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National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art


After more than a decade of planning, fundraising and construction, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art is finally ready to open to the public. Set on a 5-acre site at the heart of Newmarket, the historic Home of Horseracing, the heritage centre will have three distinct elements: a national museum, a gallery of British Sporting Art, and a live horse experience. The most ambitious tourist attraction to open in Suffolk in the last 10 years, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art is a must-visit, whether you’re a dyed-in-the-wool racing fan or entirely new to the sport of kings.  See inside the Centre.
Palace House in NewmarketAt the centre of the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art is Palace House, the remaining part of Charles II's racing palace
Photo (c) National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art

The Fred Packard Museum & Galleries of British Sporting Art

The cornerstone of the heritage centre is Palace House: the last remaining section of Charles II’s 17th century racing palace. It was Charles II who established Newmarket as the Home of Horseracing, and now, 350 years later, the remaining part of his palace has been restored to mint condition to house the Fred Packard Museum & Galleries of British Sporting Art. Featuring works from the British Sporting Art Trust’s own collection, plus works lent by private and public collections and major loans from Tate Britain and the V&A, the gallery will boast an extraordinary array of sporting art by some of history’s most notable artists.
The great painters of equine life, George Stubbs and Sir Alfred Munnings, will rub shoulders with the likes of John Singer Sargent and John Wootton, while surprising contemporary works will feature by Peter Blake, the pop artist best known for co-creating the album sleeve for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, and Turner-prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger, among others. Horseracing won’t be the only sport depicted, either: the long-term rolling exhibition will include all kinds of sporting art from traditional rural pursuits to team sports such as rugby, cricket and football. Together the works will tell the story of how sporting imagery has been represented in painting, sculpture, printmaking and the applied arts.


Just across from Palace House is the Old Trainer’s House, a building that has been home to many great racehorse trainers throughout history, including its last occupant, the legendary Bruce Hobbs. It’s this former home that will now contain the National Horseracing Museum: an internationally significant collection of horseracing art and artefacts, telling the story of flat and jump racing from their earliest origins to the present day. The latest technology will be used to bring the exhibits to life, exhibits which include everything from works of art to silks worn by famous jockeys such as Lester Piggot and Frankie Dettori.
In addition, the Maktoum Gallery of the Thoroughbred will take a look at horseracing from a new perspective, through the lens of science. From examining the physical attributes of the equine athlete to the genetics of selective breeding, the Maktoum Gallery will reveal the importance of the Thoroughbred pedigree and how science is used to preserve it. Alongside scientific exhibits about comparative anatomy, veterinary practice and more is the human story: horseracing’s influential blood lines and breeders, and how they have shaped the course of horseracing history.
A Newmarket jockey and racehorseMeet and watch ex-racehorses train at the Retraining of Racehorses stables
Photo (c) Rod Edwards


The third element of the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art is located in Palace House’s historic Rothschild Yard, now restored to its former glory and converted into a stables for up to eight former racehorses. Visitors will be able to meet racing’s equine heroes in retirement, as they are retrained for a successful life beyond racing by the Retraining of Racehorses charity.
Twice a day, there will be demonstrations of retrained racehorses designed to show the difference between training a horse for the racetrack and training it successfully for a second career, either in the competitive world of dressage and events, or simply for the pleasure of riding.


As if the National Horseracing Museum, the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting art and the Retraining of Racehorses stables were not enough, a rich programme of temporary exhibitions will take place in the state-of-the-art Moller & Cheveley Park Stud Galleries.
The first is entitled “Selling Champions: Tattersalls at 250,” and explores the development of Tattersalls from a horse, carriage and hound auctioneer in the 18th century to one of the world’s leading equine auction houses.
A Tattersalls auctioneerTattersalls bloodstock auction house will be the subject of the centre's first temporary exhibition
Photo (c) Rod Edwards


Every major cultural centre needs a good restaurant, and The Tack Room is just that. This 72-seat restaurant opening out onto the magnificent King’s Yard will be run by the team from award-winning Newmarket restaurant The Pantry, the co-owner of which is the daughter of a fully-fledged racing family. With a focus on quality, seasonal ingredients and flavours, The Tack Room will serve food from breakfast onwards, at night transforming into an elegant evening venue with a menu emphasising fresh fish and seafood. In addition to the restaurant will be The Tack Room’s bakery, where locals and visitors to the heritage centre can pick up bread and sweet treats to take home.


Finally, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art will include a purpose-built education centre that welcomes children from up and down the country for a unique school visit. Kids will be able to participate in immersive workshops and activities, all with interesting and diverse links to the National Curriculum. Adults will be able to use the space, too, as a meeting point for formal or informal educational groups, with the centre’s specially built library functioning as a research facility for journalists, authors and researchers.
Horse and groom statue in NewmarketNewmarket's famous horse and groom statue
Photo (c) National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art


Your first chance to see inside this rich and fascinating new heritage centre will be on the 17th September, the first day of Newmarket Open Weekend, when the National Heritage Centre and Newmarket’s historic racing institutions will open their doors and let the public in behind the scenes.


If you can’t wait to discover the sport of kings in its historic home, why not tell us about your plans to visit via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?