseeing. Or if you’d rather stay in the great outdoors, then the picturesque Surrey Hills has many charming nature trails and parks to explore.
Food and drink
Whether you’re a family full of picky eaters or a couple looking for a romantic meal for two, there are dining options to suit everyone at Sandown Park Racecourse.
If you’re after a relaxed and informal dining option then head to Legends Experience, which features delicious food bought to your own private table and an unmissable view of the racecourse. Other laid-back restaurants include the Carvery Experience, where you can tuck into a delicious two-course carvery meal, and the Views Experience, which features a package of tasty food followed by an incredible live performance.
For a more exclusive dining experience, head to Equus Restaurant, which combines finishing-straight views and delicious cuisine, or if you’re looking to impress, host your meal from your very own private box or suite.
Places to stay around Sandown Park Racecourse
No matter your budget, there are many places you can stay if you’re looking to make a weekend out of your trip. Family-friendly stays include The Bear Hotel Esher and West End Lodge, while if you’re on a budget, take a look at Travelodge Walton-on-Thames, Sandown Park Lodge, The Albert Arms Esher and Rosemead Guest House.
Those who prefer the finer things in life can choose between The Mitre Hotel, Ditton Lodge, The Foley Hotel and Hampton Suites for a more luxury stay.
Sandown Park Racecourse accessibility
Those with additional needs can be assured that Sandown Park do their very best to make the racecourse as accessible as possible for everyone, regardless of ability. For more information on parking and entry, complimentary ticket for carers, facilities, disabled viewing, individual induction loops and more, take a look at their website.