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Featuring British Champions Day at Ascot
9 or 10 Days, 8 or 9 Nights (including one en route)
OCTOBER 13 or 14, 2017 to OCTOBER 22, 2017
7 nights in Windsor
4 days of racing at Ascot, Windsor, Bath, and Brighton
Morning training in Lambourn
A Thames River cruise and other special sightseeing
An option to arrive one day early and have a day of racing at Goodwood
Depart the U.S. if you're coming for Goodwood, unless you are joining the trip from the U.K. or elsewhere in Europe.
|If arriving today we'll meet your flight and transfer you to our accommodation at the Goodwood Hotel in Sussex. We can also collect you in-town in London if you're already there. Your transfer should take a bit less than two hours. The remainder of the day is free for your adjustment and personal interests. We always advise keeping active if it's your first day over from the U.S. Walking the grounds of the Goodwood Estate during fall color is a pleasure, and the historic town of Chichester is a short taxi ride from the hotel and will reward a visit.
Late afternoon we'll meet up in the hotel bar for cocktails, relax with each other a bit, and discuss the upcoming week. Following, you can dine in the hotel or, if the demand is there, we'll have dinner together at a nearby restaurant. But we won't make it a late night.
THE GOODWOOD HOTEL is set witihin the 12,000 acres of the Goodwood Estate. It has a spa, a pool and fitness center, a golf course, casual and fine dining, and a convivial bar. See the hotel website at www.goodwood.com/estate/the-goodwood-hotel to learn more about the property. A full English breakfast is included tomorrow morning.
If not arriving today, this would be your departure day from the U.S. if you're not already in the U.K. or arriving from elsewhere in Europe
|Following checkout at the Goodwood Hotel, we'll begin our day with lunch at an atmospheric local pub. Afterwards, we'll head out to Goodwood Racecourse for our first racing of the week.
Goodwood is one of England's most important courses, best known for its splendid "Glorious Goodwood" meeting in late July. This five-day festival originated in 1801 and is rivaled for longevity, quality, and prestige only by Royal Ascot.
By general acclaim it's considered England's most beautiful racecourse, and many rate it as the prettiest anywhere in the world. The course layout is altogether unique: it's in a L-shape with a loop at the far end for the return trip in longer events, and the stretch turn divides in two allowing for even more variety and flexibility in race distances. An undulating six-furlong straight coming in from the right completes the picture. Races start and go off from and to everywhere, sometimes crossing the same place in the same race going in a different direction. And it's not uncommon for a full card to have no repeated distances.
Today's program -- the last fixture of the year here -- will be a modest one, but Goodwood is a pleasure always. After racing we'll make the 90-minute journey up to The Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor, where we'll be hanging our hat for the rest of the week.
If arriving today, you'll be met at the airport or in central London and transfered to the Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor. The remainder of your day will be free for your adjustment and personal activities.
THE OAKLEY COURT. Originally a private residence built in the mid-1800s, the hotel is sited on 37 landscaped acres at the bank of the River Thames. The property combines traditional English ambiance in the public spaces with thoroughly modern comfort in the bedrooms. There's a gym, sauna-and-steam, an indoor pool, a par-3 golf course, and multiple bar and dining options. Have a look at the hotel website www.oakleycourt.co.uk for more detailed information. A full English breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
|Now that the entire group is together, we'll arrange a time to meet up in the hotel for a "second coffee" and to get acquainted and go over our plans for the week. Then we'll head into central Windsor for a walking tour and a visit to the castle with our own private guide.
Windsor has been the site of a royal residence since William the Conqueror first threw up a few battlements in 1070. The present castle is England's largest, and by some accounts the biggest inhabited fortification in the world. Queen Elizabeth spends a fair amount of time here. Given a mid-morning start, we'll be able to visit the Castle and see some of the town and still make it down to the town docks in time to catch the boat to the races.
In English racing, Mondays belong to Windsor. From late April to late October the local course here is a firm fan favorite despite the fact that very few major races are contested. It's all atmosphere here – from the tall trees surrounding the walking ring, to the old traditional-style members' stand, to the peculiar figure-8 course layout dictated by the Thames-side siting that can take the runners out of sight for long moments. Windsor presents English racing at its idiosyncratic best.
