Our Trip to the York Ebor Festival

On the opening day of the York Ebor festival a few of us from Racing Breaks made the trip up to York. I myself have been to York before but neither of my colleagues had, so I was eagerly telling them all there is to look forward to in both the City and at the Racecourse.

York Racecourse

York Racecourse

As the Racing Breaks headquarters are based in London, we simply hopped on a train from London Kings Cross to York and within 2 hours, we had reached our final destination. From the moment you step off the train, the history and beauty of York is apparent. As soon as you leave the station you are greeted by the Roman City Walls which surround the centre of York. If you get a chance to, you must do the walk around the walls! After a quick bag drop and check-in at the Premier Inn, we headed into the city centre. The streets of York are idyllic with cobbled paving, old churches, and a number of old, slightly lopsided buildings which are full of character.

York City

York City

Castle entrance

Castle entrance

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There is a great atmosphere walking through the narrow streets, and although it is busy with a number of people going about their day to day lives, it is certainly a lot calmer, slower pace of life compared to London. There are a number of bespoke shops, delicious restaurants and sociable pubs. We were on a mission, to hunt down the the famous Yorkshire Pudding Wraps at York Roast and Co. which is literally a roast dinner wrapped in a yorkshire pudding! I had heard many good things about these and was desperate to try one, and let me tell you they did not disappoint. 

The York Roast co.

The York Roast co.

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The Famous Bettys Tea Room

The Famous Bettys Tea Room

York Cathedral

York Cathedral

After the epic Yorkshire pudding wrap we headed to see the famous landmark of this wonderful place, York Minster. The Cathedral is hard to miss as it is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. We then headed back to the hotel via The Grand, one of the best 5* hotels in York and is perfectly located within the City Walls. Racing Breaks offer packages to the Ebor festival with a luxurious stay at The Grand; the perfect place to enjoy after a long days’ racing.

The Grand Hotel York

The Grand Hotel York

The bar in The Grand

The bar in The Grand

After exploring the city, we headed to the Racecourse for the Ebor Preview evening, notoriously one of the best preview evenings with a fantastic panel of racing experts and tipsters. There was also a special appearance at the Preview and we are not talking about ITV’s Ed Chamberlin, it was the one and only Melbourne Cup, which is currently on a tour around six different countries. As an official tourism operator offering the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the UK, everyone who has their photo taken with the Melbourne Cup, will receive an information flyer about our fantastic trip. After listening to top tips from Oli Bell, Richard Fahey, Fran Berry and Ed Chamberlin and the preview concluded, and we headed to Delrios Italian, famous for its amazing food and is a favourite of connections within the racing industry.

Fran Berry and Ed Chamberlin with the Melbourne Cup

Fran Berry and Ed Chamberlin with the Melbourne Cup

York Ebor Preview Evening

York Ebor Preview Evening

After a comfortable night’ sleep, it was the first morning of the Ebor Festival. We found a lovely spot for a bit of breakfast; Brew and Brownie, highly recommended if you choose not to include breakfast with your hotel stay. The city is buzzing with racegoers from the moment we walked out of our hotel with people walking from the station into town for a spot of Brunch before they make their way to Knavesmere. There are plenty of taxi stands and Uber cars around as well as a fantastic shuttle service from the station to the Racecourse for only £2. We all jumped into a taxi for the short 5 minute journey to the course.The Racecourse is the perfect mix of old and new, with some of the nicest grandstands and bar areas you will find anywhere. 

A perfect spot for a drink or bite to eat before racing

A perfect spot for a drink or bite to eat before racing

As you enter the course, all Country Stand tickets get a FREE race card, something I don’t think you get anywhere else! The course flows perfectly round starting with the Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar, which had a wonderful Caribbean Steel Band to welcome everyone. As you make your way round in the direction of the Parade Ring the path is filled with lots of interesting things such as the catwalk for the best dressed competition, flower walls and small coffee and ice cream carts as well as a terrace of bars which makes for the perfect place to sit and take in all the sights.

Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar

Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar

The Fashion Cat Walk

The Fashion Cat Walk

The Flower Walls

The Flower Walls

Enable Day Ready

Enable Day Ready

We were lucky to be present for the unveiling of a lifesize bronze statue of the iconic Lester Piggot outside Old Weighing Room. Next to this is the fashion walk where each day is a different category of best dressed. Inside the Old Weighing Room, York have done an amazing job of keeping it as close to how it was back in the days when still in use for its purpose. With old Saddle racks and pegs on the wall, as well as old signs still up and of course the old school scales in the middle. As well as all this there are a number of plaques on the walls about history the jockeys who have ridden so successfully there over the years; such a great touch and so interesting to read.

Lester Piggot Statue

Lester Piggot Statue

The Old Weighing Room

The Old Weighing Room

The Old Weighing Room

The Old Weighing Room

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The big main bar which has a great Rose and cocktail bar which is undercover with ample seating meaning you are well sheltered from any rain should you be unlucky with the weather. The new Moet and Chandon bar is located over two floors with the most epic roof terrace, this is the place you want to arrive early to secure a table for the day. From the terrace you can see the winning post and parade ring all whilst enjoying a drink and soaking up the sun, oh and of course people watching as everyone comes in!

The Rose Bar

The Rose Bar

Moet and Chandon Terrace Bar

Moet and Chandon Terrace Bar

Like many courses, York has an area in the middle of the course which is called the Clocktower enclosure and is just £12 during the big festivals. This is perfect for families especially the Ebor which takes place during the school holidays. This is the perfect enclosure for many to enjoy a relaxed day out with picnics welcome and plenty of food stalls and entertainment to enjoy. On Wednesday, we got up close to a couple of ex-racehorses at the New Beginnings charity stand. New Beginnings offer re-training and rehoming of racehorses, something that is so crucial for horses in training.

Middle of the course.

Middle of the course.

In front of the stands, York has a perfect little mound so you are slightly elevated above the horses for the best views, with plenty of seating and viewing for everyone. The home straight is incredibly long  and help to build the excitement and tension as each furlong passes; which was clear when CRYSTAL OCEAN and JAPAN came to battle making a thrilling race!

The mix of old and new stands at York

The mix of old and new stands at York

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Frankie winning at York

Frankie winning at York

As you can see there are many reasons to head to York for the Ebor Festival and it’s fair to say it is now firmly in all of our top racecourses to visit, so why not see what all the fuss is about for yourself and book a trip for the Ebor 2020.