The Grand National Festival

In Advice and Tips, Europe, Experiences, Sports and Activities, Sports Events, UK

It’s that time of the year again when even the most clueless racing fans are happy to part with their hard-earned cash during four days of exciting races.

This fascinating spectacle kicks off with race day on Thursday 13th April, when the most devoted of fans prefer to go. Friday 14th may be unlucky for some, but during the festival, it’s all about the fashion, as Ladies Day sees fashion stakes as high as the wagering stakes. Saturday 14th is the big day and the big build-up to the main event throughout the day.

The Grand National Festival at Aintree is arguably the most important festival in the racing calendar. The race features over 50 runners and the steeple chase is renowned for throwing up surprise winners, which is the main reason it is so exciting.

A Short History of The Grand National

The Grand National is a historic horse race that takes place annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England. The race was first run in 1839 and has since become one of the most famous steeplechases in the world, attracting huge crowds and international attention.

The race was initially established by William Lynn, a Liverpool innkeeper, and John Kipling, a local businessman, as a cross-country event. It quickly became popular among the working-class population in the area, who would often place bets on the outcome of the race.

Over the years, the Grand National has undergone several changes and improvements, with modifications made to the course, the race distance, and the fences. In the early years, the race was run over a distance of two miles and five furlongs, but it was later extended to its current distance of four miles and two furlongs.

The race has also been marked by several memorable moments and notable winners, including Red Rum, who won the race three times in the 1970s, and Ginger McCain, who trained Red Rum and later won the race with another horse, Amberleigh House.

Today, the Grand National is one of the biggest horse racing events in the world, with a global audience of millions and a prize pool of over £1 million. It remains a significant part of British sporting culture and a beloved tradition for horse racing fans around the world.


The main race is run over 4 miles and with 30 jumps. Over 50 jockeys and their equine partners take on the challenge of Bechers’ Brook, The Canal Turn and one of the longest finishing straights in steeplechase racing.

Although there is no official dress code for the festival, smart is preferable and is often adopted. Many use their trip to the racecourse as an opportunity to showcase their favourite race-day outfits. Hats are often worn (especially on ladies day) but are not obligatory.

What to Expect On Ladies Day – Friday 14th April

Ladies Day at the Grand National horse festival is one of the most anticipated events of the year for racing fans and fashion enthusiasts alike. The day is all about glamour, style, and, of course, top-class horse racing. Here’s what you can expect if you’re planning to attend Ladies Day at the Grand National.


Ladies Day is all about dressing up and showing off your best style. Women from all over the world attend the event, wearing stunning dresses, elaborate hats, and eye-catching accessories. While there is no official dress code, most attendees dress in their finest attire, with many opting for bright colors, bold prints, and unique designs.


In addition to the horse racing, Ladies Day also offers a range of entertainment options. Live music, DJs, and other performances are all part of the festivities, providing plenty of opportunities to dance and socialize.

Food and Drink

There are plenty of food and drink options available at the Grand National, with a range of vendors and catering options available throughout the day. From traditional British fare like fish and chips and bangers and mash to more international offerings, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Horse Racing

Of course, the main event of the day is the horse racing. The Grand National is one of the most prestigious races in the world, with a prize pool of over £1 million. The race itself is an exciting and fast-paced event, with 40 horses and jockeys competing over a grueling four-mile course.

At Ladies Day, there are also several other races on the schedule, providing plenty of opportunities for attendees to get in on the action and place bets on their favorite horses.

Ladies Day at the Grand National horse festival is an exciting and glamorous event that offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a racing fan, a fashion enthusiast, or just looking for a fun day out, you’re sure to have a memorable experience at this iconic event. So dust off your fanciest dress and get ready for a day of excitement and celebration at the Grand National.

Where is The Grand National?

The Grand National is held at Aintree Racecourse, which is located on the A59, just a mile from the M57 and M58, which link the M62 and M6. Follow the A59 to Liverpool and the yellow/tourism signs as you approach the racecourse for routes to the various car parks.

By Train

The best way to reach Aintree is by rail with Merseyrail. Aintree Station is found opposite the racecourse, where regular trains run regularly on race days (more frequently during The Randox Grand National Festival).

If you are coming to Aintree from outside of the Liverpool City Region, Lime Street is the best train station within the city centre. Liverpool Central station is just a short walk from Lime Street, where you can catch a train over to Aintree.

Newmarket Nights

However, for those not able to make the day, it is well worth visiting the Newmarket Nights festival in June and July that mixes races and live music, or alternatively, you can place your Grand National bets online using your mobile, tablet or desktop.

Although we can’t help you predict the winner, we can guarantee that a visit to this long-established festival will be both an unforgettable experience and a fun-filled day.

Discover luxury escapes near Aintree here.