List of British racecourses
This List of British racecourses gives details of both current and former horse racing venues in Great Britain. There are, as of 1 May 2013, 58 racecourses operating in Great Britain (excluding Point-to-Point courses). In addition, there are three former racecourses which have been mothballed pending a decision over their future. There are currently no plans for them to operate fixtures but the basic racecourse infrastructure remains intact.
The following British horse racing courses are in operation as of 1 May 2013.
There are two racecourses in Britain which still exist, but are currently closed and do not operate any thoroughbred racing fixtures, plus one which has been closed since 2008 but has been granted fixtures for 2015.
- Folkestone Racecourse - Kent; temporarily closed in December 2012
- Great Leighs Racecourse in Essex - opened in 2008, racing licence suspended in 2009, has been granted twelve fixtures for 2015 as 'Chelmsford City Racecourse'
- Hereford Racecourse - Herefordshire; closed in December 2012
Arena Racing Company ceased operating at Hereford and Folkestone in December 2012. It is not known whether either will reopen for thoroughbred racing in some form. Hereford, which is owned by Herefordshire Council, still hosts Arabian racing fixtures. Great Leighs was opened in 2008, and had its racing licence suspended in 2009. In late 2013, a syndicate headed by Fred Done of Betfred bought the track with a view to re-opening it in 2015 as 'Chelmsford City Racecourse'.
Former race courses
Through the centuries, racing has taken place at various courses throughout Britain which have since closed down. Some were very significant in their day and held major races which persist to this day. For example, the flat season's traditional curtain raiser, the Lincolnshire Handicap was once held at the racecourse that gave it its name in Lincoln but is now held at Doncaster.
Closed during 20th century
Between 1900 and 1981, 97 racecourses closed their doors.
|Alexandra Park Racecourse||North London||England||Flat||30 June 1868||8 September 1970|
|Bogside Racecourse||Scotland||Scotland||Mixed||7 June 1808||10 April 1965|
|Bromford Bridge Racecourse||Birmingham||England||Mixed||1894||21 June 1965|
|Buckfastleigh Racecourse||Devon||England||21 June 1883||27 August 1960||The dilapidated main grandstand survives, and is a well known local landmark, and the fields around it are still in use for point-to-point races.|
|Chelmsford Racecourse||Essex||England||Bef. 1840||April 1935||An oval course, just under 2 miles in circumference|
|Durham Racecourse||County Durham||England||Bef. 1840||Held three day meeting at beginning of May|
|Eglinton Racecourse||County Londonderry||Northern Ireland|
|Eridge Racecourse||East Sussex||England|
|Gatwick Racecourse||West Sussex||England||1891||1940||The land is now part of Gatwick Airport.|
|Harpenden Racecourse||Hertfordshire||England||Bef. 1914||The land is now the site of Bamville Cricket Club.|
|Hurst Park Racecourse||Surrey||England||1890||1962|
|Ipswich Racecourse||Suffolk||England||Mixed||1710||29 March 1911||In 1840 it was holding a two day meeting in early July, highlights of which were a 100gs Queen's Plate (dating from at least 1727) and a Town Members' Plate for 50 sovs|
|Lanark Racecourse||Lanarkshire||Scotland||c. 12th Century||October 1977|
|Lewes Racecourse||East Sussex||England||Bef. 1727||September 1964||Situated on the chalk downs near the town, it was also home to the East Sussex Hunt. Held a Royal Plate Race for 6 year olds from 1727 at the latest. A stand was erected in 1772. In 1840, the course was "one of the finest four mile courses in the kingdom". Races took place in mid-August.|
|Manchester Racecourse||Lancashire||England||Mixed||1681||7 November 1963||There was racing at three successive sites in Manchester, the last being at Castle Irwell. Various plans to create a new racecourse on rural land such as Kersal Moor have been touted in recent years.|
|Northampton Racecourse||Northampton||England||Bef. 1840||1904||A one and a half mile oval, with a straight half mile run in. In 1840 was holding a two day meeting at the end of August.|
|Plymouth Racecourse||Devon||England||c. 1827||4 September 1930||A spring meeting was held in May, and a grand two day meeting in August|
|Hampshire||England||1891||1914||Closed at the outbreak of World War I and turned into an ammunition dump for the War Office.|
|Hampshire||England||1920s||c.1946||The land was redeveloped as a housing estate.|
|Warwickshire||England||Still used annually for point-to-point races|
|Shirley Racecourse||West Midlands||England||The land is now the home of Shirley Golf Club|
|South Brent Racecourse||Devon||England|
|Stockbridge Racecourse||Hampshire||England||1839||1898||Dates given are for most significant incarnation of the course. There had been racing at another site in Stockbridge from 1775 or earlier|
