The Grand National 2024

11 April 2024 to 13 April 2024 Aintree Racecourse

The biggest event in the horse-racing calendar, at the world-famous Aintree Racecourse; It’s the world’s greatest steeplechase, and so much more!

This is the biggest event in the horse-racing’s National Hunt calendar, with a huge £1 million prize fund (the largest of any race) - National Hunt races, often informally called “jumps”, require racing horses to leap over various obstacles such as fences, open ditches and water features, in what are called ‘steeplechase’ events - and this is the world’s greatest steeplechase; nearly two and a quarter miles in length, it’s a unique test of horsemanship for each rider as they navigate sixteen unique fences (including the famous Becher’s Brook).

It all takes places at the world-famous Aintree Racecourse in Merseyside where, in the 1970s, Red Rum won three consecutive victories and went on to be widely regarded as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. The Grand National has been captivating ever-growing audiences since 1839, with over 500 million people from 140 countries watching last year, and 150,000 spectators gracing the grounds to attend the three-day festival in person.

The Festival

Opening Day kicks things off, though it is perhaps the most relaxed day of the festival for spectators (jockeys are keen to impress from out the gate!). There will be four Grade 1 races (in which the world‘s very best Thoroughbred and best-ranking horses compete) and live entertainment; last year revellers were treated to Apres Music, the Fat Cats and Loveshack!

Ladies Day begins with the Grand Women’s Summit, a key industry event featuring breakfast, a talk by award-winner Evie Paterson, and a Course Walk led by Racing VIPs. There’s over £10,000 worth of prizes to be won at The Style Awards, with prizes going to the best- and most sustainably-dressed, so expect big hats and high heels!

Grand National Day, the last day of the festival, is the day of the big race - its the last race of the day, at 5.15pm, so tension will be at a high!

Note: there are seven races on each day of the festival, and race times each day are as follows: 1.45pm, 2.20, 2.55, 3.30, 4.05, 4.40 and 5.15.

Is there a dress code?

As of 2023 The Jockey Club, which operates 15 race courses across the UK including Aintree, has relaxed what used to be a strict dress code to make the event more inclusive and accessible; their website states that spectators are asked to use their common sense when selecting an outfit, and there are still SOME rules that must be observed:

- No offensive clothing of any kind

- No replica sports shirts or football kits

- No offensive fancy dress 

Despite this relaxation of the rules, horse racing events like The Grand National are still largely seen as opportunities to dress to impress.

Tickets start at £35, with a range of Hospitality Packages available across the enclosures.