Expat Life Travel UK

Royal Ascot: Living all my ‘My Fair Lady’ Dreams

I grew up with “My Fair Lady” and because of it, Royal Ascot pretty much stands for all things British. So when Appletiser offered me tickets to the Grandstand at Royal Ascot I was immediately thrilled. In fact, my excitement was barely containable. I immediately started planning my outfit. 

For all three tiers at Ascot, there is a dress code. The less stringent is the Silver Ring, and the most is the Royal Enclosure. Since I was in the Grandstand mine was a nice middle ground. Women must either be in dresses or fairly classic pants suits, and dresses had to have straps. A hat or fascinator also had to be worn at all times. The men’s code was just suit, shirt and tie.  (In the Royal Enclosure for men it’s morning dress, which includes the tails and top hat.)

So one morning, much earlier than I ever expected to put on a fascinator, Sam and I got all dressed up and headed out to catch our train to Ascot. It’s about a 50 minute train ride from Clapham Junction in London which is awesome. It takes me longer just to get to the other side of London from where we live! 

We had been pre-advised to take cash out prior to going to Ascot because the queue for the ATMs would be long and there’d be fees, which would be advice I’d pass along to future race goers. Gates opened at 10 am, with the first race not starting until about 2:30 pm. We arrived at about 11 am, giving ourselves ample time to look around, grab some lunch and a drink and snag a prime spot out on the lawn in time for the Royal Procession. I saw the Queen in her carriage and loved every second of it. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to her ever again but I was pretty thrilled. 

My favourite horse “Not So Sleepy” which I picked because of his legendary name proved a bit of a dud but I loved every minute of our time at Royal Ascot despite the wicked and oddly shaped sunburn I received. I saw some epically good hats and after the races finished everyone went outside to the bandstand and sang super English songs and waved flags, which I happily participated in. 

ascot crazy hats at ascot
(There’s a lady under this hat, I promise.) 

grandstand horse statue me at ascot me in grandstand more grandstand red hat royal ascot flags royal ascot royal box
(That’s the Queen’s Box. I turned around and watched her more than the horses.)

sam at ascot
the queen
(The Queen in her carriage.)

sam on the track sing song `

watching races

ripping tickets
broken dreams
Have you ever been to Royal Ascot? Would you like to go? 

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  • What a cool, cool day – love your dress!

  • Fascinating indeed! What I know about Ascot is that hats are far more important than horses!!

  • I so am putting this on my as yet non-existent bucket list! I think it is all the private schooling I had but I just love a dress code!!

    • I went to private school but no dress code – but I always wanted to wear a uniform. Is that weird? x

      • Not weird at all as they are the best! I had a uniform k-8 then a really strict dress code 9-11 then we went back to uniforms for my senior year and I was so excited to get it back! I actually cried though on my first day of college though as I felt so out of touch with what to wear to school!

  • That sculpture is SO cool!

    • Isn’t it?! It was always surrounded by people so I had to slowly inch my way in to get that picture! x

  • This is absolutely amazing!! I’m so jealous!

  • Ashley Angle

    You look gorgeous! I’m so jealous of all the cool things you get to do in London, but I love being able to kinda/sorta live it thru u! Looks like a great time with great weather!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  • This looks like an amazing experience! I love the outfits and hats…and you got a glimpse of the Queen! So cool!

  • Olivia

    Oh that looks like so much fun! Love your fascinator!

  • Kate Mitchell

    Ah! The Royal Ascot AND you saw the queen?! You are living my dreams.

  • Oh my gosh that red hat! Pretty sure you need to post a full shot of your dress lady, want to see the whole outfit : )

    • Thanks so much Betsy! Haha I made a huge blogger error and I don’t think any photos of me were taken from the waist down. I was too busy looking at other people’s outfits! x

  • This seems like the epitome of Englishness, so for that reason I definitely hope I get to go some day. Men in morning dress? I absolutely must see that with my own eyes.

  • Looks like you had a super time! I grew up just down the road from Ascot, and actually worked there one summer which was huge amounts of fun, so I love the place. I’d recommend not going on Ladies Day, the other days of Royal Ascot are much more chilled in my opinion… Still, at least you got to catch a glimpse of Liz!

    • I liked that I got to experience the madness of it though! If I went again, I’d like to go on a quieter day but I’m really glad that I’ve done Ladies Day now! x

  • How cool that you got tickets to Ascot. It looks like you had an amazing day! πŸ™‚ x

  • This is very cool! I can’t say I’d want to go per se, but I love your photos! Seems like a neat experience.

    • I’m not really into horse racing, but I got the feeling that a lot of people there weren’t either. It was more for the spectacle and the occasion of it all! x

  • I have never been but have family who go regularly – I love all the hats and dresses, such a fab day – and you AMAZING!

    • Thanks Molly!!! I had a blast. I’m not really into horse racing but the spectacle of the whole affair was fascinating! x

  • Looks like you had a great time! I loved when I went to the Ascot a few years ago…although in typical British fashion, it rained the ENTIRE TIME!

  • Christine | A Keane Sense

    How awesome! What a great experience! Love that you saw the Queen! Love me some British royalty hehe

  • This looks like such fun ! All those different hats I would love just watching them.

  • Oh how exciting

  • Angie SilverSpoon

    Some of those hats are insane!

  • Ah, I would definitely go! I want to see the magnificent hats and dashing gentlemen!

  • IT’S THE QUEEN! IT’S THE QUEEN! YOU SAW THE QUEEN!!!!!!!!!! I’m so freaking jealous of you right now. Also you and Sam look totally fancy in your fancy clothes.

    Did I tell you that my younger brother actually met Prince Charles? True story, when my brother studied abroad in Australia, he basically ran into Prince Charles in Sydney. My brother even managed to make Prince Charles laugh!

    • What did he say to Charles?! I want to know what made him laugh! In my mind, Charles doesn’t laugh easily so I’m impressed! x

  • Yes! That’s definitely how I felt about it! x

  • Sam looks so dignified in these photos! Have we seen this side of him on the blog before? hehe P

    • Haha! It’s because he only looks that dignified about twice a year. (Although he’d resent me writing that. Shh!)

  • Wow some of these are so ridiculous haha but I have to say that you look absolutely classy and beautiful! And wait do you have to dress all nicely and sit in the grass? Doesn’t seem fair πŸ™

    • All the other people in the grandstand came prepared with beautiful picnic blankets- I really missed a trick – I’ll know for next year. Unless I luck into Royal Enclosure tickets and then I wouldn’t need to worry about it πŸ˜‰ x

  • You too look so classy! I’m so intrigued by British hats and fascinators. And kind of grateful they’re not part of American dress codes because I can’t pull them off. Yours looks cute πŸ™‚

    • I have no idea why they are so popular here – unless it’s just because the Queen never shook off her 40s/’50s habit of wearing hats. It really makes me smile though because some of the hats are truly ridiculous! x

  • Rachel

    How cool is that?!! Dang that flower hat wow! Your dress is awesome!

  • Gilles FALISSE

    Hello, I have found your page about royal Ascot. Il was very nice to see that you have put the photo of the statue Estimate. World you have the kindness to put the name of artist: Gilles Falisse
    Here is his web site : http://www.falisse.net that you can have more information about Gilles.
    Thanks a lot
    Best regards