Where is Royal Ascot racecourse and when was it established?

Royal Ascot racecourse

Thousands will soon be descending on the iconic racecourse (Image: Paul Gilham/Getty)

Royal Ascot 2022 is just around the corner, runs from Tuesday 14th June to Saturday 6th June 18

Thousands of spectators in frivolous clothes and fascinators will soon descend onto the legendary racetrack.

But where is the famous route – and what is the history of the race?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Where is Royal Ascot racecourse?

Royal Ascot Racecourse is set in wooded countryside next to Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, around 50 minutes from London by car or train.

It is close to the M3, M4, M40 and M25 motorways – and also close to London Heathrow for guests from other countries.

Google Maps image showing the location of Ascot Racecourse

The racecourse is in Berkshire (Image: Google Maps)

Those coming from London and the North should follow the M4 Junction 6 onto the A332 Windsor Bypass and then follow the signs to Ascot.

A bus service is available through National Express, which acts as the official travel partner for Ascot. You can book a trip from 15 locations from £32 round trip.

If you live the high life and fly in on a private jet, you can book a plane that lands at a private flight terminal in Biggin Hill, Farnborough, Luton, Oxford or Blackbush.

From there, a private luxury helicopter will take you directly to the racecourse.

Those arriving by train can expect a 27-minute journey from Reading or a 52-minute journey from Waterloo, with regular services also running from Guildford.

The racecourse is a seven-minute walk from the train station.

When was Royal Ascot racecourse founded?

The racecourse has a rich history, having been opened by Queen Anne in 1711 to allow horses to ‘gallop at full speed’.

The first race was held on August 11 of the same year, where any member of the public could compete with a horse or mare for the Her Majesty’s Plate, then worth 100 guineas.

Today that’s around £10,500 – enough to buy 18 horses, 24 cows, 166 sheep, 50 quarters of wheat and over 1,000 days’ wages, according to the National Archives.

George IV and the Duke of York at Ascot

George IV and the Duke of York used to watch the race in the Royal Stand at Ascot in the early 19th century. (Image: Print Collector via Getty)

In 1783, to solve the confusion of identifying winners, jockeys were instructed to wear the colors of their horses’ owners – a tradition that continues to this day. The British Horseracing Authority states that when creating a new racing color there are 18 colors to choose from.

However, a full dress code for participants in the races did not emerge until the early 19th century, with top hats and a “modern man’s suit” to be admitted, according to the Royal Ascot official website.

What is now known as the Royal Ascot event began in 1807 as The Gold Cup – Ascot’s oldest surviving race. Today the winners receive a golden trophy.

A series of prizes won at Ascot horse races in 1860

Royal Ascot winners still win extravagant trophies to this day (Image: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Royal life was permanently attached to the racecourse in 1822 when King George IV ordered the Royal Enclosure to be built, which now houses guests by invitation only.

The first legendary jockey on the racecourse to draw the nation’s attention was Fred Archer in 1873. Known as ‘the Phenomenon’, he raced for 14 years and had a total of 80 victories at Ascot.

The racecourse is still owned by the Queen as part of the Crown Estate, but statutes passed in the 19th century mean it will always be open to the public.

MORE : When is Royal Ascot 2022 and how can you watch it on TV?

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Nate Jones

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