Date of Review: 12th June 2023
RCA Reviewer: The Doctor
Address: Lingfield Park, Racecourse Road, Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6PQ
Phone: 01342 834 800
Local Hotel Accommodation: https://www.booking.com/landmark/gb/lingfield-park-racecourse.en-gb.html
Track Layout: (image: courtesy of & acknowledged to At The Races)
Lingfield Park Racecourse, which is located on a vast 600-acre estate, is unique in the fact that it is the only racecourse in the UK to host all three types of horse racing: flat turf, all-weather, and National Hunt. Further to this, Lingfield Park is the busiest racecourse in the UK and across Europe, hosting over 80 fixtures during the year. It also has an 18-hole golf course and a 116-room luxury hotel on site.
The left-handed, all-weather track at Lingfield is just under a mile and a quarter in distance, with some tight turns. The turf track, which is almost a mile long and has a four-furlong joining area for longer races, which is located outside of it. The National Hunt course is triangular and has a 200-yard run-in. The track has some undulations, but nothing too strenuous.
The left-handed all-weather track is situated inside the turf track and is therefore effectively sharp in design and has a distinct camber. It’s important to note that it is not uncommon for horses tracking the leader to be severely hampered as they take the final turn. This is an issue as the straight to the winning post is only 2 furlongs long. The course measures just under a mile and a quarter. This ensures that stamina is rarely an issue and that strong-travelling types with a turn of foot are frequently preferred in races given the way they frequently turn out. The round course is flat for almost half of its length before rising to the top of a slight hill and turning downhill to the straight.
It is important to note that the 1-mile 2-furlong all-weather start at Lingfield is challenging and highly draw-dependent. The same goes for the 5- and 6-furlong races. It's a track where, in our opinion, being patient can pay off. However, you don't want to be too far off the pace at the business end of the race.
Due to the characteristics of the racecourse, it is common for horses that perform well at Lingfield to also perform well at Epsom. The two tracks are frequently compared. A few weeks prior to the main Epsom Derby, Lingfield Park hosts a significant Derby trial.
Lingfield Park Racecourse also has its fair share of history. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), who generously permitted Lingfield Park to incorporate the Prince of Wales feathers in its official heading, officially opened Lingfield Park Racecourse in 1890. The racetrack was initially only permitted to host jump races, but in 1894, permission to host flat races was also granted.
In 1932, the first Derby Trial and Oaks Trial Stakes were both held at Lingfield Park, and both continue to be among the most prestigious events of Lingfield’s racing calendar. Since then, racing has continued at Lingfield Park, with the only interruption occurring during World War II, when the War Office commandeered the estate for use as an Italian POW internment camp. The Home Guard also practiced marches and attacks on the home straight. The owners built a golf club on the site in 1987.
On November 16th, 1989, Lingfield had the distinction of becoming the first British racecourse to host all-weather racing when a new Equitrack was built inside the redesigned turf course. The course was purchased by its current owners, Arena Leisure PLC, in 1997. A new all-weather surface known as a Polytrack was installed there in 2001. This was relaid again in 2012.
In 2003, the turf courses back straight was upgraded, and in 2004, a £5.5 million investment was made in what is now the main grandstand. In 2010, a luxury hotel was opened on-site.
Early in 2009, a horse named Matsunosuke, who was officially rated 112 (or 117 by the Racing Post), became the highest-rated horse to triumph on the all-weather surface, setting another record at the track.
If you like a little bit of trivia, as we do at Racecourse Advisor, then you will be pleased to know that Davy Jones, the lead singer of the first ever “boy band,” The Monkees (Daydream Believer, Last Train to Clarksville etc.), was a jockey before he hit pop music super stardom. He came back to racing long after he retired and actually rode a winner on a horse named Digpast trained by Roland O’Sullivan in the 4.20pm Ontario Amateur Rider’s Handicap on February 1st, 1996, at Lingfield as a 5ib claimer. Davy passed away in 2012, and a memorial plaque was laid in the gardens of Lingfield Park to commemorate him.
Tribute to Davy Jones of the Monkees - Lingfield Park
Lingfield Park Racecourse was also featured in the 1954 film “Rainbow Jacket,” which featured Robert Morley, Kay Walsh, and the husky-voiced Honor Blackman, who famously went on to be a Bond girl and star as Pussy Galore in the classic Bond movie Goldfinger.
The Racecourse Advisor Guide to Lingfield Park Racecourse:
By Road: The good news is that the course is easy to get to. It is a 15-minute drive from the M25 (J6) or M23 (J10). The postcode for sat-nav users is RH7 6PQ. It has to be said that it is very poorly signed. We only spotted one “Lingfield Park” sign during our journey to the course. There is a taxi pick-up and drop-off point located next to the main entrance to the Marriott Hotel on site.