|Stockton Racecourse||Teesside||England||September 1855||16 June 1981||This was the third course in Stockton. The first dated from 1724|
|Totnes Racecourse||Devon||England||1939||Requisitioned by the Admiralty, it was sold in the early 1950s. At this course long distance steeplechases involved crossing the River Dart and the Totnes-Newton Abbot road. Sometimes called the Totnes and Bridgetown races|
|Wrexham Racecourse||Denbighshire||Wales||In 1840, it was holding a two day October meeting which included a 100 sovereign Gold Cup|
|Wye Racecourse||Kent||England||29 May 1849||2 May 1974|
Operating during 19th century
Many courses that were prominent in earlier times did not survive into the modern era. The list below is a selection of these, taken from Whyte's History of the British Turf. Where dates are not given for closure, it is possible they were still extant in the 20th century. No distinction has been made between enclosed courses of the type that are familiar now and those that were run over unenclosed courses, more akin to point-to-point racing. Indeed, some of these racecourses or parts of them are still used for that purpose.
|Aberystwyth Racecourse||Cardiganshire||Wales||not known||not known||A mid-August meeting was well and fashionably attended on a meadow near Gogerddan about three miles from the town.|
|Abingdon Racecourse||Berkshire||England||not known||not known|
|Ashford Racecourse||Kent||England||not known||not known||Held a one day meeting in September, with a £50 town plate being the principal race|
|Bedford Racecourse||Bedfordshire||England||not known||not known||Two annual meetings recorded in 1840|
|Belford Racecourse||Northumberland||England||not known||not known||Run at a course one mile south-west of the town, on the site of what is supposed to have been a Danish camp. Formerly at Beadnell.|
|Bibury Racecourse||Gloucestershire||England||not known||not known|
|Bicester Racecourse||Oxfordshire||England||not known||not known||Held a day-long meeting at the end of September, including a Town Plate of £50|
|Birmingham Racecourse||Warwickshire||England||not known||not known||Held a 'poorly-attended' two day meeting in early October|
|Bishop's Castle Racecourse||Shropshire||England||not known||not known||Near Ludlow, it held a day's 'inferior' racing in mid-July|
|Blandford Racecourse||Dorset||England||not known||not known||Held a meeting towards the end of August which included the 100 sovereign Dorsetshire Gold Cup|
|Bodmin Racecourse||Cornwall||England||not known||not known||Held one day's racing in September|
|Brecknock Racecourse||Brecknockshire||Wales||not known||not known||A course near the town, with a 'commodious' stand held races for two days in late September|
|Brenwood Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||Held two days' racing at the end of September|
|Bridgenorth Racecourse||Shropshire||England||not known||not known||Held a two day meeting at the start of August; the course was in bad repair in 1840|
|Bromyard Racecourse||Worcestershire||England||not known||not known||Held a day long race meeting in mid-August|
|Burnley Racecourse||Lancashire||England||not known||not known||Held two days' racing in the middle of August, including a Gold Cup of 100 sovs|
|Burntwood Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||Held one day's racing in mid-October|
|Burton-upon-Trent Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||From 'a very early period'||not known||Held a two day meeting at the end of August which included the Bretby Cup, given by the Earl of Chesterfield|
|Burton Constable Racecourse||Worcestershire||England||not known||not known||A small hunter racecourse|
|Buxton Racecourse||Derbyshire||England||not known||not known||Held two days' racing in June|
|Canterbury Racecourse||Kent||England||not known||not known||Held on Barham Downs, within 3 miles of the city. Had a 'commodious stand'. Was awarded a King's Plate by George II in 1729.|
|Cardiff Racecourse||Glamorganshire||Wales||not known||not known||Held mid-July meetings for two days.|
|Cheadle Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||Held one day's 'inferior racing' at the beginning of September|
|Chesterfield Racecourse||Derbyshire||England||not known||not known||Held two days' racing at the start of October|
|Clifton and Bristol Racecourse||Gloucestershire||England||not known||not known||Held two days' racing at the beginning of May|
|Clitheroe Racecourse||Lancashire||England||1821||not known||The first record of racing was 1617 http://www.greyhoundderby.com/Clitheroe%20Racecourse.html the link has a map too.|
|Coventry Racecourse||Warwickshire||England||not known||not known||Two day race meetings were held in March with a Silver Cup and £100 in prize money|
