A Guide to Doncaster’s St Leger Festival

Features | 6th September 2023

The Betfred St Leger is the world’s oldest Classic and is the highlight of Doncaster’s big four-day festival that dominates the Flat racing calendar in September.

When Does it Happen?

This year’s St Leger Festival starts on Thursday 14 September and runs for four days, ending on Sunday 17 September.

The big race was unusually run on a Sunday last year due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II. It will revert to its Saturday slot this year but the meeting has been moved back a day from its usual position to incorporate Sunday.

Dress Code

The dress code differs depending on which enclosure you are intending to enjoy the racing from. A jacket for gentlemen and smart attire for ladies is required in the Premier Enclosure and the County Enclosure allows smart jeans and tailored shorts but many visitors choose to adopt a smarter style.

It’s more relaxed in the Grandstand Enclosure, where the only stipulation is that visitors don’t wear sports team shirts or offensive fancy dress.

Ladies Day Doncaster St Leger Festival
Crowds take in the action at Doncaster's St Leger Festival


Doncaster has an excellent train service. There are direct services from London, Edinburgh, Plymouth and Newcastle, with all stations in between on those lines. There are shuttle buses from the station to the course.

The track is easily accessible by road. Doncaster has excellent links to the motorway network, including the M1, M18, M62 and A1M. There is ample parking at the course.

Ticket Prices

Thursday & Friday

Premier £101; County £61; Grandstand £46; Family £21


Premier £156; County £71; Grandstand £51; Family £26


Premier £66; Grandstand £21

Concessions and discounts available on the day. Restaurant and hospitality packages also available.

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Racing Highlights


The meeting kicks off with Ladies Day. The highlights of the day are a pair of Group 2 races for fillies. The two-year-olds go in the Betfred May Hill Stakes, won by the likes of Inspiral and Laurens in recent years. The Betfred Park Hill Stakes, for older fillies and mares, is run over the same course and distance as the St Leger. The event promises glitz and glamour for Yorkshire’s biggest social occasion.


The Betfred Doncaster Cup dominates the second day. It was twice won by star stayer Stradivarius. Coltrane beat Trueshan in a thrilling finale to the Group 2 contest 12 months ago. The Group 2 Carlsberg Danish Pilsner Flying Childers Stakes is among the supporting races.


The Betfred St Leger, the much-anticipated final Classic of the season, is the clear highlight of a superb afternoon of racing on Saturday. Glorious Goodwood winner Desert Hero, owned by the King and Queen, is likely to prove a popular horse in the big race.

It will be an action-packed day, with the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, the Group 2 Park Stakes and the competitive Portland Handicap also on the card.


The first St Leger Community Funday will close the meeting with a seven-race card. The Vickers.bet Leger Legends charity race will feature some of the most famous former jockeys from both the Flat and jumps. Among those taking part will be Richard Johnson, Kieran Fallon and Davy Russell. There will also be a host of family-friendly entertainment on offer during the afternoon.

After Racing

Doncaster town centre is home to many restaurants, cafes and pubs. You’ll be sure of a warm Yorkshire welcome during St Leger week whether you’re popping in for a pint or heading out for something to eat.

There’s something for all tastes, with a good selection of town centre restaurants from seafood to steaks and cuisine from every corner of the globe. Doncaster’s nightlife isn’t just restricted to eating and drinking.

The Cast, Doncaster’s state-of-the-art theatre, is well worth a visit. It’s staging a couple of musicals during the St Leger Festival. Thank You For The Music, an Abba tribute night, takes place on Thursday 14, with Beyond The Barricade entertaining guests the following night.

The Doncaster Little Theatre, a community-focussed venue, is holding Still Got The Blues – The Gary Moore Story on Friday 15. Presumably, it’s a tribute to the Northern Irish musician and not the trainer and dad of dual St Leger-winning jockey, Ryan.

Tourist Attractions

Anyone looking for things to do during St Leger week with have no shortage of options.

Highflyers should head to the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum on the site of the form RAF Doncaster base. It hosts a vast collection of aircraft from bi-planes right through the present day.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a popular tourist destination. It’s home to 70 species from black rhinos and polar bears to tigers and lions. Campsall Country Park, ten miles north of Doncaster, is packed with things to see and do. It’s renowned for its diverse woodlands and is the perfect place to spend a nice day with its beautiful scenery, extensive wildlife, nature walks and picnic areas.

For the more adventurous the Hatfield Outdoor Activity Centre, on the outskirts of the town, has plenty of pursuits, including climbing, archery, water sports and even axe throwing. Doncaster Dome is also home to more than 50 activities, including a multi-pool swimming area, Britain’s only split-level ice rink and much, much more.

There’s plenty to satisfy the most dedicated shopaholic in Doncaster. The town hosts a market that dates back to Roman times. It will be in operation on both Friday and Saturday of the St Leger meeting. Lakeside Village has more than 45 famous name stores offering shoppers up to 60 per cent off. There a whole array of shops catering for all manner of needs from fashion to homeware and everything in between. Stores include M&S Outlet, Next Outlet and B&M.