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Hen Ideas

Royal Ascot – a guide to racing!

Red7 Blogs , June 14, 2016

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A Guide to Royal Ascot

Great for Hens and Stag Dos! Royal Ascot Horse Racing is one of the most competitive racing meets in the world, with 6 races daily over 5 days. During this time expect a whirlwind of excitement and all the glamour that comes with the Races, making it a great event to include in your hen do activities. But with such strict dress codes it can be tricky to plan your perfect race day look. If you’re tempted to attend with your leading ladies, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to ascot style for each enclosure, as well as a few tips for your day out at the races.

Royal Ascot Carriages

By Steve F, CC BY-SA 2.0,


Ensure you get to the racecourse before the 2pm to see the Royal Procession pass through the Queen Anne lawns. The first of the six races will start at 2.30pm, so once you’ve waved at the Queen get yourself to the pre-parade ring to soak up the atmosphere and see the horses warming up before the race. As soon as the horses are warmed up they are guided around the parade ring for you to get a good look before deciding which horse to bet on for the upcoming race.


Once you have chosen what you think will be the winning horse, it’s time to head to the Totepool kiosk, betting ring, or the betting shops. Before you place any bets, make sure you know what each bet means:

To Win – This one is fairly obvious (we hope!). All the money that you are placing on the bet will be for the horse to finish first in the race, with no return if it places 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

Each Way – This bet is essentially two parts. The first is for your chosen horse to come first in the race, and the second part is for the horse to place 2nd, 3rd or 4th. This is a good bet if you want to play it safe but frustrating if the horse comes 1st and you didn’t bet To Win.

Favourite – The favourite is the horse considered most likely to win so will have the shortest odds.

Stake – This is the amount of money you have placed on the bet.

The Totepool kiosks are placed throughout the racecourse. With Totepool, you aren’t betting against the bookmaker. Instead, the stake goes into a pool and how much you win depends on how many other winning tickets there are, like the lottery.

The betting ring is where you’ll find all the bookmakers on stands in front of the grandstand. Here you can only bet ‘To Win’ or ‘Win and Each Way’. Look for the stand with the best odds for your horse as they can change!

There are a couple of betting shops in the racecourse, including Winning Post and Betfred. The bets you place here have fixed odds, but there are more types of bets available, and the minimum stakes can vary.

Royal Ascot Fashion

Now that you’re all sorted on the betting front, it’s time to make sure you have the right outfit for each enclosure.


The Royal Enclosure is the space originally reserved for the Royal family and their guests. The space is invite-only to members, however each member can bring guests so if you happen to know any members… Out of all the enclosures at Royal Ascot, the Royal Enclosure dress code is the strictest and failure to follow the dress code can result in you being turned away.

The dress code is as follows:

  • Dresses and skirts should fall just above the knee or longer
  • Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater
  • Jackets and pashminas may be worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply to the previous requirements
  • Trouser suits are welcome but they must be of full length and matching material and colour
  • Hats should be worn

Dress styles that aren’t allowed include strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps. Midriffs must be covered and no fascinators can be worn.


In the Queen Anne Enclosure not only do you get great views of the finishing line, but you are also close to the runners and riders in the Parade Ring, and get front row views as the Royal Procession passes by the Grandstand. Previously known as the Grandstand Enclosure, the Queen Anne Enclosure dress code is a little more relaxed.

Queen Anne Enclosure dress code:

  • A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times
  • Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted
  • Trousers must be full length and worn with a top that adheres to the guidelines above
  • Midriffs must be covered and shorts are not permitted


Previously known as the Silver Ring, the Windsor Enclosure is the most relaxed of all the enclosures. The enclosure itself is on the lawns beside the Grandstand and race track, where you can get a close up view of the horses thundering past.

Whilst racegoers are encouraged to wear smart clothes, no formal dress code applies in the Windsor Enclosure except that replica sports shirts are not permitted.

Despite no formal dress code, you will still find racegoers here dressed to impress in their finest gear and fascinators.

With the dress code covered, there are just a few more points worth noting. Firstly, make sure you wear comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet for most of the day. Secondly, take an umbrella, especially if you have tickets for the Windsor Enclosure – there isn’t much cover here so you will get wet if the heavens decide to open.

For a truly royal hen weekend to remember, why not pair a day out at the races with a gorgeous afternoon tea and hotel stay to treat your hens to the high life?

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