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Visit York Races

Updated on September 18, 2011

Course Enclosure

If you are looking for a day out with the family it is possible to pay a small entry fee (generally less than £6 or $9.5 each) to sit and watch the races. This is the most casual area with no dress code, other than tops on. In this area you are also allowed to bring a picnic and your own alcohol, making a brilliant summers day out. Don’t worry, you can also have a bet if it takes your fancy, as York Races never miss an opportunity to put a tout within walking distance.

York Grandstand

An Image of the Grandstand at York Races
An Image of the Grandstand at York Races | Source

Grandstand and Paddock

In these areas you will notice the prices jump quite a bit (generally under £20 or $31 a head). These are the most popular areas as you have to option to dress up as much as you like, are protected by the large building (see picture) and have access to numerous bars and champagne stands. If you are worried about the prices of alcohol it’s best to think of the drinks at a regular hotel price rather than a bar in York, so expect to pay a little more. In my view, if you are a first time race goer and you are a little unsure, this is the best place to book.

All Dressed Up

Myself with Friends in the County Stand
Myself with Friends in the County Stand

County Stand

If you fancy being more lavish still you can upgrade once more before you hit the big prices of private rooms etc. In the County Stand prices can vary hugely depending on the meet but I would estimate an average of £25-£30 per person. It is worth noting you can upgrade on the day if you are feeling flush as long as places are still available. I must admit this is most often where friends and I visit as it is a brilliant excuse to dress up and most of us only go once a year. Jacket and tie are compulsory and women are expected to be smart, with a hat or fascinator optional. (The picture gives you an idea on how we all dress).

Things to Think About

Book early: If you can, order tickets well in advance, especially for the popular ladies day. This goes for any overnight accommodation you may need as well. Often it is better to be somewhere a little further away from the course as the prices do jump during race meets.

Transport: If you’re taking a picnic there is enough space to park but generally if you’re drinking you will want to take public transport. They have made this really easy. Simply get yourself to York train station and the rest is self explanatory. A number of buses queue each day opposite the front entrance and will drop you off right outside the building. Most people bus in and walk back as they hit a few pubs along the way and you are eventually taken onto the infamous Micklegate run.

Taxis also run but remember it will be a busy road so the price could catch up with you in comparison to a bus ticket.

Dress: Ladies: I have tried to give the information in each section as far as dress code is concerned. Gents: if you do decide to upgrade and do not have the proper attire there is a tie and jacket rental booth provided next to the upgrade ticket office.

Food: If you’re not taking a picnic or you are in the grandstand and county stand there are a variety of options for food. Inside the main building there is a hot and cold food area. There are also numerous stalls outside selling burgers etc. On particular occasions food will be supplied if you are being entertained as part of a business event. The champagne tent often combines an oyster bar.

Music: For the last few years York Races has held a music weekend. This year Scouting for Girls and Blondie. The horse racing generally goes on until around 5 p.m. Once the last race has finished the band will play on stage in the paddock area. If you have bought a ticket for the cheaper side and a ticket for the music you can cross over from the enclosure. It is a good evening and the bands they choose are often very good live!

Blondie on Stage



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