At first, race meetings were held on the sands at Leith, but in 1816 they moved to Musselburgh. The course offers both flat racing and National Hunt meetings (though it only introduced jumping in 1987) and is 2 km long. In the middle of the course is a nine hole golf course, dating from at least 1672. The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club was founded there in 1774.
A road bridge over the Esk gives access to the course on race days only; the rest of the time, the gates are kept closed.