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Racing. Royals. Regalia. Plus lots of other words that begin with R. Royal Ascot is horse racing's most revered event, with the Gold Cup attracting sports fans, gamblers and fashionistas in their droves. Big hats. Big hurdles. Big wads being wagered on improbably named horses. It could only be Royal Ascot 2014.
This year, the event runs from Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st June, with daily races, the royal procession and a nightly spot of singing around the bandstand. Add in socialising with socialites and drinking with drink magnates and you're set for a dizzying week of partying and screaming yourself hoarse (horse?) as your appointed winner comes tearing down the home straight. The net worth of Ascot's major players may dwarf your own, but that doesn't mean the Gold Cup is out of reach. Provided you're not lusting after a spot in the Royal Enclosure, tickets are reasonable and so's accommodation in Berkshire.
It's time to find yourself a good milliner – Royal Ascot is on its way.
Royal Ascot 2014: everything you need to know
Setting for Royal Ascot 2014
England's most famous racecourse, Ascot lies just six miles from Windsor Castle. The Royals have always been partial to horse racing, and with a world-class racecourse on their prestigious doorstep, a regal presence was inevitable. Whether you fully support the Royals or believe them to be an anachronistic institution that scant deserves an upper case R, let alone millions in subsidies, why, that's immaterial; there's always the racing to distract you. The Berkshire village of Ascot is famous for horse racing and nothing more, but that's to be expected; when the country's most illustrious race takes place on your turf, there's scant opportunity for promoting all the other things that make your village great. Ascot and horse racing; horse racing and Ascot. Inseparable and indistinguishable.
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Schedule for Royal Ascot 2014
Royal Ascot runs for five days, with the gates opening at 10:30am on Tuesday 17th June. There's plenty of time for schmoozing and boozing – or rather sipping Dom Perignon and socialising – while you await the Royal Procession at 2pm. The action begins in earnest with the day's first race at 2:30pm. This is followed by a feature race at 4:25pm and a final race at 5:35pm. This schedule is repeated throughout the week; simply pick the days when you're able to attend and get there early to soak up the atmosphere. What with admiring the horses, the headwear and hitting up the bar, the day will fly in. Take a camera, but if you're tempted to photograph some of the more outlandishly dressed ladies and gentlemen, be discreet!
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Ticketing for Royal Ascot 2014
Ticketing for Royal Ascot is surprisingly affordable, with the lowest prices covering the opening two days of action. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Silver Ring admission is set at £25, with Grandstand admission £65. These prices rise slightly for Thursday and Friday, culminating in the grand finale on Saturday, which sees Silver Ring prices at £37 and Grandstand admission at £75. There is also the prospect of admittance to the Royal Enclosure, which is reserved for Royal Ascot members. Tickets for Royal Ascot can be purchased here.
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Dress code for Royal Ascot 2014
Aside from horse racing, Royal Ascot is famous for one thing – its fashion. High fashion; garish fashion; unwearable fashion. Despite some of the fantastic hats and outfits on display, the racecourse does observe a strict dress code; novelty and branded/promotional clothing is not allowed within the racecourse. The rules are more relaxed for the Silver Ring Enclosure, though racegoers are still encouraged to dress smartly. Save the jeans and trainers for the pub – you can dress down every other day of the year. Ascot is all about dressing to impress.
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Exploring Berkshire during Royal Ascot 2014
Ascot may be all about horse racing, but there's also an entire region to explore. If you're planning to spend a few days in Berkshire, you can combine the racing with boating on the Thames, a trip to Windsor Castle or a stroll through The Savill Garden, one of Britain's greatest ornamental gardens. Should that itinerary prove too genteel for your tastes, there's always the prospect of a trip to Legoland. If there's one thing The Lego Movie has taught us, it's that you're never too old for building grandiose structures out of bright plastic blocks.
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Image 1 "Royal Ascot 5" by Ambernectar 13
Image 2 by Steve F
Image 5 "The Royal Ascot grandstand" by David Jones
Royal Ascot Accommodation
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