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Review; Ripon Races Family Fun Day

I have lived in Ripon for almost 30 years, and my husband for 12 years. I’m rather embarrassed to say that we have only ventured to Ripon Races once during a combined 42 years, and our boys had never been! I think when you live in a town (or small city in our case) you often forget about what is right on your own doorstep and going to the races is just one of those things that is always there in the background.

So when we were given the chance to review the Ripon Races Family Day in April, we jumped at the chance, especially as It was the family day so we could take our boys with us too.

On this occasion we were lucky enough to have Club Tickets, which gave us access everywhere. We arrived (after a rather lengthy debate over what to wear with the boys) in the car and car parking was really simple. As a local, we associate race days with everywhere being super busy and lots of queuing traffic, but we certainly didn’t experience this today. Shuttles do run from Ripon centre on race days which are a really sensible option, however as long as you arrive in plenty of time, driving is also a good option especially when travelling with children. There is also the option to purchase ‘car on course’ tickets which appeared great fun for the families who chose this option.

Entry via the club entry was surprisingly quick (after a bag check that everyone is subject to) and we were straight into the area where they parade the horses pre race, and also the champagne bar!

For the first couple of races, we stayed on this side of the course, watching the horses parading (and choose our horses). Whilst it was busy, we didn’t feel cramped and there was plenty of space for everyone. Our boys loved being so close to the finish line, but enjoyed watching the horses parading most.

Next we headed past the winners presentation area, and went to the amazing sweet shop. It has every kind of sweet imaginable and is a child’s (and adults) dream shop. It was really reasonably priced too and was a lovely treat for the boys to choose their own sweets the ‘old fashioned’ way. In this area there was also an artisan pizza van and a couple of other food / drink trucks. We didn’t order any food as we had had lunch before attending.

We then walked over the course to the slightly more informal side of the racecourse (where you can bring your own chairs, picnics and even gazebos as long as you don’t block anyone’s view!). Whilst I felt slightly overdressed moving from the club enclosure to this side (as we had dressed for the club enclosure which has a dress code) we had a really lovely time on this side. It is much more informal and had so much for the children to do. On this particular family day, there was a bouncy castle, bouncy slide, barrel rides, face painting, slime making and a magician too. Of course watching the horse racing is entertainment in itself, but this addition for children was brilliant particularly for those ‘in-between races’ moments. There was also fast food vans, ice cream van, donuts and more. It had a really lovely, family atmosphere and I know our boys could have stayed here all day and had the best time. There’s also a small playground area too which seemed really popular.

We really had a wonderful day, we bumped into lots of families we knew and I think this will now become a regular family day out on the family days throughout the year. The next family day is in May and I hear this one is a traditional family fun day, complete with Punch & Judy!

The list of this years fixtures can be found by clicking here

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