You can’t bring that cucumber sandwich in here, sir
Racecourses like to champion their hospitality. They have plenty of facilities for keeping customers fed and watered such as with various restaurants, burger vans, and hog roast stalls. But what do you do if you do not want to sit at a formal table eating great, but relatively expensive food, or if you want to eat more healthily?
One option is to bring your own food with you and have a picnic at the racecourse. With plenty of open space, and fresh country air racecourses are an ideal place for picnics. But do not expect the same type of hospitality at every racecourse. At some racecourses bringing in your own food is banned! whilst at others you are forced to eat in a seperate enclosure away from all the main activities and amenities.
A random sample of racecourses were emailed asking them of their picnic policy. The replies were quite different and shows that some courses are not that picnic / family friendly.
“Picnics are allowed into the Grandstand and Paddock enclosure (there is a large picnic area within the Grandstand and Paddock.) The only things not permitted into the racecourse are glass products and alcohol.”
Newcastle receives a four sandwich rating for allowing picnics at all times and for providing a large picnic area in the main part of the course.
“Customers are only allowed to bring their own food on Family Days. Other than these days no food or drink is allowed on the course bar that supplied by our on-site caterers.
A two sandwich rating for Chepstow. It would be much more racegoer friendly if they allowed picnics throughout the summer months.
“Customers are only allowed to consume their own food in the picnic area – it is not permitted in any other area of the Grandstand and Paddock or Premier Enclosure.
A one sandwich rating for Brighton. The picnic area there sounds uninspiring and is not near the main facilities.
“You can bring your own picnic and have it either by your car or in a designated area in Tattersalls (down in front of the old stand) or in the Course enclosure. It must only be a ‘blanket on the ground’ affair and you are not permitted to bring alcohol into any of the enclosures – any drinks must be purchased from the racecourse bars.
Four sandwich rating for Salisbury. There are many spots where you can pitch your picnic.
“Picnics are allowed in the racecourse and there are picnic areas in all enclosures (other than the Premier Enclosure). A limited amount of alcohol is allowed as part of a picnic.
A full five sandwich rating for Pontefract. Picnics allowed anywhere except the Premier Enclosure and you can bring your own beer!
“You can only bring food into the course enclosure. Picnics are not allowed in the grandstand.
A two sandwich rating for Redcar. The course enclosure does not have many facilities.
“Food and drink etc can only be bought in if eaten on the Picnic car park, it will not be allowed in the main racecourse.
No sandwich rating for Leicester due to no own food and drink allowed.
Picnics are only permitted in the centre course enclosure, or in the car parks before you enter the turnstiles. No food is permitted to be brought into the Grandstand and Paddock, or Premier enclosures.
A one sandwich rating for Bath. The centre course enclosure has few facilities.
“Picnics are allowed into the family enclosure only, however no alcohol is permitted.
A two sandwich rating for Doncaster. The emphasis is on zero alcohol which makes this a bit more family friendly.
Unfortunately customers own food and drink are not allowed to be consumed on the premises.
No sandwich rating for Southwell.
“We only allow the consumption of your own food and drink into our Course Enclosure where you drive your car in and have a picnic in the centre of the course. If you were coming into our other two enclosures, the Grandstand and Paddock or the Premier Enclosure, your own food and drink are not allowed and you would be direct by our security staff to eat your picnic in the Course Enclosure first. Then, you would be allowed to enter the other two enclosures.
A two sandwich rating for Beverley. There are few facilities in the course stand but you can enter the main Grandstand enclosures if you have the right ticket.