Enjoying Family Fun Day at Royal Windsor Racecourse

Jockey at Windsor Racecourse - Jenography

A jockey and horse on their way to the gates

I was surprised at the size of the saddle.

It can carry a jockey many furlongs around the track but is no larger than a handbag.

pinterest for Windsor Racecourse

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We got a peek at a couple of saddles at Royal Windsor Racecourse during the Family Fun Day Spectacular — a day where families could not only watch the races but also meet Dora the Explorer and Diego, get their face painted, and go on funfair rides. The event is part of Great British Racing’s #StirrupSummer — which is all about a new national under-18s campaign, getting kids and families out to the races.

My husband and I got to attend with my 13-year-old, meet the #StirrupSummer ambassador Sara Cox, and see behind the scenes at the racetrack.

enclosure at Windsor

View of the enclosure in the owners and trainers area


Jen Howze with tiny saddle at Windsor

That’s one small saddle…


Jenography getting weighed at Windsor

Here I’m getting weighed like a jockey (although I’m not sharing the results, indicated by arrow)


testing the Gates at Windsor Racecourse

My daughter got to press the button to test the gates before one of the races — exciting!


We love attending racing in our family. I’ve written before about point-to-points and what we like about those. The races at the Windsor Racecourse are more formal than an amateur jockeys jumping hedges in a farmer’s field, but it features those elements we love — viewing these beautiful creatures as they are led around before racing, picking a horse and putting down a modest bet, cheering as the horses speed by, and then gathering your winnings or — as is more frequent in my case — tearing up your ticket ruefully.

There are also the purely aesthetic delights of attending the races: the lush emerald grass in the enclosure, the sheen of the horses’ coats, the natty attire of some of the gentlemen, the excited voices of children. Here they are joined by the excitement of the funfair. This is mainly geared to younger kids. For our 13-year-old, the attractions that appealed were the dodgems and what we used to call “The Scrambler” at the good old Texas South Plains Fair.


funfair at Windsor racecourse

The funfair features a bouncy castle and Thomas the Tank Engine ride among others, along with concession stands.



dodgems at Windsor Racecourse

Having fun on the dodgems

scrambler at Windsor Racecourse

Whirling round on “The Scrambler”


Jen Howze with Sara Cox at Windsor

Me with Sara Cox, who I was delighted to learn rides and races


Viewing the racecard

Viewing the race card. Our method for picking? Jockey’s colours of course!

We were lucky enough to go into the Club Enclosure, where there is a dress code, although nothing so onerous as to interfere with our 13-year-old’s usual sartorial choices (the rules dictate smart casual, which includes no ripped jeans and a request for collared shirt for men). We also got to meet Guy Lewis, a former jockey who now works as a race judge. He showed us some images of photo finishes — one in which the winner seemed ahead not by a nose but a nose hair. He told us about jockey injuries (his multiple broken collarbones sounded particularly painful) and working as a race judge — all fascinating insight into the world of professional horseracing.


horse being walked at Windsor

Viewing the horses before the race. I won with this one!


Guy Lewis, a former jockey, now works as a judge and told us a bit about life as a jockey


jockeys at weighing room Windsor Racecourse


horse at Windsor

There is something so beautiful about these creatures that’s a joy to marvel at

“Do owners every actually make money from these races?” I asked my husband as we stood in the stands waiting for one of the races to start. “No,” said a woman sitting behind us, with a smile. All the money is spent on upkeep of the horses, training, the jockey. “You do it for the love of it,” she said.

Then, as the horses sped by, the unimaginable happened: the one I’d picked was in front. And stayed in front. And crossed the line in front!

I won a whopping £13 and change by choosing the right horse from the earlier viewing (using my friend’s guidelines which — no — I won’t share).

We all do it for the love it, win or lose.

But when your horse comes in, well, it is exciting!



If you go

Windsor Racecourse
Maidenhead Road


Under 18s go FREE on all racedays at Royal Windsor Racecourse. (Must be accompanied by a paying adult.) See the schedule for upcoming events, and look for family days at other racecourses this summer.


Jenography and family attended as a guest of Great British Racing. All opinions are my own.



Untold Morsels


I’m a journalist and blogger. Previously I was The Times’s online lifestyle editor and Alpha Mummy blogger. Now I’m co-founder of BritMums and BritMums Live! – our annual blogging conference that draws hundreds. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google Profile+



  1. June 2, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    The races are so much fun! We have the Melbourne Cup – also known as the race that stops a nation – in Australia. It’s a public holiday in Melbourne but the rest of the country takes the afternoon off too! Anyway, my point is I love the festive atmosphere of the races and would love to go to the races at Windsor. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

    • June 5, 2017 / 3:48 pm

      That sounds like so much fun. I agree — it’s the atmosphere that makes the races so much fun. Thanks for commenting. #FarawayFiles

  2. June 3, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    I haven’t been to the races in ages but it’s always a good day out! I like the sound of the family day, I think it would really intrigue my eldest daughter. Well done on picking the right horse…am going to have to grill you on the tactics! #farawayfiles

    • June 5, 2017 / 2:30 pm

      Ha, I will share my sacred selection method with you, Wander Mum!

  3. June 8, 2017 / 12:00 am

    Can you believe that we lived only a few hours from the Kentucky Derby and never saw it live! A regret I have. You have to see horse racing live. Thanks for sharing the fun day out (if not the weigh in!) with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • June 9, 2017 / 8:39 am

      Aw that’s too bad. But there’s a reason to make a special trip. Thanks for the comment!

  4. June 21, 2017 / 10:49 pm

    We love a family fun day at the races. They have them at our local racecourse and my boy was over the moon to meet Bing bunny. It looks like a really fun day out for all. Well done on your win. It all counts. I won a little too when we went.

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