How to Live the Ascot Lifestyle
Mention Ascot and thoughts naturally turn to Royal Ascot, the world’s most famous race meeting and a major event in the British social calendar.
Yet there is plenty more to this elegant town than June’s annual horse-racing festival.
And in this blog post, we have selected some of our favourite things to do in and around Ascot.
Food and Drink
Ascot is not short of fabulous dining options.
Steve Smith, Head Chef at the Latymer Restaurant at Pennyhill Park, is widely regarded as one of the most inventive and gifted chefs of his generation and has held a Michelin star for 20 years.
Coworth Park has an award-winning range of restaurants to cater for different appetites, from fine dining to fish and chips.
And Michelin-plated Bluebells Restaurant offers a relaxed but formal approach to fine dining.
A stone’s throw away from Windsor Great Park is The Carpenters, a country pub and French restaurant in the heart of Sunninghill village.
Another gem is dog-friendly The Thatched Tavern. This cosy, 400-year-old beamed pub has glowing fires and serves traditional heartwarming bar food.
Places of Interest
There is a wealth of interesting places to visit near Ascot.
Site of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, the National Trust’s meadows at Runnymede are home to several memorials to the struggle for freedom.
Just across the Thames is the Anckerwycke Yew, a 2,500-year-old tree that is the National Trust’s oldest tree. According to popular belief, Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn beneath the tree.
And whether you are a keen gardener in search of inspiration, a dog owner looking for an unparalleled variety of walks, or a family wanting to enjoy nature and history, becoming a member of Windsor Great Park or a Friend of The Savill Garden is an investment you will not regret.
Sport and Leisure
If you are an active person or have sporty children, you will find plenty to do in Ascot.
With four floodlit courts, Royal Ascot Tennis Club offers social and competitive tennis for players of all abilities. The club provides tennis coaching for all ages and Social Club sessions are held three times a week throughout the year.
The home of cricket in Berkshire is Royal Ascot Cricket Club. Located in the middle of the racecourse, the club has six senior teams and colts teams for girls and boys.
To some, golf is a ‘good walk spoiled.’ For the rest of us, it is a wonderfully social game and a rewarding way to spend a few hours out in the fresh air.
And in and around Ascot, you will find a host of top-class golf courses.
Wentworth was the birthplace of the Ryder Cup and is home to the headquarters of the European PGA Tour. It has three magnificent 18-hole courses and each year hosts the BMW PGA Championship – the European Tour’s designated premier event for world rankings.
Eight-times Major Championship winner Tom Watson described Sunningdale as “how golf should be. It is unique and it brings out the child in you.” Its two courses, the Old and the New, have been recognised, respectively, as number 2 and number 4 in the top 100 golf courses in England.
Other splendid courses in the area include Swinley Forest, Royal Ascot Golf Club and the two 18-hole courses at The Berkshire.
Whatever your views on golf, Berkshire is a great place for walking – whether you are a seasoned hiker or more of a Sunday stroller.
Popular walks include a circular stroll around Ascot Heath inside Ascot Racecourse and a lakeside walk by the stunning Virginia Water, as well as a multitude of other trails in Windsor Great Park.
Bird watchers will enjoy a visit to Englemere Pond Nature Reserve.
Horse Riding and Polo
Why not explore Berkshire’s beautiful countryside on horseback?
Well-trained and immaculately presented horses are available for riders of all abilities at Coworth Park’s 240-acre private estate.
And for more experienced riders, Minninnooka Polo boasts a supportive group of coaches and instructors who are experts in helping polo players build their confidence.
If getting out and about on horseback is not quite your cup of tea, why not try it on two wheels?
Swinley Forest has 24 kilometres of purpose-built, all-weather way-marked mountain bike trails, with three levels of trails to suit all abilities. A range of bikes, including E-Bikes, can be hired from Swinley Bike Hub.
If it is the sailor’s life for you, then you will be at home at Datchet Water Sailing Club. At nearly two kilometres in length and over a kilometre wide, The Queen Mother Reservoir is a great place to learn how to sail, windsurf, wing foil or paddleboard.
Hotels & Spas
Enjoy the ultimate in relaxation with a spa break at Pennyhill Park. The five-star luxury makes it the perfect place to recharge, rejuvenate and re-balance with a tranquil hotel and spa escape.
And as a member of The Spa at Coworth Park, a one-off treat becomes a life of luxury.
Finally, for a spot of retail therapy, head along to Windsor.
Eton High Street boasts a fine selection of independent retailers, with a string of antique shops, small galleries and boutiques. Highlights include the wonderfully dusty Eton Antique Bookshop.
Michael Chell stocks a good range of men’s designer clothes, with brands such as Canada Goose, Stone Island and Emporio Armani.
And at Windsor Royal Station, you will find fashion retailers such as Jigsaw, Hobbs and French Connection, as well as health and beauty retailers such as Jo Malone, Molton Brown and Space NK Apothecary.
Like Nowhere Else
Bringing together the very best in fashion, style, sport and entertainment for five spectacular days, Royal Ascot certainly lives up to its official motto of ‘Like nowhere else’.
However, with so many great things to do in and around the town, living the Ascot lifestyle is something you can enjoy all year round.