York Ladies Day

Wherever you happen to live in the UK, you will never be far away from a Ladies Day. From Perth up in Scotland to Newton Abbot down on the south coast, every track has one. Just about the pick of the bunch for northern racegoers is the annual event which takes place at the beautiful track of York.

Benefiting from its location so close to one of the country’s most picturesque cities, and a slot in the heart of the British summertime, this hugely popular fixture is one of the key dates in the social racing calendar.

Key Facts

  • When Is It? – York Ladies Day takes place on a Thursday afternoon in mid to late June each year, acting as the second day of the four-day Ebor Festival.
  • Ticket Prices – Standard ticket prices range from a bargain £15 up to £72, depending upon which of the enclosures you attend.
  • Where Is It? – York Racecourse lies around a mile to the southeast of the historic walled city of York in Yorkshire.
  • Major Races – The day’s standout event of the Yorkshire Oaks is fittingly restricted to the fairer sex, as a field of the most talented fillies and mares in training do battle over a mile and a half.
  • Verdict – Boasting summer sun, outstanding racecourse facilities, and top-class racing – all but a stone’s throw from all of the attractions that York has to offer – it is no surprise that this is one of the most well-attended Ladies Days in the land.

When Is It?

Ladies Day is a key feature of the track’s hugely popular Ebor meeting which takes place over four days in August each year: running from Wednesday through to Saturday. Day 2 of the meeting, on the Thursday, is the date for the diary for those looking to join in the Ladies Day festivities.

In addition to a whole host of entertainment in the stands, including live music and the style awards – offering excellent prizes to the best-dressed patrons – racegoers will be treated to an excellent card of action on the track. The first of the day’s seven events gets underway at 1:50 pm, with the runners setting off in the last at 5:20 pm.

Gates open at 11 am for those who wish to arrive early and take in their surroundings, or perhaps grab a drink or bite to eat. And for those who aren’t quite ready to leave following the conclusion of the last race, live musical entertainment keeps the party going until around 6:30 pm.

How Much Are Tickets?

In addition to being one of the most popular Ladies Days in the country, York also offers excellent value for money, with the prices comparing favourably with many other events of similar stature. Those making the trip to the Knavesmire venue have three enclosures from which to select, all of which promise a cracking race day experience.

Clocktower Enclosure

From £15 – Only available to purchase on the day, this enclosure is located on a grassy bank and affords excellent views of the home straight and winning post. Racegoers are invited to bring their own picnics should they wish, but the enclosure does also feature a Food Court, bars, and bookmakers.

Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure

From £40 – The track’s largest and most popular enclosure grants easy access to the bustling betting ring, and excellent views of the track, parade ring, and winners enclosure. Liquid refreshment is never far away courtesy of the wide selection of bars throughout, whilst a range of catering options ensure you will never go hungry.

County Stand

From £72 – Access to the track’s high-end ticketing option comes with a free race card. In addition to all of the perks of the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure, this swish area includes a selection of more opulent catering options, including a Champagne Pavilion and Seafood Bar.


From £391.67+ – Those seeking to really do Ladies Day in style may wish to consider one of the track’s luxurious hospitality options. Ranging from tables in one of the course’s trackside restaurants to private boxes, these packages include welcome drinks, a gourmet standard meal, and more. Check the hospitality section of the track’s official website for the latest deals and pricing information.

The prices quoted above all refer to a single adult. Whilst Clocktower Enclosure tickets must be purchased on the day, “Early Bird” discounts are available for both the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure and the County Stand. Advance bookings for parties of six or more will also be eligible for a group discount.

Getting There

York town centre

York town centre (jiggotravel, Bigstockphoto.com)

  • Racecourse Address – York Racecourse, Racecourse Road, Knavesmire Road, York, Y023 1EX
  • By Road – Racegoers travelling from all directions are advised to navigate to the A64 which leads directly to the south end of the racecourse. Many of the approach routes recommended by satnav will not be available on race days, but yellow directional signs will be in place leading motorists to the track’s ample free car park.
  • By Rail – Enjoying strong links with the major stations of London King’s Cross, Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham, York Station is easily reached from most areas of the country. York Station lies around a mile from the course and is certainly walkable. However, those looking to protect their heels may prefer to take a taxi or the shuttle bus service which runs from 11 am to 1 pm. Also making the return journey following the racing action, shuttle bus return tickets are priced at £3.
  • Public Transport – An alternative for those travelling from York city centre is to take one of the local bus services to the course. Departing from Low Ousegate and Piccadilly respectively, the 11 and 21 services both stop around a five-minute walk from the main entrance to the course.

