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8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
JUNE 14 to JUNE 21, 2008
6 nights in London
4 days of racing at Royal Ascot and Goodwood
(Please see important special information for this trip
immediately following the day-by-day itinerary description)
Sat June 14
|Depart U.S., if not joining the trip from London or elsewhere.
Sun June 15
Arrive in London. You will be met at the airport and delivered to our London accommodation, The Draycott Hotel. We will also provide transport to The Draycott from other arrival locations in London. The remainder of the day is free for adjustment and your own activities.
At 6PM we'll gather for cocktails at the hotel to get acquainted and organized for our time together. We suggest and early night; our week will be a busy one.
THE DRAYCOTT: The unique and intimate Draycott is our regular London address. The hotel was adapted from three grand Edwardian townhouses and backs onto a private park. Located in the Knightsbridge end of Chelsea, there is excellent shopping, dining, and walking in the immediate neighborhood, and the rest of London is just minutes away by tube or taxi.
Our spacious deluxe double rooms each have a sitting area and in many cases a fireplace. Please see www.draycotthotel.com for further details on the property. Continental breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
Mon June 16
Mid-morning, the men will go for their final fitting and pickup of clothes for Royal Ascot (all measurements will have been sent ahead to the clothier in advance). Following this, which should take about an hour or two, the men can stay together for a no-host lunch or go their separate ways in London for the remainder of the day.
The women will probably want to do a bit of last-minute shopping today as well.
Late afternoon we'll regroup back at The Draycott and then head down to the nearby Thames River for a cocktail-hour cruise and a chance to see London from a viewpoint most of us probably haven't before. We'll have our own boat.
Tue June 17
"The Tuesday", opening day at Royal Ascot, is one of the best racing days of the year in Europe.
Headlining the card are two Group 1 one-mile races, the St. James's Palace for 3-year-olds and the Queen Anne for older horses. These rich and traditional races always go a long way towards helping to determine the championship in the milers' division. Companion features are the Group 2 King's Stand Stakes over a straight five furlongs, and the first unveiling race of the season for highly regarded 2-year-olds, the Group 2 Coventry Stakes. There's also a Listed race for 2-year-olds and a two-and-a-half-mile handicap.
We'll leave for the course early today, do a re-con of the racecourse to get you your bearings, then settle in for a late morning coffee and go over the Racing Post a final time. We'll then have lunch, and later we'll regroup for afternoon tea.
Today of course will also be our first taste of the atmosphere and ritual that makes Royal Ascot such a special experience. Stroll the entire Royal Enclosure and find your favorite places to view the races and the horses before each race. Get a spot to watch the Royal Procession and the Queen's arrival at the stands. The "common" people-watching is pretty good, too - we don't do racing this way in the U.S.
Back in London this evening, we'll make a group booking at a smart area restaurant. Those interested are invited to join in on a no-host basis.
Wed June 18
|Day 2 of Royal Ascot and another superb day of racing. Featured event is the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes, a ten-furlong test for older horses that usually draws the best from all over Europe. There are two Group 2s — the 2-year-old fillies' first unveiling in the Queen Mary Stakes, and the new Windsor Forest Stakes for older fillies and mares over a mile. The Group 3 Jersey Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters and a Listed event for 3-year-old fillies help fill out the card.
Another of today's races, although not Group-rated, is among the week's most popular. It's The Royal Hunt Cup, a handicap over the straight mile, and it always draws the maximum field of thirty. This competitively-weighted across-the-course cavalry charge attracts one of the biggest betting pools of the year and a lot of volume from the crowd.
Although we think every day at Royal Ascot is highly worthwhile, this Wednesday is the one that the less than totally-dedicated in the group might consider skipping in favor of a free day in London. We'll again head out to the course early but we'll take a somewhat less-organized approach to the day. Lunch and/or tea will be handled individually, although we will always have a "headquarters" table in one of the Royal Enclosure restaurants where the group can congregate.
We'll keep this evening open too, just in case the stay-in-towners need the entire day and night for something. As usual though, those who want company can have it back at The Draycott. Champagne is always poured from 6 to 7PM, and we can find a place to dine together later if the demand is there.
