London Stansted airport is convenient for those coming in from overseas. You can hire a car and be in the area in around an hour.
The general area
I was terribly excited about visiting the town of Newmarket, anticipating that it would be crammed with stylish boutiques and hat shops…it isn’t! Having travelled from Dublin, and not wanting to crush one of my hats en-route, I ended up getting one in TK Maxx in Newmarket High Street!
Newmarket town is full of betting shops and bars, which is no bad thing and to be expected. Look out for the dedication to the late Walter Swinburn on the pavement, in front of Barclays Bank.
The National Horse Racing museum is definitely worth a visit and the café there is very good. The menu is interesting and there is a lovely area to sit outside in the courtyard, under the watchful gaze of Frankel.
Limited accommodation in Newmarket and you would have to book well in advance and pay top dollar for the privilege.
We stayed in Cambridge – the Holiday Inn, which is off the main A14. Perfectly acceptable, with inclusive hot buffet breakfast, gym, ample parking but sterile. Eating out in the evening, it’s best to drive (or get a taxi) to The Boot at Histon: https://boothiston.com/. Or you could eat in Cambridge itself which is about a 15-20 minute drive. Cambridge is one of those difficult cities to navigate and park in, until you know where you’re heading to. Lovely shopping centre there – the Grand Arcade, that does have a multi-storey.
The racecourse itself – wow. The drive from Cambridge, through the tree lined A roads, past all the stud farms, is a pleasure in itself and then you get to the course.
Newmarket races on 2 different courses – the Rowley Mile and the July course, depending on the programme.
It’s run with military precision and there are ample Sherpa guides on hand to direct the newcomers.
There is a true sense of theatre here that you would expect from flat HQ, and it really needs to be experienced first-hand.
The dress code in the club enclosure seems to be somewhat relaxed, you can expect some punters in Bermuda shorts, as opposed to collar and tie, which I personally found disappointing. It was also odd that they didn’t sell sparkling water!
Plenty of outside food & drink stations, as well as hat and accessory type stalls, as well as the usual paintings, jewellery etc.
In summary, a must visit for any racing fan.