|Croxton Park Racecourse||Leicestershire||England||not known||not known||Held amateur races at the beginning of April|
|Dorchester Racecourse||Dorset||England||not known||not known||Held two days' racing in the middle of September|
|Dove House Races at Harrow-on-the-Hill||Middlesex||England||1836||not known||Held in mid-August|
|Dudley Racecourse||Worcestershire||England||not known||not known||Held two days racing at the end of June|
|Dumfries Racecourse||Dumfriesshire||Scotland||not known||not known||Alternately held the Caledonian Hunt meeting, along with Ayr, Edinburgh and Musselburgh|
|Egham Racecourse||Surrey||England||not known||not known||Situated on the plain of Runnymede where King John signed the Magna Carta, Egham races were often attended by royalty. The course was a two mile flat oval.|
|Eglistoun Park||Ayrshire||Scotland||not known||not known|
|Enfield and Pinner Races||Middlesex||England||not known||By 1836||Replaced by Dove House meeting|
|Gloucester Racecourse||Gloucestershire||England||not known||not known||A mile and a half oblong course in a meadow on the banks of the River Severn, with a straight, 400 yard run-in|
|Gorhambury Park Racecourse||Hertfordshire||England||1838||not known||Had four courses ranging in length from 5 furlongs 136 yards to two miles|
|Great Marlow Racecourse||Buckinghamshire||England||not known||not known|
|Hampton Racecourse||Middlesex||England||not known||not known||Three-day meetings held in the middle of June on Moulsey Hurst next to the river|
|Hastings and St. Leonards Racecourse||Sussex||England||1827||not known||Held a two day meeting at the end of September which included the Town Plate and St. Leonard's Plate, both of 50 sovereigns|
|Haverfordwest Racecourse||Pembrokeshire||Wales||not known||not known||Situated on a common near the town called Portfield or Poorfield. Two day meetings were held at the beginning of August.|
|Heaton Park Racecourse||Lancashire||England||not known||not known||Held three days 'excellent' racing in late September|
|Hednesford Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||Races were held on the 'heathy downs' at Cannock Chase which had long been famed for racehorses. A day long meeting was held in early July|
|Hertford Racecourse||Hertfordshire||England||not known||not known||Races took place at the beginning of August for two days|
|Hippodrome Racecourse, Bayswater, London||Middlesex||England||3 June 1837||not known||A 'vast establishment' also called the Metropolitan Racecourse|
|Holywell Racecourse||Flintshire||Wales||3 June 1837||not known||Hunt races took place in the middle of October for two days.|
|The Hoo Racecourse||Hertfordshire||England||1821||not known||Racing, mainly hunter chases, took place at the end of April and for a short time in the 1820s and 1830s the course was very fashionable|
|Kingston Racecourse||Herefordshire||England||not known||not known||An 'inferior' racecourse, with meetings at the end of July|
|Knighton Racecourse||Pembrokeshire||Wales||not known||not known||Held two day race meetings in mid-June.|
|Lancaster Racecourse||Lancashire||England||not known||not known||Held a two day meeting in late July|
|Lee Racecourse||Kent||England||not known||not known||Held races that were only 'of local interest' in 1840|
|Leith Races||Lothian||Scotland||1504 (or earlier)||1816||Races were held on the sands at low tide in late July or early August for four or five days, until the events were moved to Musselburgh. A 4 mile King's Plate was run at Leith from at least 1728|
|Leominster Racecourse||Herefordshire||England||not known||not known||Held meetings at the end of August|
|Lichfield Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||The course was on the Tamworth road, about two miles from the city and raced at the end of March and in mid-September. Was awarded a King's Plate for 5 year olds by George II in 1748.|
|Mansfield Racecourse||Nottinghamshire||England||21 August 1734||13 July 1874||.|
|Middleham Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||Races were held annually in November on Middleham Moor, but in 1840 they were deemed 'of little interest'. Middleham is still home to many racing stables.|
|Monmouth Racecourse||Monmouthshire||Wales||not known||not known||Situated on the banks of the River Wye near the junction with the River Monnow on Chippenham meadow. A two day meeting was held in mid-October.|
|Morpeth Racecourse||Northumberland||England||not known||not known||Races took place over two days at the beginning of September at Cottingwood to the north of the town.|
|Newcastle-under-Lyme Racecourse||Shropshire||England||Mixed||not known||not known||Held a two day meeting in early August|
|Newport Racecourse||Shropshire||England||Mixed||not known||not known||Held a two day meeting at the end of July|
|Newport Paynel (sic) Racecourse||Buckinghamshire||England||not known||By 1840|