You'll be on your own for lunch and other refreshments today, but we'll have our own private box to come and go from. Eating and drinking choices abound and you can bring whatever you select into the box. There's an outside viewing terrace and our Premier Enclosure badges give us the run of the place.
This would be a good evening to have dinner at the hotel, and we'll make a group booking for those who are interested on a no-host basis.
|Two treats today -- morning training in the The "Valley of the Racehorse" and an afternoon cruise on the Thames River.
After Newmarket, the largest concentration of Thoroughbred training establishments in England is in the three counties west of London -- Berkshire (where we already are in Windsor), Hampshire, and Wiltshire. We'll head out that way early today. Although the trainers are well spread out over the three counties, ground zero is the town of Lambourn, where over 2,000 horses in about 50 nearby yards are headquartered. We'll visit a trainer, see some work out on the gallops, have a look at the town's tiny but charming racing museum, and grab a pub lunch.
Back at The Oakley Court we'll have time for a short break before embarking from the hotel's pier for a three-hour cruise on the Thames. We'll regroup at about 3PM to begin, and spend the late afternoon drifting by villages, passing under bridges and through locks, and enjoying a pop or two and some simple finger food. The iconic English river has been referred to as "liquid history" and although that may not be strictly true of the stretch we'll be coursing through today, we can promise a large dose of relaxing local color. Our Thames cruise has been very well received by travelers on past trips. We'll make it as far upstream as Cliveden -- once a majestic private residence and now an equally imposing tourist attraction and 5-star hotel -- before retracing our route downstream and home.
|We head west again today -- this time to Bath, a city with more than its share of history and architectural distinction. It also has a race track.
According to geology, the U.K.'s only hot springs broke surface here about 100,000 years ago. According to legend a local prince, who'd been relegated to herding pigs due to leprosy, noticed his charges' improved skin tone after they wallowed in the local mud. Trying it himself he was cured. He then resumed his place at court, was later crowned, and re-settled in Bath. What's known for fact is that the place was already celebrated as a spa long before the Romans got here in the first century A.D.
After Rome pulled out in the 400s, Bath had its ups and downs for a thousand years or so until Elizabeth I decided to upgrade the ancient Roman bathing facilities and restore the town abbey and hospital. It gradually began to attract a higher class of visitor -- and resident -- and by the mid 1700s, under the guidance of Richard "Beau" Nash, the unofficial but massively influential "Master of Ceremonies", Bath had become the most fashionable city in England. Most of Bath's celebrated architecture and its overall ambiance date from this period.
Our plan is to get out to Bath early enough to have a look at the town's most famous edifices, such as the Pulteney Bridge, the Circus, and the Royal Crescent, and still have time for a tour of the Roman Baths. Early afternoon we'll need to get out to the racecourse, where first post will be about 2:00PM. We won't have time for everything -- those who want more can stay on in the city and taxi out to the course independently to join up with the group for the late races and the ride home. Other local attractions include the Bath Abbey, the Pump Room, the Assemby Rooms with its Costume Museum, and the Jane Austen Museum.
It's probable the Romans held racing at Bath (they did everywhere else they went) but the first recorded races here were in 1728. It's one of the more attractive courses in England and also one of the best for race viewing. Even though it's a mile-and-half circuit, the tighter turns and the not-far-off backstretch give it an intimate feel -- you're never far from the action. The stands have been renovated recently, and we'll be headquartered in the panoramic restaurant where we'll have lunch and watch the racing from the adjacent outdoor terrace.
Far afield again today, but definitely for "something completely different" -- to the Channel Coast for more racing and a look at Brighton, another place that's like no other.
Brighton was a decaying fishing village called Brighthelmstone when Dr Richard Russell began promoting the health benfits of bathing in sea water in the mid 1700s. The Prince of Wales first visited in 1783, construction of the famous Royal Pavilion began in 1787, and by 1841 the new railroad link was bringing people of all classes down from London for a salt water holiday. Brighton can thus lay claim to being the prototype of the modern beach resort.