By Rail: The racecourse is a 5-minute walk from Lingfield Railway Station, which is very convenient. Trains run directly to Lingfield Station from London and take approximately 45 minutes from either London Victoria or London Bridge stations.
By Air: London Gatwick Airport is approximately 10 miles from the course. Helicopters may land at the racecourse; however, prior consent is required. Rating: 7/10
Parking: There is plenty of free parking on a large grassy field immediately off Racecourse Road at Lingfield. It is well sign-posted and it is a short walk of around 100 metres to the course itself. The only negative is the requirement to cross a very busy road to reach the entrance of the course. Cars can be left overnight if required. However, you are required to inform the parking stewards on arrival. Dedicated accessible parking spaces can be found close to the main entrance of the course. If you are a blue badge holder, then contact a parking steward on arrival, and they will assist you. Rating: 8/10.
Pricing: Entrance prices vary at Lingfield Park depending on the season and the meeting. On the day of our review, tickets were priced at £21 each for entry into the main grandstand. This gives you access to all of the public areas and also to the parade ring and winners’ enclosure. However, if you book online, in advance there are definitely some bargains to be had. The same ticket is only £16. But be aware there is a £3 “fulfillment fee,” which we feel is a bit naughty as the tickets are digital. So, no postage fees are incurred. They also offer online “a Day at the Races” ticket for £21 (plus the £3 “fulfillment fee”), which gives you entry into the course and food and drink. The food is a pie, and the drink is a pint of beer, a glass of wine, or a soft drink. So pretty good value, we feel. These need to be booked seven days in advance of the meeting. We went online to have a look at these in the morning, seven days prior to the meeting, but they had already sold out. So, either there is a huge demand for these tickets or there aren’t that many of them made available, or possibly both? For some unknown reason, hospitality and restaurant packages were not available for this fixture. Maybe that’s why the “A Day at the Races” offer was so popular?
A discount of £2 per person can be had when more than six tickets are booked online in one transaction. Seniors aged 60+ along with students (with a valid ID card), receive a discount of £5 per ticket. Carer assistants receive free admission when accompanying a paying guest with accessibility requirements. Children aged 17 and under go free to the races when accompanied by an adult (some exclusions apply for festival fixtures and Live After Racing events).
Unfortunately, we have to report that the race card is woeful, and we recommend that you keep your £3.50 in your pocket as it offers very little indeed. At just 24 pages, it is lightweight, and sadly, it provides no map, no trainer/jockey index, and no factual information or trivia about the course. In essence, it gives you nothing above and beyond what you’d get from the morning papers. Oh, unless you appreciate the fact that six full pages (we have not counted the ½ pages) are devoted to advertisements, the bulk of them for party nights. Rating: 8/10.
Catering: We both enjoy doing “racecourse reviews” and not restaurant reviews, or pretending to be food critics, our aim is just to give you an overall idea of what culinary at the track on racedays.
On arrival, an hour before the first race, we encountered very long queues at the Grandstand Bar with only two bar staff on duty. It transpired that the queues were for the “A Day at the Races” package where customers were collecting their drink, which is included. It was a little bit chaotic, and maybe a separate or designated area should be allocated for this purpose. However, to be fair, this was a temporary problem, and once these customers had been served, the service was fine for the rest of the day.
In the grandstand area, there was a “Piglets Pantry,” serving a selection of handmade pies such as chicken, gammon, & leek. Steak & Ale and a vegan option of cauliflower, broccoli & cheese are all £5.50 each, and sausage rolls are £5.00. For a further £2.50, you can add mashed potatoes, peas, and gravy.
At the bar, Guinness was £6.75 a pint (see below), along with San Miguel. Carlsberg is £6.20, Shipyard IPA £6.55, and Somersby’s apple or blackcurrant cider is £6.55 per pint. A glass of Sauvignon Blanc (187ml) was £7.50, as was a glass of Rose. A glass of Prosecco would set you back £9.90, which we thought was a little on the high side. A variety of f soft drinks at £3.40 for a 500ml serving.
Some of the food & drink outlets - Lingfield Park
If you fancy something a tad more upmarket, then head for the Brasserie, which was dishing up baguettes, rolls, or Yorkshire puddings filled with roast pork, apple sauce, and stuffing with a side of roast potatoes or roast rib eye of beef with tomato roquette and horseradish mayo with a side of roast potatoes, for £10 a pop. Or a sweet chilli beef noodles and salad, chicken Caesar salad, or a tuna, lime, and coriander salad for £8.00 each. A selection of sandwiches for £3.50 each was available. They also serve drinks such as cappuccino, latte, americano and espresso at £3.00 per cup. Hot chocolate is £3.50.