|Northallerton Racecourse||North Riding of Yorkshire||England||Mixed||not known||not known||Racing took place in mid-October for two days, and included a £100 Gold Cup and £50 Silver Cup.|
|Oswestry Race Course||Shropshire||England||early 1700s or 1804||1848||Racing started on the common west of the town over a unique figure-of-eight course. A grandstand was built at the start of the 19th century. but the last meeting was held in 1848. Its regular meeting was two days in September and included the Shropshire Stakes and a Gold Cup.|
|Oxford Racecourse||Oxfordshire||England||not known||not known||An oval of two miles, quite flat|
|Pontypool Racecourse||Monmouthshire||Wales||not known||not known||Situated between the River Avon and the canal to Newport, Wales. A two-day meeting was held at the start of August.|
|The Potteries Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||Held a two day meeting at the start of August including a Stewards' Plate of 100 sovs.|
|Richmond Racecourse||Yorkshire||England||Mixed||not known||not known||Racing took place for two days in mid-September on Whitcliffe Meadow, an area of common ground, which was "an excellent course".|
|Rochester and Chatham Racecourse||Kent||England||not known||not known||Held a two day meeting at the beginning of September|
|Royston Racecourse||Hertfordshire||England||not known||not known||Held a one day meeting in the middle of May, for 'half-bred horses' of local interest only|
|Shiffnal Racecourse||Shropshire||England||not known||not known||Held two days of 'inferior racing' at the end of May|
|Shrewsbury Racecourse||Shropshire||England||not known||not known||Situated on Bicton Heath, 2 miles west of Shrewsbury. It was 1 mile 185 yards round. Races took place in mid-September for 3 or 4 days and included a Queen's Plate of 100gs.|
|Southampton Racecourse||Hampshire||England||not known||not known||Situated on Southampton common on land given by the corporation. Held a two day meeting at the beginning of August.|
|Stafford Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||A one mile course, almost completely oval except for a quarter mile straight run-in. Held 'very inferior' races at the start of October.|
|Stamford Racecourse||Lincolnshire||England||not known||not known||A mile in circumference on Wittoring Heath near the town, held a three day mid-June meeting.|
|Staverton Racecourse||Wiltshire||England||not known||not known||A meeting of merely local interest was held at the end of April|
|Stone Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||Held a two-day meeting in early October.|
|Stowebridge Racecourse||Warwickshire||England||not known||not known||Held two days of racing at the end of August. Had a Cup Stakes of £100 in value.|
|St. Albans Racecourse||Hertfordshire||England||not known||c. 1838||Held at a place called Noman's Land. Home to the St. Albans' Steeple Chase. Racing ceased on the establishment of Gorhambury Park.|
|Swansea Racecourse||Glamorganshire||Wales||not known||not known||Commonly called 'Swansea and Neath races', the course was on Cremlyn Burrows on the Neath Road. Meetings were held at the end of August.|
|Tavistock Racecourse||Devon||England||not known||not known||An oval, hilly, two mile course with a one day meeting at the beginning of May|
|Tenbury Racecourse||Warwickshire||England||not known||not known||Racing of a 'very inferior' nature, with the principal race being a £50 plate.|
|Tiverton Racecourse||Devon||England||not known||not known||Held a two day meeting at the end of August|
|Tunbridge Wells Racecourse||Kent||England||not known||not known||Held a well attended two day meeting at the end of August on the common|
|Upton-upon-Severn Racecourse||Warwickshire||England||not known||not known||Races took place at the end of August|
|Walsall Racecourse||Staffordshire||England||not known||not known||Raced at the end of September for two days.|
|Wem Racecourse||Shropshire||England||not known||not known||Held a 'very inferior' race meeting at the beginning of October|
|Wenlock Racecourse||Shropshire||England||not known||not known||Held one day's racing at the end of July|
|Weymouth Racecourse||Dorset||England||1821||not known||Well attended meeting held at the end of August. The course was considered 'very good'|
|Winchester Racecourse||Hampshire||England||Bef. 1727||not known||Races were held on Worthy Down, 4 miles from Winchester for two days in the middle of July. Held a Royal Plate race for 6 year olds from at least 1727.|
Closed during 18th century
Whyte's History of the British Turf (1840) lists 48 places where racing was discontinued in the latter half of the 18th century:
West and Wales
NB Racing is recorded at various of these places after 1840. There is also reference to a Royal Plate race being held at Guilford (sic) from 1727 at the latest and Burford from 1755.
