Royal Ascot is Britain’s most revered annual horse race that attracts some of the world’s best race horses to compete for more than £6.58 million in prize money. It dates back to 1711, when Queen Anne saw the potential for a racecourse at Ascot and a few months later, the first-ever horse race was held in August. Over the past 300 years since it’s inception, Royal Ascot has become a national institution and one of the most esteemed summer events to attend. I was absolutely thrilled when I was invited to go and couldn’t wait to experience one of the most anticipated events of the season.
I must note, that a part of Royal Ascot that I loved the most, was the preparation before hand. There is a strict dress code and all ladies must wear hats, dresses wth 1 inch thick straps and must fall at the knee or below. As an American, the hats are by far, the most exciting part! Occasion hats aren’t typically a huge part of our culture, but over here in the UK, they are worn to several events and weddings and I love how unique each one is. The only event Americans typically wear occasion hats to is the Kentucky Derby, which in my mind, is the US’s version of Ascot.
I had the pleasure of attending Royal Ascot with my lovely dear friend Lauren and we had a blast sorting out our hats – hers is from House of Fraser and mine is from Debenhams, both of which have great options at affordable prices. There is however, some incredible milliners in London that make the most beautiful occasion hats that would be perfect for the races or weddings.
Lauren and I jumped on the train from Waterloo and on our way to Ascot! The train ride down was a most glamourous affair, as all the ladies were in their hats and the men were dressed up in suits and ties. Once we arrived in Ascot, we followed the crowd to the pub nearby and popped a bottle of bubbly on the terrace, toasting to our first day at the races!
Luckily, at this point, the sun was shining and the weather was glorious, making it the ideal day for a day at the races. After finishing our champagne, we headed over to the racecourse to have a few more tipples before the races began!
Pardon my many pictures of British flags, but from the moment we step foot into Ascot, I could feel the British patriotism and I loved it. As an American, we wave our flags 24/7, but over here in England, I have noticed that patriotism is a bit more reserved and kept to oneself. It was really special to be part of such a wonderful long-standing British tradition and to experience it first hand.
We grabbed a jug of crisp Pimms and some fish & chips to indulge in and enjoyed the summer sun as much as we could. Everybody around us looked fabulous in their ornate hats and good times were definitely being had by all! Once it started to rain, we moved inside to the Queen Anne Enclosure. There are three tiers of enclosures at Ascot, The Windsor Enclosure, the Queen Anne Enclosure, and the Royal Enclosure, which is for members only.
We were fortunate enough to grab a few seats and watch the Queen’s Royal Procession, which is a tradition that dates back to 1825 and continues to this day on every day of Royal Ascot. I must say, it was incredible to see the Queen and Prince Phillip as well as William and Kate.
After the Queen’s Royal Procession, the races began! The horses were all stunning and we had a great time cheering them on! We didn’t bet at this year’s Ascot, but I definitely recommend placing a few bets and seeing where it takes you! It’s all in good fun.
The day went by so quickly and before we knew it, the races were over and it was time to head back to London. Royal Ascot is definitely one events that you anticipate so much and by the time it rolls around it’s over in the blink of an eye. I guess it’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Lauren and I had an absolute blast and are going to make it an annual tradition. It was one of the most memorable outings I’ve had all year!
What’s your favourite part about Royal Asccot? I’d love to hear your thoughts!