A Guide To The York Ebor Festival

Features | 18th August 2023

York’s Sky Bet Ebor Meeting is one of the most popular Flat racing summer festivals

The four-day event stages three Group 1 races as well as the prestigious Ebor Handicap that lends its name to the meeting. 

It’s held at one of Britain’s finest tracks, on land known for more than 1,500 years as the Knavesmire. It was where notorious highwayman Dick Turpin was hung in 1739 for horse theft. These days the horses on show are of the highest quality. The Ebor Meeting dates back to 1843 and is now one of the most important and enjoyable fixtures in the Flat racing calendar.


The Group 1 Juddmonte International is the highlight of the opening day. One of the biggest races of the summer, it has been won by great horses like Frankel, Sea The Stars and, last season, Baaeed. This year’s race is shaping up to be a superb contest. Paddington, Mostahdaf and King Of Steel could all be among the runners.


The fillies take centre stage in the Group 1 Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks on Ladies’ Day. Won last year by subsequent Arc de Triomphe heroine Alpanista, it could feature a rematch between Oaks winner Soul Sister and runner-up Savethelastdance, who went on to land the Irish version.


The fastest horses around will converge on York on Friday for the Group 1 Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes. Last year, Yorkshire-trained speedster Highfield Princess landed the season’s top five-furlong prize and she is likely to be back to defend her crown.


The Sky Bet Ebor, the most valuable handicap in British racing, dominates the final day. It is supported by the Melrose Handicap for three-year-olds and the Group 2 Sky Bet City Of York Stakes.

What To Wear?

Many visitors to the Ebor Meeting like to dress up. The only formal dress code applies to the County Stand, where male racegoers are required to wear a jacket, shirt and tea. There is no rules for female visitors but most like to sport their best summer dresses and hats, especially on Ladies’ Day.

Getting There?

There is an excellent rail service into York. There are direct services from London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. A shuttle bus runs between the station and the racecourse but it is only a 20-minute walk. The course is easily accessible by car with plenty of free parking at the course.

How Much?

Four-day ticket: County Stand £230; Grandstand & Paddock £110; Clocktower Enclosure £40. Weekday three-day ticket: County Stand £185; Grandstand & Paddock £93; Clocktower Enclosure £35. Day badges: County Stand £75; Grandstand & Paddock £42; Clocktower Enclosure £15. The are discounts for group bookings and age concessions. Proof of age is required for the latter.

Post-Racing Activities

York is a vibrant city packed with places to eat and drink. From traditional pubs serving Yorkshire ale to Michelin-starred restaurants, there is something to suit all tastes in York. Whether it’s a pre-racing breakfast, celebratory drinks or a relaxing supper, every possible requirement is catered for. Among the many pubs worth a visit are the pretty Phoenix Inn and the 17th century Eagle and Child. Many racing faces can be spotted in Delrios Italian, while the Pearly Cow and The Star Inn The City are among a whole host of quality restaurants serving up tasty food.

Tourist Attractions

Anyone extending their stay in the historic city will not be short on things to see and do. A walk around the City Walls is a great way to get a feel for the place. From there it will be hard to miss the impressive Minster than dominates the city. A walk along the Shambles, one of the best-preserved medieval streets, is like taking a step back in time. You can turn the clock back even further with a visit to the Jorvik Viking Centre and those after a fright can head to The York Dungeon. There’s also the National Railway Museum, York’s Chocolate Story and York Cold War Bunker. The City is also a perfect base to explore the stunning countryside of the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, with fascinating town’s like Whitby, Scarborough and Harrogate within reach.