Epsom Downs Racecourse is located in Surrey about 20 miles from London
Epsom Downs is a premier Grade 1 racecourse owned by the Jockey Club situated on the North Downs at Epsom in Surrey. With a crowd capacity of 130,000 racegoers, Epsom Downs is famous for thoroughbred flat horse racing, and in particular for hosting the prestigious Epsom Derby Festival each year in June.
A traditional ‘downs’ course, Epsom Racecourse hosts 11 top-class flat racing fixtures over the summer from early June to the end of September. The racecourse has immense historical importance, with the first race being held 1661.
Epsom Downs 'rollercoaster' racetrack
The main Epsom Downs racetrack, is a horseshoe-shaped left-handed rollercoaster of a course, 1 miles, 4 furlongs and 6 yards in length, with a series of left and right and undulations, difficult changes in camber, a downhill section, and two steep inclines.
The climb from the start to the first corner at Epsom rises 40 meters, the same as Nelson’s Column, before sweeping around the historic downhill bend at Tattenham Corner, before climbing up again at the finish. The camber towards the inside rail is one of its most famous features, challenging even the best racehorses.
The Epsom Downs track is a huge test for thoroughbreds who require balance and stamina to be effective, especially with a stiff uphill climb, followed by a challenging bending descent, and then another stiff climb over the final furlong to the finishing line.
In addition to the horseshoe track, there is also a downhill five-furlong straight course, that is the fastest of its kind in the world.
Interestingly, at trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydole racing operation in Ireland, he has replicated the Tattenham Corner downhill bend at his own training facility.
Epsom Downs & The Derby
If it weren’t for the 12th Earl of Derby, perhaps Epsom would be best known for natural mineral water Epsom Salts. Today, Epsom is synonymous with horse racing – the Derby and the Oaks in particular – and the Derby Festival in June each year.
The Earl invited his friends to race their fillies on the Epsom Downs in 1779 and thus The Oaks was born. A year later and a race for both colts and fillies was introduced. Named on the toss of a winning coin by the Earl, what is today flat racing’s Blue Riband event, it was christened, The Derby.
Regarded as the world’s greatest flat race, The Derby, runs over this, anything but flat, course. It’s the UK’s premier thoroughbred horse race for 3-year-old colts and fillies, over a mile and a half (2400m) and the UK’s richest flat horse race with a £1.6M prize fund.
Epsom racecourse has witnessed some of the sport’s most glorious moments, with Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Shergar among the horses to enter the winner’s enclosure and The Derby Fall of Fame. In 1780, the very first Derby winner Diomed, collected £1065.15 shillings for his victory. A far cry from today with the richest purse in British horse racing going to the horse that passess the winning post first.
The Derby Festival also hosts the Epsom Oaks Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and the Coronation Cup for horses aged 4 years and upwards on day 1 of the festival. All three races are Group 1 races, run over the same course and distance, and are part of the Qipco British Champions Series.
Epsom Downs Grandstands
One of the most impressive stands in British racing, the Queen’s Stand is situated right at the heart of the racing action. Delivering an unrivalled racing and entertainment experience, it’s the racecourse’s premium enclosure.
With prime access to the Parade Ring, Queen’s Stand ticket-holding racegoers can follow the horses all the way to the track before taking up a spot to watch the races on the steppings or the Queen’s Stand Lawn.
With direct sight lines over the finishing straight and Winning Post, it’s the perfect spot to watch the greatest thoroughbred horses in the world storm home to victory and the celebrations in the Winner’s Circle.
The Moët & Chandon Terrace, situated within the Queen’s Stand enclosure, is a sophisticated haven away from the crowds with comfortable seating and views across the racecourse.
The £37 million redevelopment of Epsom Downs Racecourse in 2009 involved the creation of a major new grandstand, enclosure and entrance pavilion. Known as the Duchess Stand, it provides an excellent relaxed atmosphere and fantastic viewing of the racing action.
The grandstand incorporates a huge betting,conference and exhibition hall with superb catering and bar facilities with upper floors providing flexible conference and banqueting facilities, high end corporate boxes and prime club facilities.
Epsom Downs Enclosures
One of iconic images of the Derby Festival is the famous open top buses that line the closing yards of the track to the finish.
With a trackside view all the way down to the pivotal Tattenham Corner, betting facilities and the opportunity see the event unfolding in front of you, it represents excellent value.