The Racing

Courtesy of the excellent atmosphere and outstanding modern facilities, York Racecourse can always be relied upon to provide a memorable racing experience. Those turning their attention to events on the track will find that the racing is of similarly high quality.

In keeping with the theme of the day, the three highest-class contests on offer are restricted to female runners. Of this trio, the opening Lowther Stakes and Galtres Stakes will each see the crowds throng around the parade ring, but it is the Yorkshire Oaks which takes centre stage. Invariably attracting the best of the best from both sides of the Irish Sea, this Group 1 event grants the chance to see a field of genuine equine superstars in the flesh.

Elsewhere on the card, handicapping action generates plenty of excitement in the betting ring, whilst the juvenile events provide the chance to catch an early glimpse of potential stars of the future.

York Racecourse

With tales of racing in this corner of Yorkshire dating back fully 6,000 years, it’s safe to say that York Racecourse has a fair amount of history behind it. Officially opened at the current Knavesmire site in 1731, York Racecourse was in the headlines in 1739 as the site where highway robber Dick Turpin met his demise – via the hangman’s noose.

For the curious amongst you, the name “Knavesmire” means a “swampy pasture for a man of low standing”. Whilst the absence of men of low standing can’t be guaranteed, it is at least safe to say that there is nothing swamp-like about the appearance of the track these days.

Outstanding Facilities

The facilities on offer at York are simply outstanding. Home to an impressive selection of stands – including the imposing five-storey main grandstand – many rank York behind only Ascot in terms of providing a top-class race day experience. Winner of the much coveted “Best British Racecourse” award in 1997, 2003 and 2017, York attracts over 350,000 racegoers each year – many of whom return for more, having been seduced by the combination of history, wonderful views, and thoroughly modern facilities.

It is certainly safe to say that no matter which of the enclosures you select for your Ladies Day antics, you are in for a good time. It is nevertheless useful to know a little of what awaits when booking those tickets. With that in mind, we conclude with a selection of the highlights to be found in each of the track’s three main enclosures.

Clocktower Enclosure

  • Food to Go – Offering an excellent selection of food outlets, including fish and chips, burgers, doughnuts, ice cream, pizza, and more.
  • Clocktower Enclosure Bar – Straightforward fully stocked bar providing all of your race day liquid essentials.

Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure

  • Good Food to Go – Hog roasts, beef sandwiches, fish and chips, Whitby Scampi, pasties, burgers, Mexican food and more.
  • The 1731 Pie Shop – Delicious selection of homemade shortcrust pies, sandwiches, and snacks.
  • Roberto Pimm’s & Champagne Bar – Classic Pimm’s cocktails and fizz in a bar overlooking a lawned area of the track.
  • Roberto Seafood & Champagne Bar – Seafood platters and the finest fizz. Settle in and soak up the sun in this decked area.
  • Roberto Lawn Marquee – Full bar set in a marquee at the south end of the Knavesmire Stand.
  • Bustardthorpe Lawn – A fully stocked bar set beside a beautiful lawned area, providing great views of the racing.

County Stand

  • Princess Mary Champagne & Wine Bar – Seafood platters, sandwiches, snacks, and champagne by the glass, or bottle.
  • John Carr Bar, Grill, & Terrace – Set in a Grade II listed building, this fully stocked bar also serves up BBQ boxes, pizza, and other tasty treats.
  • E.B.O.R Bistro – Standing for “Eat Between Our Races”, the rapid service of this bistro enables you to grab a quick snack in between each of the day’s events.
  • Eclipse Restaurant – Located on the top floor of the Ebor Stand, this walk-up restaurant serves excellent carvery lunches and seafood platters in a wonderful, terraced setting.
  • The Gimcrack Restaurant – Serving sit-down three-course lunches in an exquisite Edwardian dining room, The Gimcrack Restaurant adds a real touch of class to the day.
  • Champagne Pavilion & Roof Terrace – Located opposite the parade ring, this Champagne Bar also offers light bites and provides some of the best views the track has to offer.
  • Veuve Clicquot Champagne Lawn – Yet more bubbles. This time located in a scenic lawned area granting great views of the runners as they enter the parade ring.