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National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art

Newmarket: More than Just a Racecourse

When you hear ‘let’s go to Newmarket’, do you immediately think ‘let’s go racing’? If your answer is yes, you could certainly be forgiven, however, there is a whole lot more to Newmarket than just the racecourse. We take a closer look at all this fascinating town has to offer.
 

It begins as nothing more than a faint rumble in the distance, gradually building in intensity with every step. Meanwhile, anticipation throughout the Grandstand becomes more palpable with every inflection of the commentator’s voice. As the runners approach, the faint rumble turns into the thunder of hooves, resonating through the ground and rising through a thousand pounding chests. The tension builds until finally it breaks free in the form of a deafening roar from the buzzing crowd as the horses cross the line…

Many of us have experienced the thrill of the races at Newmarket, but very few of us are aware just how much more this unique town has to offer. Read on for an itinerary that will turn a race day afternoon into a fascinating weekend insight into ‘The Sport of Kings’.

 
Discover Newmarket

The QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket Racecourse, The Rowley Mile

 

Saturday 9.00am - Experience the Unique

Ever since the 1600s when King Charles II selected Newmarket Heath as a perfect site to pursue his sporting interests, this most famous of areas has been used for the training of the thoroughbred racehorse. Fast forward to the present day and there are now over 80 trainers, and 2,500 thoroughbreds using these training grounds on a regular basis.

This makes for a truly remarkable sight each morning when strings of racehorses emerge from the most unexpected nooks throughout the town centre to ride out on The Heath. Despite the advent of the motor car, they still follow the very same routes, holding up traffic as they go… after all, the horses were there first!

There is no better way to experience this unique occurrence than with a tour from Discover Newmarket. As the tourism hub for the town, Discover Newmarket offers exclusive access to these legendary training grounds to observe world-class horses and trainers preparing for their next big race.

 
Discover Newmarket

Thoroughbred racehorses training on The Heath

 

10am - Explore the Industry

Following this, your expert Discover Newmarket guide can take you exclusively behind the scenes at one of these famous trainers’ yards to find out what it takes to create a champion. You will hear from the people responsible for taking care of these finely-tuned racing machines, learning all about the private lives of some of the world’s fastest horses.

If you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll even get an inside tip from the experts!

 

Discover Newmarket

Saying hello to ex-racehorses in The Rothschild Yard, Newmarket

 

11:30am - Discover the History

Her Majesty The Queen is often spotted on unofficial visits to Newmarket. It could be to drop in on one of her horses in training, or just to take a look at the form on the Gallops. However, back on 3rd November 2016 the residents of the town came out in droves to welcome our most treasured monarch on a much more public affair: the opening of The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art.

Being built on the site of King Charles II’s 17th Century palace, this brand new facility has Newmarket’s history in its very foundations. It rolls three fantastic attractions into one: Palace House - a gallery housing one of the world’s finest collections of sporting art; The National Horseracing Museum - fully updated and featuring state-of-the-art interactive exhibitions; and, The Rothschild Yard - the flagship yard for the Retraining of Racehorses charity which offers thoroughbreds a new lease of life after racing.

Whether you’d prefer to admire a priceless Stubbs, learn about the science of bloodstock or meet a famous ex-racehorse, the National Heritage Centre must not be missed. Not only does it give you the chance to learn all about Newmarket’s unique history but also the history of horseracing as a whole.

 

Discover Newmarket

Fine sporting art at Palace House, Newmarket

 

1pm - Feel the Thrill

You’ve seen the training, you’ve met the stars and you’ve learned the history. Now it’s time to feel the thrill of the races! A race meeting is the culmination of years of planning, nurturing, training and dedication and it all climaxes in an explosion of excitement, determination and power as both jockey and horse push themselves to the limits of their capabilities.
 
And it’s not just the racing that you’ve got to look forward to. Spectacular fashion, delicious food and top-class live music is in abundance throughout the season, while family-friendly enclosures keep the kids entertained!
 
If you have never been before, you’re in for a real treat! If you have been before, with the morning’s introduction you’ll gain a whole new perspective!
 
A racehorse at Newmarket Racecourses (c) Newmarket Racecourses

A day at Newmarket Racecourse

 

6pm - Taste the Flavours of Newmarket

All the excitement of the races is hungry work, so it’s time to settle down at one of Newmarket’s fantastic restaurants to reflect on the day’s action. Whether it’s a no-nonsense juicy burger or a fine dining experience, there is something to suit you in the town.
 
Discover Newmarket works with a variety of restaurants all offering a fantastic menu full of tasty dishes that make the most of the quality local produce for which Suffolk is so well renowned.
 
Discover Newmarket

The Tack Room Restaurant in Newmarket

 

9pm - Enjoy the Comfort

After a day jam-packed with entertainment, and belly jam-packed with delicious local fayre, there is only one thing for it: bed! You’ll be pleased to hear that there is a range of fantastic accommodation in Newmarket to suit all tastes and budgets. From simple comfort, to boutique charm, all the way up to opulent luxury, they all have one thing in common: a great night’s sleep!

 

Discover Newmarket

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa in Newmarket

 

Sunday 11am - Meet the Next Generation

The following morning, there is no better way to start the day than by going right back to where it all begins for the thoroughbreds you have learned so much about.
 
The National Stud is based in Newmarket and is the only thoroughbred stud farm in the UK to allow members of the public behind the scenes. This 90-minute tour explores the wonderful 500-acre site, taking in the rich history of this beautiful place.
 
Depending on the time of year, you will see mares, foals, yearlings and stallions, all the time learning exactly what goes on at The Stud and the role it plays in the industry. Why not finish it all off with a cup of coffee at the on-site Wavertree’s Coffee Shop?

 

Discover Newmarket

Foaling season at The National Stud, Newmarket

 

Plan your Trip

Whether you do all of the above, or just part of it, one thing’s for sure: Newmarket offers a huge amount more than just an afternoon at the races. If you’d like to make a weekend out of your trip, get in touch with Discover Newmarket today to start planning on 0344 748 9200, admin@discovernewmarket.co.uk or www.discovernewmarket.co.uk

 

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Looking for further inspiration? Visit our other fun-filled blogs and films 

Or explore more things to do and see in Newmarket