This year, Royal Ascot commemorates its 300th anniversary celebrating a lively, diversified and interesting history of everything horse-related, let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon that is coach holidays to Ascot!
It all started back in 1711, when Queen Anne spotted the opportunity for a racecourse at East Cote – an open space area that’s not far from Windsor Castle. The inaugural opening took place on August 11 in the same year with the first race awarding 100 guineas in prize money to the winner.
Since then, Royal Ascot is automatically linked to the Royal Family as well as appealing to the finest members of high society including stars of stage/screen, politicians and other racing devotees. Ascot Ladies Day is one of the most popular events in the horse-racing calendar where ladies are able to mix the sport with a bit of glamour by showing off their fancy hats whilst sipping Pimms or Champagne. For many years, ‘Queen of hats’ title belonged to Mrs Gertrude Shilling, who regularly made front page news as the Ascot Mascot with her eccentric masterpieces, including a football, an apple pierced by an arrow and a 5ft giraffe – to name but a few!
Another intrinsic cog of Ascot is the Royal Procession which was first introduced by the reigning King in 1825 and to this day, catching a glimpse of the Royal Party driving up the centre of the racecourse continues to be one of many defining images of Royal Ascot.
In 2006, Royal Ascot was reopened by the Queen after major £200 million refurbishment – making it one of the most prestigious and valuable race meetings in Europe. It is quite literally the place to see and be seen and that’s why stars and starlets, politicians, nobility and of course royalty as well as the common crowd gather together at this majestic racecourse every year to watch the most established horse race in Europe.
To mark the occasion of Ascot’s 300th Anniversary, Fuller (London’s one and only traditional brewery) will launch a special limited edition tercentary golden ale with only 30,000 bottles being produced. The ‘Ascot Tercentary Ale’ will be available nationwide in Budgens, regionally in other selected supermarkets, at Ascot racecourse during April as well as in selected Fuller’s pubs during June and at the Ascot Beer Festival on 30th September – 1st October 2011.
Cheers and Happy Birthday Ascot!