One of Britain’s leading sporting event and long-awaited social affair, Royal Ascot, is about to begin in just a few days. Today I am going to share with you photos of a day spent at the races in Ascot earlier this year.
Royal Ascot is Britain’s most valuable race meeting, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for more than £5.5 million in prize money. The first race meeting ever held at Ascot took place in 1711 and the Queen has attended every Royal Meeting during her reign.
It is not just a sport event, it is a social event and a spectacle of fashion and elegance. I was happy to dress up for a day, but also glad that hats and mid-length skirts were not a requirement on Jumps day.
Back in February I received an invitation to the Royal Ascot fine dining launch, a press event held at the Panoramic Restaurant and featuring a 3-course meal cooked by Raymond Blanc and Phil Howard. The Michelin star Chefs will host the Panoramic Restaurant and On5 respectively, for all five days of this year’s Royal Meeting.
The occasion for the preview lunch was Ascot Chase Raceday, one of the most prestigious races in the Jumps calendar.
After nearly 10 years living in the UK, this wasn’t just my first time at Ascot, but my first time at a horse racing event. I was very excited to attend the lunch at Panoramic Restaurant with my husband and some of my friends, Jo, Sarka and Clerkenwell Boy.
The Panoramic Restaurant is located in the Royal Enclosure on the 6th floor.
It offers uninterrupted views down the Straight Mile and overlooking the Winning Post.
The day started with a Bollinger Champagne reception and canapés by Rhubarb, before we took our seats at the table for the fine dining lunch.
Chef Raymond Blanc introduced the first course: Confit Salmon, Cucumber ribbons, cauliflower and horseradish creme fraiche.
The second course was served by Gemma Amor, Ascot’s Executive Chef. It was Spring lamb with artichokes, smoked ricotta, grelot onion and lamb jus.
The dessert, by Chef Phil Howard, was Brillat Savarin cheese cake with lemon verbena ice cream and strawberries.
In between courses we stepped into the balcony to watch the races and join in the cheering with the rest of the crowds.
The atmosphere at Ascot Chase Race was buzzing and full of energy. I cannot imagine what it feels like to attend Royal Meetings, when the number of people attending the 5-day event are three times the number we had in February.
It’s a real luxury to have a seat at the Panoramic Restaurant during Royal Ascot, but if you cannot afford to buy the fine dining package (prices vary from £995 to £1,280), don’t worry. You can eat at one of the 19 restaurants and 15 private dining facilities.
After lunch we visited On5 Restaurant on the fifth-floor. I loved the decor and location of this restaurant, which comes with a private outdoor terrace offering panoramic views of the racecourse.
We watched the horses strolling around the Parade Ring.
And later we were driven into the racecourse to watch the race from the side track. It was incredible to be so close to the action!
The Royal Ascot Fine Dining experience ended with a quintessentially British tradition: Afternoon Tea with sandwiches, cakes and scones.
After a long and exciting day at Ascot, it was time to cash out our winnings (yes, we did win a few pounds) and get the train back to London. Thank you Royal Ascot for a wonderful day at the races!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Ascot Racecourse. All opinions are my own.