Thursday, 25 July 2019

Our Day At The Races Family Fun Day

*This post is written as part of a paid collaboration with Great British Racing - all words and opinions are my own

As a family with three young children, we are always keen to find low-cost ideas for days out that will not only keep the children entertained but also offer some fun and/or chance for relaxation for us grown ups too.

So when we were recently invited along to a day at our local racecourse for their family fun day, we were really intrigued to see just what would be on offer and what we'd think of it all.

Although I was brought up pretty close to the famous Aintree racecourse, home of the Grand National, I had never actually attended any race events myself.

It's something that quite a lot of my family members do every so often, loving the chance to get dressed up for Ladies Day - but it's not really something that I'd ever considered, and I'd certainly never thought about it as a day out for families so I really had no idea what to expect from our day.

Our local track is Newton Abbot racecourse, which is only around 20 minutes drive from our home.

My first worry was what to wear for the day as I honestly had no clue what people wear to race days - should we be super-glammed up like the people I've seen on TV at Royal Ascot or was it more casual than that?! I had no idea and so after lots of umm-ing and ahh-ing I decided we'd go somewhere in between, with the children wearing smart-casual clothes and me opting for a nice wrap-style dress with sandals.

As it turned out, I really needn't have worried so much as there was a very eclectic tone of dress from the crowd on the day with some being smart but the majority being pretty casual - at least I know for next time!

After parking our car and heading in to the course, we walked past a pretty impressive children's play area which - of course! - the children wanted to head straight to!

It kept them entertained for ages - certainly long enough for Jon & I to have a nice quiet drink together in peace while watching on as they played, which was a rare treat. They kept asking to return to the play area again and again throughout the day, they enjoyed it so much!

Jon and I really enjoyed seeing the horses go past from where we were seated, the view was great from pretty much everywhere around the childrens area and it really did add to the excitement to cheer on the horses as they went by and see them in the Winners Circle and paddocks before and after the races. The children getting to see the horses close up too.

Jon and I really aren't big spenders when it comes to betting, but we did have a little flutter although sadly our luck wasn't in on the day!

I had wondered what the crowds would be like and whether it would be too over-crowded for the children, but I was pleasantly surprised. Although it was busy, it didn't feel crowded at all and the queues for drinks, foods and toilets weren't too bad at all.

As we were visiting on a family fun day, there were some additional extras laid on for the children to enjoy such as a magician, free balloon animals and free face painting too.

I have to say, the face painter was exceptionally talented and the children were all absolutely delighted with her creations! It's always lovely to have treats like this without having to pay any extra, as when you have three children this sort of thing can usually really add up fast!

To start off the family fun day there was a childrens mascot race featuring some mascots from local businesses including Newton Abbot Racecourse's own mascot Hurriet The Horse and Devon & Cornwall Police's mascot Police Dog too, much to Tyne's absolute delight and they loved cheering them on for the race!

There was also a fun 9-hole crazy golf course too, which cost £2.50 per child. The children asked to have a go of course, and although they never manage to play it properly - they do have lots of fun mucking about and doing it their own way!

We grabbed a bit of lunch while we were there too, treating ourselves to some cheesy chips and we found the prices pretty reasonable. There were lots of dining options dotted about, from BBQ stalls and ice cream vans  to fancier sit-down restaurants and plenty of choice of bars too.

The Newton Abbot Family Raceday came about after statistics released by Great British Racing revealed that 79% of parents in Plymouth believe that there aren’t enough low-cost activities available for children during the summer holidays, leading to more children spending fewer hours outside.

As part of Great British Racing’s ‘Under 18s Race Free’ initiative, there are 60 racecourses throughout Great Britain where under 18s are admitted free of charge to the vast majority of fixtures throughout the year, when accompanied by a paying adult.

Over the summer holidays there are more than 200 fixtures up and down the country, including 50 special family days with additional activities put on for families and young people.

All in all, we had a lovely family day out and we'd certainly look to do something like this again in the future.

To find out more about the Under 18's Race Free offer and the courses offering Family Fun Days this summer, visit /

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