*Paid post in partnership with Great British Racing
When it comes to having a day at the races, it’s something I’ve never really considered. My husband has been plenty of times so when we were approached to work with Great British Racing this summer to experience their #Under18sRaceFree events, I was really looking forward to it. There are 50 family race days across the country and children under the age of 18 can go for free. To kick off our first family racing experience, we were invited to Ascot for their Summer Mile Racing Weekend. With my posh frock on and the boys looking rather dapper, we were really excited for our day out.
When we arrived at Ascot, we were impressed by how grand it looked. The main Grandstand was dominant and there were beautiful vibrant flowers potted around. Race goers were all dressed up carrying picnic baskets and blankets and children were running around looking excited to meet the Ascot Cheer Bear who was happy to pose for family photographs.
We were to spend the day in a private box in the King Edward VII enclosure as guests of Great British Racing which had the incredible views across the racecourse. Olly was so excited and kept hold of his binoculars so he could take a look over the race course looking for action.
Time to weigh in
We were invited down to the weighing room before the start of the races for a behind-the-scenes nosey and to meet with jockey Nicola Currie ahead of her races. She was a really lovely lady who answered some of our questions and Olly was very excited to meet a ‘real’ jockey in person. The children had the opportunity to get weighed on the official scales in front of the judge which they all loved. I declined the opportunity!
The Parade Ring was just outside of the weighing room so Olly and I were keen to take a look at the horses being guided around the lawn and it was brilliant to see them so closely.
Family friendly fun free for all
After we had looked at our favourite horses in the parade ring, we explored all the activities that were put on free of charge for all the children at Ascot. One of the best things about the #Under18sracefree event is that the activities are free to join in with. There was so much to look at, with things to do and join in with. Activities such as traditional fairground rides with the helter skelter and jet rides, a dare devil jumping stunt pillow, soft play, a marble run, craft tents with baking activities and face painting. There was even story telling sessions and circus skills sessions. Both the boys had a brilliant time exploring the field and didn’t really want to leave.
Watching from the starting line
As part of our experience at Ascot, Olly and I we were invited to cross the racecourse and watch the horses being loaded in to the starting block ahead of their race. It was hugely exciting and Olly exclaimed “this is really cool” so I think he was enjoying himself. It was incredible to watch the action up close as it’s something we’ve only ever seen on the television before. We saw the horses begin the race and enjoyed watching them coming down the home straight in front of a huge cheering crowd. It was really exciting as the horses were galloping so fast!
Back in the box, Freddie had woken up and was excited to see us. The Great British Racing team had put on some activities for the children to take part in so it was nice to see them enjoying themselves as we enjoyed a refreshing drink. Freddie particularly enjoyed colouring in himself and a huge poster and playing connect 6 with some of the older children.
My husband knows a little about horse racing so enjoyed putting a flutter or three on the races. It was nothing to lose sleep over but he won 4 of the races he had bets on. I know very little about horse racing so picked out the names of a couple of horses that I liked the names of. It’s not very scientific but it was fun nevertheless.
Our day finished with more time out in the activity field between races where the sun was blazing and the children were running free having the time of their lives. It was such a relaxed atmosphere with families sitting having picnics and enjoying the beautiful weather. There was a brilliant atmosphere too, so friendly and relaxed.
We had such a lovely family day out. We cannot wait to enjoy another day at the races later in the summer. If like us, you’ve never experienced a family day out at the races, there are 50 special family days with fun activities put on. With the ‘Under 18s Race Free’ initiative, children under 18 are admitted free of charge at over 60 racecourses throughout Great Britain.
To find out more about ‘Under 18s Race Free’ and find a family race day near you, go to www.under18sracefree.com.