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Now that lockdown restrictions are being lifted, we can start getting back to our normal lives – and as the sun shines over most of the UK, the timing couldn't be better.

From meeting up with friends for BBQs to returning to our favourite brunch spots, there’s a sense of normality in the air.

This, of course, also means we can also get back to the annual events including horse race meetings, whether that be Ascot, Sandown or Goodwood.

Not only is going to races a great reason to get out of the house, but nabbing a ticket also gives people the chance to put on their fanciest dresses and statement fascinators for the day.

However, before you attend these popular events, it is best to check out each of the racecourse's style guides as they each have their own rules and protocols on what attendees can – and cannot! – wear.

So, to make sure you aren't turned away, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the style rules you will need to follow.

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot probably has the strictest dress code – which even bans fascinators in the Royal enclosure and states that hats must be worn and the bases have to be four inches (10cm) in diameter.

Their guide is very much in lines with The Royal Family's rules for dressing, which also dictates that dresses have to be a modest length, falling just above the knee.

Strapless, off-the-shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti-style straps are forbidden, with straps having to be one inch or greater.

If you are going to change the style game a little and wear a suit or jumpsuit then the trousers have to fall to the ankles and the pieces must be matching in material and colour.

Similar rules apply for the Queen Anne Enclosure but luckily you won't have to hunt too hard for a headpiece as any hat and fascinator can be – and must be! – worn at all times.

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Here are the most stylish royal mum moments from Diana's shoulder pads to Kate's fascinators

Dress, Coast, £125 here

Fascinator, Phase Eight, £65 here

Shoes, River Island, £50 here

Clutch bag, Accessorize, £45 here

Goodwood luckily is much more relaxed with their guidelines, however, they still have requirements that have to be met.

If you’re attending the Richmond Enclosure, Goodwood’s website states “Ladies are encouraged to dress stylishly but with a relaxed feel” – which will make picking that all-important outfit a lot easier.

They also recommend that you avoid wearing stiletto heels as the ground is quite uneven, and let’s face it, no one wants to get stuck in the grass.

Jeans, shorts, trainers and fancy dress (if that is your type of thing) are not permitted.

For their Gordon Enclosure they simply ask for guests to dress to impress but it's more relaxed than the Richmond Enclosure, as tailored shorts are allowed.

If you don't enjoy getting glammed up for the day then your best place to book a space is the Lennox Enclosure, as they have no formal dress code but they do ask for no fancy dress – so put that costume back in the cupboard!

Sandown Park Racecourse

One of the most lenient race courses is Sandown as they don’t have set protocols for what you can wear but all they do ask is that attendees "showcase their best and most colourful outfits”.

The only enclosures where you need to put a little more effort in are the Premier Enclosure and 1875 lounge where shorts, sports trainers, sportswear and flip flops are not permitted.

Hats and fascinators are not essential but are welcome. And let's face it, it wouldn’t be a race day without one.


Blazer, Mango, £69.99 here

Trousers, Mango, £35.99 here

Fascinator, John Lewis, £50 here

Shoes, Wallis at Debenhams, £37.50 here

Bag, New Look, £15.99 here

Even though Epsom Derby might have already happened this year, we're including it just in case anyone attends other meetings at the venue.

Epsom has varied dress code rules for all of their different enclosures but once again, like most, it’s best to make an effort and not turn up in your juicy couture tracksuit (if you have one).

In the Queen’s Stand Enclosure formal day wear is required, which can include a formal day dress or a tailored trouser suit, with a hat or substantial fascinator. Rules are the same for if you’re in the hospitality enclosure.


There isn't an official dress code for Cheltenham racecourse but naturally they ask you to look your best and follow dress codes you would for other venues.

So if you’re venturing out for a day at the races, make sure you’re embodying Kate Middleton rather than Bianca from Eastenders and follow the outfit guidelines.

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