There are a number of things which I always think of as quintessentially English: afternoon teas, picnics (often in the rain) and a day at the races.
The last one is something which up until a couple of weeks ago I’d never done before. I’ve watched Royal Ascot on the TV many times, with the Queen cheering on her horse from the Royal Box and everyone dressed up, the men in suits and the ladies in fancy dresses and big hats. So when our friends invited us to go we jumped at the chance.
We just went to a normal race day, rather than Royal Ascot, but we still made an effort to dress up. Some members of the group wore hats or fascinators, but I opted not to on account of my woefully small head:(
Ascot is easy to get to by train and it’s just a five minute walk from the station to the racecourse. We managed to dodge the rain showers and arrived at the venue surprisingly dry!
The atmosphere at Ascot was great. It’s busy and noisy and seeing everyone dressed up reminded me of a giant wedding. When we arrived there was a tribute Beatles band playing and lots of different places to buy food and drink.
We had premier admission tickets so we went upstairs to watch the races from the stands.
Those feeling lucky can place bets there or go down to the side of the track, where the bookmakers stand in their booths shouting the odds.
I don’t know the first thing about racing but I loved standing right next to the track as the horses thundered by, being urged on by their riders. It really made you appreciate the speed at which they run and the skill of their riders and trainers.
All in all, it was a fantastic day out. A chance to spend time with our friends, enjoy the brief periods of sunshine and, for a lucky few, to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…