York, UK

As well as being a fabulous City to visit, York racecourse really delivers.

Logistics

Coming from Ireland, we flew into Leeds Bradford with Ryanair. It’s a compact airport and the Tiger bus from the airport, connects you to Leeds, from which point you take a train to York itself. The walk to York centre takes about 15 minutes at a steady strolling pace and is quite scenic over the river.

Accommodation

We stayed at a fairly priced old hostelry – Guy Fawkes, which is opposite the York Minster (Cathedral). Well-appointed rooms, with a good breakfast.

More upmarket choices are The Grand (nearer to the railway station) and Grays Court nearer to the centre and York Minster.

Dining

Everything – from chains like Cote Brasserie, to creative English fayre in Gastro Pubs, as well as a great selection of independent restaurants. We ate at Bennetts, opposite the Minster, which comes highly recommended. There are a lot of good independent restaurants around this area – Petergate, which is slightly away from the true centre of York, with the Shambles and cobbled streets. If you’re fan of ethnic cuisine, there is a great Nepalese restaurant in Gillygate – Taas. Gillygate also has a good selection of bars and restaurants.

Racing – how to get there

There are buses running direct to the racecourse almost opposite the train station. Frequent and plentiful, from about 10.00.

Enclosures

3 main levels: County Stand (the premium option), Grandstand and the budget Clocktower (opposite the stands). See: https://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk for further information.

We experienced the County Stand and it was very spacious, with an intelligent queuing system for drinks, rather than having to fight for attention in a scrum at the bar. It is a bit of a walk to the parade ring and on the big days the parade ring can be 6 deep, so if paddock watching is for you, you would need to position yourself there nearly for the whole day, if you want the pre & post race action.

Excellent selection of food, from local specialities to all the usual fayre.

General vibe

Everyone generally does dress up, regardless of which enclosure they’re in. It has a very feelgood party atmosphere. I didn’t sense any particular rough, or threatening element – the usual drunks, but generally good natured. They do have the drug amnesty bins at the entrance.

Overall punter experience

9/10, can hardly find any flaws with the racecourse operation.

Other observations

If you are expecting a post racing nightlife akin to Cheltenham, it isn’t really like that. A huge amount of the racegoers go home on the train after racing. I’m sure there are a few lively bars that weren’t on our radar, but having got feedback from others, they would concur with this viewpoint.

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