As an event immersed in glitz, glamour, drama, and sky-high piles of cash if you’re lucky, the Grand National is a great day out. Since 1839, the famous Aintree thoroughbred race has morphed into one of the biggest cultural attractions in the UK, with tourists from around the globe getting in amongst the action when April rolls around. There is little doubt that the Grand National is something special, and we’ve put together a guide that tells you everything you need to know about Britain’s biggest horse race and how you can make your visit to Aintree one to remember.
Learn a bit about The Grand National
The Grand National is a four-mile race featuring 16 fences, with as many as 40 horses taking part on the day. Alongside the showpiece event, you will also get to explore Aintree Racecourse, which is speckled with fancy restaurants, bookies’ stands, music, and pop-up food and drink stalls.
The horses at the Grand National this year are a competitive bunch, which should make for a thoroughly exciting race. The Last Samurai is tipped to run well after finishing second in 2016, whilst bookies are also backing Don Poli, Carlingford Lough, Vieux Lion Rouge, and Noble Endeavour to put their names in the history books.
Grab your tickets
Tickets for the Grand National are snapped up quickly every year. If you don’t have yours already, there are still some available online for the Festival Section of the racecourse, which offers you the opportunity to peer into the Winners’ Enclosure.
Plan your route
If you’re travelling to Aintree from more than a few towns over, it is always worth looking into public transport tickets well in advance. There is parking available at Aintree, but the Grand National can be a rather hedonistic day and it’s certainly worth considering the train or bus so you can enjoy a drink with your mates. Reserving a taxi before the event is also a good idea. You don’t want to be hailing Ubers with a surge charge when hundreds of others spill out of the concourse at closing time.
Treat yourself to a great suit
Everyone at Aintree in April will be going all out to look dapper on the day, so it is worth setting some time aside to go suit shopping in the weeks leading up to the Grand National. It’s a brilliant occasion, and you ought to feel and look your best for it.
Pack your bag
Make sure your phone is full of juice so you can grab some super snaps on the day, and double-check that you have your tickets, keys, wallet and betting cash before you head out the door.
A lot of bookmakers will take debit and credit cards, but it is much easier and safer to pay with cash. It’s also a good idea to take a wad of money with you specifically for bets. Give yourself a budget and once it’s gone, stop taking trips to the bookie stands. This will prevent you from tumbling into debt and give you freedom to spend the rest of your hard-earned money on pints, food, and champagne if you’re in the mood for a little celebration.
Grab yourself a Race Card before you go. These are available for a reduced price online and will prove invaluable, allowing you to study the odds and pick your winners.
Be prepared for the Grand National before it rolls around, and be sure to make the most of it. It’s a terrific event and offers memories you’ll savour for a lifetime.