Sunday, 25 October 2015

An Afternoon At Ascot

An Afternoon At Ascot Ladbrokes

If you would ask me what I feel is typical ‘British’, I will most certainly name you all the clich├ęs: meeting the queen at least once in your life, enjoy fancy afternoon tea with cakes and sandwiches or a visit to the famous horse races. 

Thanks to Ladbrokes, I can now cross out two of these very ‘typical British things to do’ from my list. Alongside a handful of bloggers, I was invited to the QIPCO Champions Day*, the grand finale of horse racing at Ascot Racecourse. We were treated to a four-course meal followed by afternoon tea and in between enjoyed a taste of horse race gambling.

Champions Day at Ascot

I arrived at 10am on Saturday morning and I wore a dress which I bought very last minute from ASOS. I also invested in a headpiece (fascinator) which I always wanted to wear and finally was given the chance to do so. When I arrived at Royal Ascot, however, no one seemed to be wearing hats or fascinators. I saw people dressed in riding clothes or simply in everyday wear, so my initial confidence was knocked down a bit.

After a while, though I thought ‘Nah come on! When will you ever get the chance to come back to Ascot?’ and then I pulled myself together and brought my fascinator out. So glad I did, as the other blogging ladies arrived in equally stunning headpieces and outfits.

What to wear to Ascot fashion ootd
My outfit for Ascot. Dress: ASOS (£55), Fascinator: Debenhams (£49), Heels: New Look (£19.99), Watch: Daniel Wellington (£159)

When everyone arrived, we made our way to the Royal Pavilion were two tables were booked for us. Perfectly set tables with fresh flower bouquets welcomed us and it was exciting to see posh people arrive, who dressed up smartly too and had a good chat with the other blogging ladies. It didn’t take long for the starter to be served: a pea parfait (vegetarian version) and salmon parfait with crispy bread.

Pavilion at Ascot
Table at Ascot Champions Day

After the first course, our party went outside to the racing grounds to see the first race of the day. I have to confess that I paid little attention to the gambling bit and who was rated the favourite, as I was overwhelmed by the entire atmosphere and I enjoyed every minute of it. 

Ascot is a unique experience which I’ve only known from pictures in my school textbooks, so to be actually in the middle of racing excitement felt surreal and thrilling at the same time.

Racecourse at Ascot
Please click on the picture to enhance the panorama.
Champions Day Horse racing at Ascot

Back at the pavilion, we enjoyed our mains; tender pieces of chicken with potatoes, gravy and vegetables. Will and Victoria, the two representatives from Ladbrokes, handed out gifts to everyone, which came as a big surprise! 

They thought instead of giving us goody bags, we should have a little memorabilia from our shared afternoon, so we all received a personal teacup with matching saucer. I love to have this beautiful piece for my new place in London and I found the gesture extremely thoughtful. I’m still very touched by the generosity and that my name is spelt correctly (which doesn’t happen very often!).

The afternoon brought more racing spectacle and we got to watch the winners parading in a separate ring. Olivia and I shared the photo booth and Khrissie got very close to the queen! Back at the pavilion, dessert in the form of a fluffy chocolate tiramisu waited for us and after that, we enjoyed a full afternoon tea including a cheese plater, scones (yum!), macarons and sandwiches.

Horse racing at Royal Ascot
Horse parading at Ascot
Ascot in Autumn

The day went by quickly, but that’s always the case when you’re in a charming company and enjoy delicious food. Paloma Faith was announced to be playing her DJ set at the afterparty at around 4pm but most of us preferred to finish the last piece of cake and make a move homeward bound.

An Afternoon At Ascot

The races at Ascot reflect a long tradition and are to me a quintessential part of British lifestyle. 

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time, 

*I was kindly invited to join the Ladbrokes team for an afternoon at Ascot.

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