Number of racecourses
- Taken from John Cheney's Historical list of all the Horse Matches &c. of 1727, cited in Whyte's History
- Excludes Ireland and Scotland
- includes Wales
- includes Wales
- "Chelmsford City racecourse awarded 12 fixtures for 2015". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "Folkestone Racecourse holds 'last' horse racing meeting". BBC News. 18 December 2012.
- "Hereford Racecourse stages its final meeting". BBC News. 16 December 2012.
- "Arabian raceday draws decent Hereford crowd". Racing Post. 6 May 2013.
- Daily Telegraph 19 December 2013 - Great Leighs could stage racing in 2015 as Chelmsford City Racecourse after Betfred takeover. Accessed 24 January 2014
- "Courses for horses". BBC News. 21 July 2008.
- Whyte 1840, p. 234.
- Whyte 1840, p. 233.
- Whyte 1840, p. 309.
- Whyte 1840, pp. 332, 402.
- Herbery, Ian (14 April 2004). "Racing: Manchester aims to revive glorious racing history". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
- "Salford racecourse on track". Manchester Evening News. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
- Whyte 1840, p. 228.
- "Stockbridge Racecourse". greyhoundderby.com. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- "Stockton Racecourse". greyhoundderby.com. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- Whyte 1840, p. 230.
- Whyte 1840, p. 359.
- Whyte 1840, p. 357.
- Whyte 1840, pp. 194-195.
- Whyte 1840, pp. 255.
- Whyte 1840, pp. 190-191.
- Whyte 1840, pp. 252.
- Whyte 1840, p. 286.
- Whyte 1840, p. 334.
- Whyte 1840, p. 287.
- Whyte 1840, p. 231.
- Whyte 1840, p. 224.
- Whyte 1840, p. 356.
- Whyte 1840, p. 299.
- Whyte 1840, p. 337.
- Whyte 1840, p. 257.
- Whyte 1840, p. 342.
- Whyte 1840, p. 402.
- Whyte 1840, p. 362.
- Whyte 1840, p. 302.
- Whyte 1840, p. 225.
- Whyte 1840, p. 258.
- Whyte 1840, p. 271.
- Whyte 1840, p. 232.
- Whyte 1840, p. 273.
- Whyte 1840, p. 338.
- Whyte 1840, p. 367.
- Whyte 1840, p. 309-310.
- Whyte 1840, p. 379.
- Whyte 1840, p. 241.
- Whyte 1840, p. 250-252.
- Whyte 1840, p. 205.
- Whyte 1840, p. 332.
- Whyte 1840, p. 364.
- Whyte 1840, p. 253.
- Whyte 1840, p. 274.
- Whyte 1840, p. 360.
- Whyte 1840, p. 249.
- Whyte 1840, p. 259.
- Whyte 1840, p. 256.
- Whyte 1840, p. 366-368.
- Whyte 1840, p. 403.
- Whyte 1840, p. 349.
- Whyte 1840, p. 277.
- Whyte 1840, p. 283.
- Whyte 1840, p. 304.
- Whyte 1840, p. 289.
- Whyte 1840, p. 204.
- Whyte 1840, p. 350.
- Whyte 1840, p. 291.
- Whyte 1840, p. 245-246.
- Whyte 1840, p. 306.
- Whyte 1840, p. 272.
- Whyte 1840, p. 250.
- Whyte 1840, p. 307.
- Whyte 1840, p. 294.
- Whyte 1840, p. 247.
- Whyte & 1840 189.
- Whyte 1840, p. 308.
- Whyte 1840, p. 363.
- Whyte 1840, p. 386.
- Whyte & 1840 p-190.
- Whyte, James Christie (1840). History of the British turf, from the earliest period to the present day, Volume I. London: H. Colburn. Retrieved 1 May 2013.