Christmas at the races: A fantastic day out

Features | 14th December 2021

There’s no better way to continue the Christmas celebrations with a day at the races.

Christmas time at the races is the perfect afternoon out for all the family and there is a bumper list of fixtures over the festive period with meetings held at tracks all across the country.

Fresh air and fun will be in abundance at all the racecourses with the tracks geared up for the seasonal revelry to compliment some of the very best sport.

There are packages to suit every pocket and special deals for the under 25s at many courses and Under 18s Race Free accompanied at almost all racedays (check individual racecourse website for full details).

Some courses also put on kids’ entertainment to keep visiting youngsters happy so their parents can enjoy the racing without someone tugging at their coat with a bored look on their face.

As ever, restaurant and hospitality packages are available at all courses with plenty of bars and food outlets ready to satisfy the hungriest and thirstiest racing fans. There really is something for everyone on racecourses this Christmas.

After its annual three‐day shutdown, racing returns with a bang on Boxing Day with eight British meetings. Kempton Park takes centre stage with three Grade 1 races on a superb card on day one of its Ladbrokes Christmas Festival.

The Ladbrokes King George VI Chase, won by some of the greatest jumps horses of all time, like Arkle, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star, is the feature contest.

Supporting races include the Christmas Hurdle and the Kauto Star Chase. The following day the top two‐milers get their chance to shine in the Desert Orchid Chase at the course in Sunbury‐on‐Thames, just off the M3 in West London.

Wetherby also holds one of its big meetings of the year with its two‐day Christmas fixture. The William Hill Rowland Meyrick Chase, won by Cheltenham Gold Cup winners in the past, is the big race on Boxing Day.

Wetherby racecourse

There are also hugely‐popular Boxing Day jumps meetings at Fontwell, Huntingdon, Market Rasen, Sedgefield and Wincanton, as well Wolverhampton’s all‐weather Flat card.

The day after Boxing Day, 27 December, is the traditional slot for the Coral Welsh Grand National. It’s one of the big sporting events in Wales over Christmas and is held at Chepstow.

Some of the top staying chasers will battle it out for this year’s prize with many of the past winners going on to glory in the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

As well as Kempton and Wetherby, Wolverhampton also completes its two‐day festive fixture with an all‐weather Flat card.

It’s a low‐key day of racing with three meetings on 28 December but the following day there is more top level action at Newbury.

The Berkshire track hosts the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle day, with stars of the future expected to contest the feature race.

As Christmas draws to an end the racing action continues to come thick and fast. There’s no better way to celebrate the New Year than with a day at the races.

Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day meeting is incredibly popular, especially with families keen to blow away the excesses of the previous day’s celebrations.

The Family Fun Zone will be in operation to make sure even the youngest racegoer is catered for. There will be bouncy castles, face‐painting and balloon pets for the younger children, while the older kids will be kept occupied by live music, car simulators and an obstacle course. 

On the track, the racing is just as impressive. The Paddy Power Dipper Novices’ Chase and the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle are two of the races on a sparkling card.

There are so many reasons to head to the races this Christmas. It really is the perfect festive day out for all the family.