The UK is famous for its love of horse racing, and all of Britain is dotted with racing venues ranging from small community tracks to glamorous settings with covered stands. If your visit to Scotland coincides with one or more racing events, why not add a flat or hurdle race course outing to your itinerary? Here are three event venues virtually synonymous with the sport of horse racing in Scotland.
Morebattle Hurdle Valentines Race Day at the Kelso Races
Held on February 14, the Morebattle Hurdle Valentines Race Day is a legendary event for fans who appreciate high-quality horses. At 1 mile and 330 yards long, the hurdle course features an uphill section that quickly helps to separate the winners from the pack. The Kelso Racecourse is just one mile out of the town of Kelso. Getting there by car is probably your best bet since the closest train station is 22 miles away, in the English city of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Gates open shortly before noon, and the first race starts at 1:40 p.m. Adult paddock access tickets are £11 (about $18).
Aviva City of Perth Gold Cup Day at the Perth Racecourse
If your Scotland visit is around June 9, plan to attend the jump events on this day. The Perth Racecourse is at Scone Palace Park in the town of Perth. While the venue did not open its gates until 1908, it is actually part of a 400-year racing history in Perth. The historic city in central Scotland is widely known as one of the nation’s outdoor adventure capitals, but don’t wear shorts and a t-shirt to the Aviva City of Perth Gold Cup Day: It’s a prestigious race that calls for attendees to dress to the nines. The day’s seven races begin at 2 p.m. Doors open at noon. A grandstand ticket costs £20 (about $32).
Scottish Sprint Cup at the Musselburgh Racecourse
Old-timers know the Musselburgh Racecourse under its former name, "Edinburgh Racecourse." A quick drive on the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass gets you to this venue just 6 miles east of Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh. You could also consider taking lines 26, 44 or 124 of Lothian Buses from Edinburgh to the Musselburgh Police Station stop. From there, walk the short distance to the racecourse.
If you are in the area around the middle of June, visit the June 15 Scottish Sprint Cup racing event. It is a flat (rather than hurdle) race; tickets cost £23 (about $37). Gates open at 11:30 a.m., and the first race is scheduled for 1:50 p.m. The final race of the day starts at 5:05 p.m.
Photos: Kelso Racecourse is one of the UK’s most prestigious hurdle horseracing venues. (Photos by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)