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Racehorse and crowd at the July Festival in Newmarket

7 THINGS TO DO AT THE JULY FESTIVAL AT NEWMARKET RACECOURSES

From the 7th – 9th July, the world’s greatest racehorses and their jockeys will be thundering round the July Course at Newmarket, the home of British horseracing. This hallowed event in the racing calendar is known as the July Festival, and attracts everyone from punters to fashionistas to watch the spectacle unfold at Suffolk’s famous racecourses. If you’re intrigued, here are seven things to do at the July Festival that will make you even more so:
Ladies Day at the July Festival in NewmarketFetch your fascinators – it's Ladies Day at the July Festival

DRESS TO KILL

Fashion is everything at the Moët & Chandon July Festival. On Ladies Day the Premier Enclosure is a sea of fascinators, hats and stunning dresses, and the best dressed are awarded with an array of prizes in the Fashion at the Festival competition. On The Gentleman’s Day it’s the men’s turn to take centre stage, with relaxed yet exquisitely cut suits being the recommended dress code. With so much style on show, it’s no wonder the July Festival has become known as the most glamorous event of the Suffolk summer.

HAVE A FLUTTER

Watching a race at the July Festival is always going to be fun, yet investing your stake – however small ­– in the outcome makes it all the more exhilarating. You can place a bet in one of the totepools, which means that if you win you’ll share the jackpot with the other winning tickets, or you can bet against a bookie. The bookies are the heart and soul of Newmarket Racecourse, and their trade is as old a racing itself. You’ll usually find them in front of the grandstand, and remember: it’s worth shopping around to find the best odds on each race!

HEAD BEHIND THE SCENES

Going behind the scenes of racing’s famous institutions can transform your July Festival experience. Seeing the racehorses training on the gallops, visiting the stud farms where champions are bred, or watching as horses are sold at Europe’s largest equine auction house will expand your racing knowledge, and give you an insight into this often mysterious world. “But how?” you ask. With Discover Newmarket, who provide all kinds of behind the scenes tours all through the year.
Racehorses at Dalham Stud in Suffolk (c) Discover NewmarketHead behind the scenes to meet some of the world's best racehorses with Discover Newmarket
Photo (c) Discover Newmarket

PAMPER YOURSELF PRE-RACE

There’s nothing like getting ready for a glamorous event with a day’s pampering session at a spa, especially if you’re with your favourite girls. The multi-million pound Spa at Bedford Lodge is set within the grounds of a gorgeous Georgian hunting lodge on the outskirts of Newmarket, and they offer everything you could want in the way of beauty treatments and relaxation. If having an aromatherapy massage, manicure and flawless spray tan sounds like heaven to you, this is the place.

GO TO AN APRÈS RACING PARTY

At the July Festival, the excitement doesn’t end with the last race: Newmarket’s official after party begins. For two hours after the last horse has passed the finishing post, the racecourses are alive with great music, cocktails and dancing – and all the effort you invested to look your best pays off.
Racehorse parades for the crowd at Newmarket RacecoursesStrut your stuff at the July Festival's après racing parties
Photo (c) Discover Newmarket

TREAT YOURSELF TO A CELEBRATORY (OR COMMISERATIVE) MEAL

After the races and the after party, you can round off your evening in style with a meal to celebrate your wins or commiserate yourself on your losses. There are a number of renowned restaurants in Newmarket, including Bedford Lodge Hotel and Paddocks House Hotel, where you can dine in luxury (and even in private). Tuddenham Mill in Tuddenham is known for its award-winning menus, while in Newmarket town centre The Pantry is one of the most popular places to eat.

SPEND THE WEEKEND IN A HOTEL

The July Festival comes but once a year, and it’s worth making the most of the whole three days, either as a special treat or an annual tradition. When it comes to places to stay, there are some stunning places to choose from, including Bedford Lodge Hotel (with its adjoining spa), and the Jockey Club Rooms, a 250-year-old private members’ club that allows non-members to stay in its exquisite rooms and experience the first-class service. Outside of Newmarket is Tuddenham Mill, a converted mill with an award-winning restaurant set amongst idyllic countryside, or the 16th century Old Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast.

READY FOR YOUR DAY AT THE RACES?

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