Thur June 19
|Gold Cup Day and Ladies' Day. Dating back to 1807, the Gold Cup is one of the world's great races. The Queen presents the trophy, the crowd is large and enthusiastic, and the women put on their finest, from the restrained and refined to the marginally over-the-top. In a week of visual overload, Thursday is the day the dial is turned all the way over. And if the racing gods are smiling, we'll get a chance to see the Irish horse Yeats make history by winning his third Gold Cup in a row.
Also on tap today are the Ribblesdale, a Group 2 for 3-year-old females at a mile-and-a-half that gets many of the Oaks fillies; another and shorter Group 2 for the new 2-year-olds, and a Listed ten-furlong race for late developing 3-year-olds. A couple of rich handicaps, one of them a junior version of the Royal Hunt Cup for 3-year-olds only, round out the bill.
We'll have a tail-gate lunch in one of the parking areas today before going inside, an Ascot tradition that most Royal Enclosure attendees try to do at least once during the week. We'll then use our same "HQ" table from yesterday to keep in contact inside.
Fri June 20
|Today presents us with a dilemma. There's another fine day at Royal Ascot, but we're opting to go racing instead at Goodwood, in Sussex south of London. If you haven't had enough of Ascot you can always go to closing day tomorrow, but we don't think visiting Americans should pass up the opportunity to experience Goodwood, considered by many people to be the most beautiful racecourse in the world.
After a relaxing morning, we'll head out of London in the early afternoon. Goodwood is about two hours' drive south of the city. The countryside is pretty and worth seeing just for itself, and we might make a stop at a public garden or even a breeding farm if we can work it out. (Ascot week can be a difficult time to schedule farm visits, for obvious reasons). The racing starts at 6PM and as its mid-summer, the slowly fading late-afternoon and early evening light provides a lovely setting for the sport. We'll have dinner at the course.
Sat June 21
|The organized itinerary ends after breakfast and checkout this morning. If you must go, good luck and travel safely. Transfer to your London airport is provided if you are leaving today or extending at the Draycott.
If you've a mind to stay on, it's the final day of Royal Ascot and there's also racing at Newmarket about 70 miles northeast of London. Wimbledon begins on Monday the 23rd, by the way.
SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR THIS TRIP:
The Royal Ascot trip has more moving parts than our other trips, due to the fact that all prospective travelers must be accepted for admittance into the Royal Enclosure. Further, there is a specific dress requirement for men (morning dress, including morning coat, waistcoat, and top hat) that generally must be arranged for in advance. This does make preparations a bit more complicated, but we feel that to attend Royal Ascot without being in the Royal Enclosure would be to miss a great deal of the unique experience the meeting offers. It's the only way we recommend going.
Travelers interested in joining this trip should first request our normal booking package, as is the procedure for all our trips. Please do not request this package until you have decided you want to go on the trip. When we have received back the completed booking package along with the customary deposit, we will then initiate the process of making application for admittance to the Royal Enclosure for the traveler(s).
If for any reason a traveler is not accepted into the Enclosure, his or her booking on our trip will be invalidated and all deposits paid to us will be fully and promptly refunded.
Once the Royal Enclosure application has been approved, the second step will be to initiate the process of obtaining suitable clothing for all gentleman travelers. We will follow up with each traveler at the appropriate time regarding this. Men are of course able to bring their own clothes should they choose to do so, but in such a case the traveler will be individually responsible for being appropriately dressed and we will not be able to be responsible for getting you inside if you are not. The racecourse can and does turn away people who are not correctly attired.
If you have questions or concerns about any of the above, please feel free to contact us in advance. We believe we can get you through the process with a minimum of bother and, again, we do feel that Royal Ascot is worth the extra trouble.
APPLICATION & CLOSING DATE:
This trip will close on March 24, 2008. Royal Enclosure acceptance, payment in full and all other necessary paperwork must be completed and received by us no later than this date to insure that you will be able to join the group.
Royal Ascot can sell out, so we urge those interested in the trip to get started on the process as soon as practicable. It's advisable that we have your application process begun by February 1, 2008.
COME EARLY, STAY LATE:
The itinerary, by design, is full and busy. If you would like a bit more of a leisurely experience, we invite you to consider either coming to London earlier and / or staying on after our organized trip ends.