Serious beach people have obviously moved on to sunnier and sandier climes since then, and the town has seen its fortunes wax and wane, but Brighton today is a cheerful and even somewhat hip by-the-shore town that offers both a "period" and a more modern atmosphere plus plenty of things to do. As we did yesterday, we'll get to town in time for a look around before going racing. The Royal Pavilion is a must of course, as is the maze of alleyways called "The Lanes", the shopping district that occupies the area of the old city. The wide seafront promenade will offer a brisk October pipe-opener.
There's not quite as much to do and see here as there was in Bath yesterday, but those who wish to can again extend their exploration after the rest of us have left for the races and taxi out to the racecourse to join up.
Brighton is another of those quintessentially eccentric courses that make racing in England such fun. Not an enclosed circuit, it's in the shape of an inverted and flattened "U", a bit less than 12 furlongs in overall length, with three left-hand turns and one bend to the right. There's a lot of undulation -- the first three furlongs-plus are uphill followed by a slight descent and a slight rise until about the half-mile pole at the top of the stretch. Most of the run-in is sharply downhill --one of the steepest in the world of racing -- and then there's a slight rise again in the last hundred yards. Obviously the track favors handy types, and nowhere is the "horses for courses" principle more applicable than here.
In addition to the fresh air and the stunning views to the sea, Brighton has a quite comfortable panoramic restaurant where we'll have lunch and be well taken care of.
|This is an OPEN DAY to use as you please. It's a perfect opportunity to go into London for the day -- the city is easily accessible by train or taxi from Windsor. Some other possibilities would include Oxford (not so far way to the north), or even a day-trip into the Cotswolds (a bit further). If you can't get enough racing, they are running today at Wincanton about two hours to the southwest, and you could work in a stop at Stonehenge on your way. These last two suggestions involve a fair amount of time-and-distance, so please make sure you can do them and still have sufficient juice left for our big day tomorrow.
You might just want to sleep in a bit, have a late breakfast, enjoy the hotel facilities, and be unambitious.
|Today is our featured racing of the week -- the 7th edition of British Champions Day at Ascot, just up the road. In 2011 the U.K. authorities created this special event by combining a number of traditional fall races with enhanced prize money into a one-day seasonal finale. It didn't happen without controversy, but just as it took the new Ascot Racecourse a few years to "settle in" after the 2005 renovation, Champions Day has definitely now taken its place among the major racing events in the world.
Five Group 1 contests make up the bulk of the card: The one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes; the mile-and-a-half Filly & Mare; the six-furlong Sprint; the two-mile Long Distance Cup; and of course the mile-and-a-quarter Champion Stakes itself. A slew of top horses have shown up during the first six years, including Frankel, Excelebration, Cirrus des Aigles, So You Think, Snow Fairy, Midday, and last year's European Horse of the Year Almanzor. He remains in training for 2017 and this would be his logical season ending target.
We'll have premier enclosure badges, giving us access to the best parts of the course. The premier level seating isn't reserved, but Ascot sells only the number of badges equal to the number of existing seats. There will be a place for all.
This is closing night for us as a group, and we'll be renewing a Racing-Europe tradition by having a post-race no-host dinner at the 400-year-old Thatched Tavern in nearby Cheapside. (It's one of the few things around here that's been going on longer than Ascot itself.) We always have a great time here and we hope everyone will be on board, but we can arrange separate transport for those who want to go straight back to the hotel.
|Regretfully, the organized itinerary ends this morning following breakfast and check-out. We'll provide transport for you to either your departing flight at your London airport or to any alternate London destination. Those extending at The Oakley Court will get their transfer on their departure day.
Good luck, and travel safely.
This trip will close on August 10, 2017. Payment in full and all necessary completed paperwork must be received by us no later than this date to insure that you will be able to join the trip.
COME EARLY, STAY LATE:
This itinerary is designed to be full and busy. You may want to consider coming early, staying on, or fitting this program into or alongside other European travel plans.
Even a day for adjusting or exploring at the beginning can ease the pace of the trip. We can greet you at the airport on whatever day you arrive, or from London if you're already there, and get you to the Goodwood Hotel or the Oakley Court.