As the meeting we attended was a relatively quiet Monday afternoon fixture, there were a number of other outlets around the course that were closed. These include a dedicated fish & chip shop (always a positive), where a portion will set you back £12.00. Scampi & Chips £9.00 and Sausage & Chips can be had for £8.50. In addition to this, there was a burger van that serves such delicacies as a 4oz classic burger at £6.50, add cheese for another £1.00 and then a Smokey cheddar topped with bacon version for £8.50. A foot-long pork sausage in a bun is £7.50, if that’s your fancy.
Overall, plenty of choice and, in our opinion, pretty reasonable pricing all round. One thing we did notice was that in places the grandstand bar was somewhat down at heel, with parts of the carpet taped down with gaffer tape and parts of the linoleum floor in need of repair. It made the place feel a little shabby. With a little investment, this could be easily and quickly remedied. Rating: 8/10.
Guinness Standard: The good news was that draught Guinness was available at a more than reasonable £6.75 per pint. It wasn’t as cold as we would have preferred; however, it was more than acceptable on a very hot day. Rating: 8/10.
Viewing: The viewing at Lingfield Park is good. The horses can be seen for the vast majority of the time in all races. The grandstand is more than a decent size, with plenty of tiered viewing. However, no seating is available. The owners’ and trainers’ area are also accommodated here.
The viewing Experience - Lingfield Park
The only criticism we have, apart from the fact that a coat of paint wouldn’t go unnoticed, is that there is not a lot of cover due to the narrow roof of the stand. Therefore, there is not a lot of shelter from the elements, be it a hot or rainy day. It is, however, more than adequate. We have seen far worse on our travels. There is one large TV screen located just before the winning post. Directly in front of the grandstand is a grassed area with picnic tables and chairs, which we liked. Rating: 7/10.
Parade Ring/ Winners Enclosure: The parade ring is located at the back of the course. It is oval- shaped and large in size. Very well-tended, with neatly manicured hedges just inside the viewing barrier and a large floral display in the centre. It was impressive.
The parade ring & winners enclosure - Lingfield Park
On the right-hand side, there is a separate winner’s enclosure, which again has excellent viewing facilities. The weighing room is located just across a small courtyard. On the left-hand side of the parade ring is a good-sized pre- parade ring, which also has a good-sized viewing area. The only downside is the distance between these facilities and the racecourse itself. Rating: 9/10.
Bookmakers / Betting Facilities: As it was a quiet Monday afternoon meeting, there were around 10 bookmakers’ pitches, which was more than adequate for the size of the crowd in attendance. There is also a number of Britbet concessions around the course, and plenty of Tote counters are conveniently located. There are no problems placing and picking up a bet at this racecourse. Rating: 9/10.
Friendliness of Course Staff: Absolutely brilliant! Plenty of very helpful, cheery, and friendly course staff are all about the racecourse. Nothing was too much trouble, and we believe they deserve a mention. Rating: 10/10.
Pros & Cons: The grounds and set up at Lingfield reminded us a little of Haydock Park, which is a compliment in itself. Parking is free, which is always a bonus, and the pricing is good. However, we do wish the owners would drop the underhand £3 “fulfillment charge” and simply add it to the ticket price, which would be fairer and more transparent all round. The racecourse and its facilities are large and well-spaced out. The catering is more than acceptable, but the Grandstand Bar area needs some TLC. The viewing of the races from the stands is more than acceptable. All be it, a little more cover would not go astray. The parade ring and associated areas are impressive. The course staff were truly excellent and are to be commended. Overall, we had a very enjoyable day of racing and wouldn’t hesitate to return given the opportunity. Rating: 8/10
VIP Watch: No VIPs were spotted on the day of our visit.
Wi-Fi / Internet Connection: Lingfield Park racecourse is owned by Arena Leisure PLC, which has an arrangement in place with SKY for free internet access on the course. The usual details, such as name, date of birth, gender, age, email address, etc. are required to be submitted before you have access. However, once completed, you are automatically connected to the Internet at any other Arena Leisure PLC owned racecourse. There was no problem whatsoever with the connectivity and speed of the service provided.
Overall Racecourse Advisor Rating: 8.2/10.
Facilities & location layout of Lingfield Park Racecourse: (image: courtesy of & acknowledged to ARC Ltd.)
Aerial View Lingfield Park Racecourse:
(Image: courtesy of & acknowledged to Google Earth)
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