Even one extra day in London for adjusting at the beginning can be beneficial. You may want more — for shopping or for your own special interests. There is racing most days near London. The concierge at the Draycott will work with you to organize any other specifics.
The Draycott has promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. This is an extremely busy time of year in London. Please let us know as soon as possible if you want more time at the hotel.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The itinerary includes:
- Six(6) nights lodging as indicated at The Draycott Hotel in London.
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Four(4) escorted days' racing: Three(3) at Royal Ascot and one(1) at Goodwood, including transportation to and from the racecourse, Royal Enclosure admission at Ascot and Members' Enclosure admission at Goodwood, and race card.
- Lunch on Two(2) days: June 17 and 19 at Ascot Racecourse.
- Afternoon Tea at Ascot Racecourse June 17.
- Dinner at Goodwood Racecourse on June 20.
- Cocktail cruise on the Thames River on June 16
- Transfer on arrival from London airport to the Draycott Hotel, London.
- Transfer on departure from Draycott Hotel, London, to London airport.
*(Please note airport transfers are from and to Heathrow and Gatwick only. There may be an additional charge for transfers involving other airports.)
- Assistance in application for admission to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.
- Assistance in obtaining required clothing for Royal Ascot. (*Men only). The standard clothing rental is included in the basic price of the trip.
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Welcome cocktails at the Draycott Hotel, London.
- Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable American escort.
The itinerary does not include:
- Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
- Lunch or dinner other than when specifically noted above.
The Cost of the Trip does not include:
- Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room, including but not limited to room service, mini-bar, television or video, restaurant or bar service, laundry or dry-cleaning, business services, golf or other activities, and activities arranged through hotel concierge. (All group members will be required to provide a credit card imprint upon check-in at each hotel to guarantee payment for any individual charges.)
- Excess baggage charges. Please check intra-European air flight baggage allowances if applicable to this trip.
- Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
- Travel insurance.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Charges incurred for anything other than what is specified in the "Itinerary Includes" summary above.
- Personal gratuities. As part of our arrangements we will tip our drivers and the hotel staff on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip anyone who provides them with personal assistance, including special assistance by hotel staff. Please note your principal tour escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
$5,275 per person, based on double occupancy. (Twelve or more travelers)
$5,425 per person, based on double occupancy. (Ten or eleven travelers)
$5,575 per person, based on double occupancy. (Eight or nine travelers)
$470 single supplement for women.
$620 single supplement for men.
*Please note we have still not received final pricing for some minor elements of this trip, and the trip price is therefore subject to minor adjustment until we do.
Please note that the single rooms at The Draycott in London are very small, but they add very little cost to the Single Supplement price. Single trip members may upgrade to a standard double room, with an addition of $1,025 to the Single Supplement. Single trip members wishing to be accommodated in a deluxe double must add $1,465 to the Single Supplement.
We will attempt to match single travelers wishing to double up and thereby avoid the Single Supplement, however it will always be the single traveler's decision whether or not to accept a roommate. Because of the limited number of rooms that we have been able to reserve at these very busy times, we regret we must reserve the right to limit the number of single travelers on the trip.
Trip prices are subject to change up to thirty(30) days prior to trip departure to reflect fluctuations in currency exchange rates between the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Dollar prices quoted here are based on the following exchange rates:
1 US $ = 0.498 UK pound // 1 UK pound = 2.02 US $
- Additional Nights at the Draycott Hotel, London, if available: will vary, depending on length of stay and specific nights chosen. Please inquire.
*This trip is designed for eight to fourteen people. Although we make every effort to make each trip go, we reserve the right to cancel this trip if it has less than eight subscribers. Should we need to do this, all payments made toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*We cannot be responsible for insuring application acceptance to the Royal Enclosure. This decision is in other hands than ours. Any prospective traveler with us who properly applies for acceptance under our guidelines and is subsequently declined acceptance may not travel with the group. Should this occur, all payments made by the prospective traveler toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*You must have a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom.
View the itineraries for our other 2008 trips:
For August, click here For August-September, click here
Racing and training photos © www.actionplus.co.uk
For October-November, click here
Ascot photos courtesy Ascot Racecourse
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