The Kids Go Free - Racing Fun For All The Family

Features | 22nd February 2023

A trip to the races is the perfect day out for all the family and, what’s more, it is tremendous value

Free Attractions

All 59 British racecourses offer free admission to anyone under the age of 18 if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. For a family day out, that kind of value is hard to beat and there is plenty for children of all ages to do. Many racecourses hold special family events. 

From Easter egg hunts, Halloween-themed days and festive Christmas events, there are all manner of family fun days at tracks up and down the country. The attractions vary from course to course but parents and children can expect numerous fun-filled attractions at each event. There are often funfair rides, facepainting, pony rides, bouncy castles, soft play areas, treasure hunts, pets corners and craft activities. 

The attractions are not just restricted to special family fun days. Quite often courses will offer the opportunity to meet retired racehorses. Many of the jockeys riding in the races are quite happy to sign autographs and pose for pictures, as well as to chat to younger racegoers.

Find A Raceday Near You

What To Do?

Of course, the racing itself is hugely exciting. A day out at the races is really what you make it but there’s some things you must do when taking young people to a track for the first time. It usually pays to get to the course in plenty of time to ensure you can explore all parts of the racecourse before it gets too crowded. 

As the track begins to fill up, the atmosphere builds ahead of the first race. Make sure you get a racecard so you know which horses are running. The official guide to the day’s racing is often packed with interesting information. As well as revealing features and fascinating facts, the racecards include helpful explanations of racing terminology to simplify the sport for newcomers. 

A visit to the parade ring is an absolute must. Here you can get the opportunity to see the horses up-close as they circle before the jockeys get on board. On busy days it may pay to take younger visitors to the pre-parade ring. This is where the horses are brought before the saddles are put on their backs. Make sure you watch the races from different positions to get a range of perspectives. You can view the racing by the rails, in the stands and everywhere in between. 

At some courses, it is possible to watch the action from right next to the fences. Seeing the horses jump at racing speed and hear all the sounds that go with it, really is not to be missed.

Cheer Home The Winners

It’s always exciting to go to the winners’ enclosure to cheer home the successful horses and jockeys. Generally, the first four horses return there. After the bigger races it pays to stick around to watch the trophy presentations to the winning owner, trainer and jockey. There so much for under-18s to do and see. 

Even after passed the age of qualification for free admission there are still some excellent offers. For example, the Jockey Club’s Racepass 18 to 24 initiative offers half-price admission and there are similar schemes at lots of tracks. There’s so much going on during a day at the races, children of all ages will love it. 

With free admission to under 18s, it’s value that is hard to beat and it’s waiting at a racecourse near you.

Check out racing near you with our fixture checker here and inspire the next generation!