We’ll accommodate extensions as best we can, but room space is not blocked or guaranteed at this time at The Goodwood Hotel or The Oakley Court either before or after our trip dates. It’s a very busy time of the year. Please let us know as soon as possible if you’d like to extend your stay at either of our trip hotels.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The basic itinerary includes:
The itinerary does not include:
- Seven(7) nights’ lodging at The Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor.
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Four(4) escorted days of racing at Windsor, Bath, Brighton and Ascot, including transportation to and from the racecourse and race cards. Box seating at Windsor (October 15), Restaurant seating at Bath (October 17) and Brighton (October 18). Premier Enclosure admission with guaranteed seating at Ascot (October 21).
- Lunch on three(3) days: in Lambourn on (October 16), at Bath Racecourse (October 17), and at Brighton Racecourse (October 18).
- Half-day exploration of Lambourn including transportation, gallops and trainer’s yard visit.
- Thames River cruise.
- Sightseeing in Bath, including a visit to the Roman Baths.
- Sightseeing in Brighton, including a visit to the Royal Pavilion.
- Arrival transfer from your London airport or other London location to the Oakley Court Hotel. (Please note the trip price includes transfer from Heathrow Airport. Transfers can be arranged from Gatwick Airport or from central London, however they will incur a surcharge.)
- Departure transfer from the Oakley Court Hotel to your London airport or alternate London location. (Please note the trip price includes transfer to Heathrow Airport. Transfers can be arranged to Gatwick Airport or to central London, however they will incur a surcharge.)
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable American escort.
The Cost of the Trip does
- Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
- The cost of lunch or dinner any day except as specified above.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
- Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room and breakfast, 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 the 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 baggage limits on inter-European air flights.
- Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
- Travel insurance.
- Alcoholic beverages, except for the “Welcome” cocktail hour and the Thames River cruise.
- 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, farm and barn personnel, and hotel staffs on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip their incoming and outgoing transfer drivers and 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.
$2,975 per person, based on double occupancy (twelve or more travelers).
$3,075 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or eleven travelers).
$3,175 per person, based on double occupancy (eight to nine travelers).
$635 single supplement, regardless of group size
Please note we have not received final costing for some minor elements of the itinerary, and therefore the final price of the trip is subject to minor adjustment until we do.
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. Single travelers on this trip will be accommodated in the same class of room as the double occupancy travelers at the Oakley Court Hotel (with a less desirable view to help keep the singles’ price down). Singles will be accommodated at the Goodwood Hotel in the same category and size rooms as the double-occupancy guests.
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 and the United Kingdom. U.S. Dollar prices quoted herein are based on the following exchange rates:
1 US $ = 0.813 U.K. Pounds // 1 Pound = 1.23 US $
- Attend the races at Goodwood on Sunday, October 15, and stay the previous night at the Goodwood Hotel (October 14). Includes transfer from your London airport or other London location to the Goodwood Hotel, a pub lunch prior to the races on October 15, premier enclosure admission at Goodwood, race card, and post-race transfer to the Oakley Court Hotel near Windsor. Entire cost of this option: $285 per person, based on double occupancy; Single Suppelement: $195. (Please note incoming transfers from locations other than Heathrow or Gatwick Airports will incur a surcharge.)
- Additional Nights at the Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor, if available: Please inquire with us.
*This trip is designed for eight(8) to sixteen(16) people. Although we will make every effort to operate the trip, we reserve the right to cancel the trip if it has less than eight(8) subscribers. Should we need to cancel the trip, all payments made to Racing-Europe toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*Some of the non-racing activities listed may be shifted from one day to another due to scheduling issues, however all will be included.
*You must have a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom.
Photos courtesy of Goodwood Racecourse, The Oakley Court Hotel, Panoramio,
Bath Tourism Office, Bath Racecourse, Stuart Dorn, and Ascot Racecourse.
Racing and training photos © actionplus.co.uk
View the Itineraries for our other 2017 trips:
For September (Ireland), click here
For December (Hong Kong), click here
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