The Hillside Enclosure is brand new for 2017, with entertainment for all members of the family. Step to the left for inflatables, pony rides and magicians in the Family Zone, or to the right for live music and giant garden games in the Garden Party
The Poundland Hill is the famous free area at the centre of the racecourse and is usually the heart of the party as people flock to its unique carnival atmosphere. No tickets are required to access the Poundland Hill on either day – just turn up and enjoy IT for free! What’s more quintessentially British than indulging in a picnic at the races?
The Royal Connection
With its long association with the British Royal family, Epsom Downs Racecourse has immense historical importance. Her Majesty The Queen attends the Epsom Derby Festival most years – missing it only twice in more than 70 years. On Derby Day, the Royal motorcade enters Epsom at the top of the straight.
The racecourse has also seen tragedy with a Royal connection. Shortly before the winning post, on the home straight, a plaque marks the spot where suffragette Emily Davison was struck by the King’s Horse Anmer, in the 1913 Derby. She died of her injuries four days later.
Despite that sad and shocking event, Epsom is known for its vibrant atmosphere, roaring laughter, thundering hooves, and the top quality racing that makes the Derby Festival an unmistakably British event and The Greatest Summer Celebration for everyone, Kings and paupers, knobs and yobs.
It’s just been announced that the 2021 Derby Festival will form part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.
Go Racing @ Epsom Downs Racecourse
Epsom Downs Racecourse is located in the heart of the Surrey countryside, around 15 miles from London, and just a few minutes from Epsom Town Centre on the B290 Epsom Downs Road, and just off junction 9 of the M25. AA signs mark all major approach routes. If using SatNav or the AA Route Planner, key in postcode: KT18 5LQ as your destination.
There is plenty of on-site car parking on-site with prices from £5 on non-Derby racedays. Parking for Derby Festival ticket holders is complimentary in Car Park 21. Blue Badge disabled parking is located in Car Park 20. Members and Hospitality guests will be issued a parking pass ahead of the event with their location. Taxi Drop off is outside the Derby Arms.
Epsom Station is connected by both South West Trains and Southern Trains. Connections from London Waterloo & London Victoria. Take a 10 minute taxi or bus ride from the station. During The Derby Festival a shuttle bus service runs from Epsom Station. Tattenham Corner Station is a 1/2 mile walk to the racecourse. Epsom Downs Station is a 1 mile walk to the racecourse.
Metrobus operates a 460, 480 and 406F service which runs from Epsom Town Centre to Tattenham Corner Station. It is an easy way to reach the racecourse in just 3 stops.
Heathrow Airport is approximately 27 miles from the racecourse. Gatwick is approximately 18.5 miles from the racecourse. It is also possible to land a helicopter on the Downs subject to prior approval. To book email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Helipad website. Max 5 people per flight, £50 per person inc VAT.
OPEN TOP BUSES & COACHES
Open Top Buses and coaches are a traditional part of The Derby Festival experience and are renowned as a great way to soak up the day. If you’re looking for a unique experience like no other, consider an Open Top Bus experience!
For more information on race fixtures, music nights or general enquiries please call the racecourse on 01372 726 311. You can also tweet Epsom @EpsomRacecourse.
To book tickets, please call the hotline on 0344 579 3004.
RESTAURANT & HOSPITALITY ENQUIRIES
For more information about our world-class range of dining and hospitality facilities, email or call us on 01372 477747.
If you’re interested in sponsorship at Epsom Downs, send an enquiry or call 01372 461260 to speak to a member of our Partnerships team.
If you’re interested in hiring a space at Epsom Downs whether it’s for a wedding, conference or exhibition, we can help. For more information about our venue, click here. Get in touch by email or call 01372 460460.
Epsom Downs Racecourse, Epsom, Surrey KT18 5LQ
Epsom Downs, Epsom, Surrey KT18 5LQ
A Jockey Club Racecourse
The Jockey Club operate 15 of the UK’s leading racecourses, including Epsom Downs, and stage a quarter of the UK’s fixture list of race meetings, including the Epsom Derby, the Aintree Grand National and Cheltenham Festival. Jockey Club Racecourses is the UK’s largest racecourse group and aims to ensure British horseracing remains the best in the world for many years to come. Jockey Club Racecourses is committed to investing in the quality of racing and preserving the UK’s historic racecourses for upcoming generations.