Last weekend I took a trip to visit Donnington Castle and I spent the day battling against snow drifts. This weekend just gone, I spent the whole day basking in the sunshine. I know that us Brits like to talk about the weather a lot but isn’t it crazy how fast everything can change?
The changeable weather worked in my favour this time though as it meant that I was able to go to Newbury as planned and that I was able to spend the day at the point-to-point horse races the weekend after as they had been postponed due to the snow.
What is the Point-to-Point?
Simply put, the point-to-point is amateur horse racing event. They take place across the country, in varying locations within the picturesque countryside. The courses in England are typically 3 miles long and consist of 18 jumps, but depending on the ground and the weather this can be altered for safety reasons.
The point-to-point originated in Ireland and gained its name from the fact that the jockeys would race from steeple to steeple. Nowadays there are more than 100 courses throughout the UK and they give the riders a chance to really hone their skills on a course. Even if that course is generally set up on normal farm land.
This was my first year attending so I had little to no idea what to expect before I got there but the sun came out for us and I ended up having a brilliant day. Although in hindsight it would have been hard to have not enjoyed it. The entire day was filled with good company, tasty food, beautiful weather, and horses, so what more could I have asked for really?
What to expect:
The races take place across the course of the day and spectators have the opportunity to place bets, just as they would at larger races. However, if you’re like me and you have no clue how to bet, then you can simply sit back in the sunshine and watch the races from the sidelines. The buzz and the excitement from those around you who have placed bets will be enough to create a thrill inside of you anyway.
The day itself consists of several races, roughly six to eight, all of which seem to be over in the blink of an eye. But with the sun shining, a drink in hand and horses all around, the point-to-point makes a welcome change to the typical routine of the weekend.
Planning a day out at the point-to-point:
I am unsure about what the prices are like across the country but for anyone in the Buckinghamshire/Northamptonshire area, the Oakley Point-to-Point is free for children to attend and is just £10 per adult.
You’ll also be pleased to know that visitors are more than welcome to bring along the whole family - dog included - for the day out. Dogs are required to be on the lead but with such an expansive amount of countryside to walk them in and with so many other dogs for them to meet, they are sure to have as good a day out as you do!
And, unlike most events like these, you are more than welcome to bring along a picnic to enjoy throughout the day! I was quite shocked as normally once you’ve paid to be at an event they expect you to spend more money inside. But, while there are food vendors on site, there is no expectation that you have to eat from them at the point-to-point. So, if you were prepared then there is no reason why this couldn't be a relatively cheap day out for the whole family. And judging by the fact that there were so many people sat enjoying an impressive looking spread of food, it seems that there is no shame at all in being prepared and taking your own food along with you.
All-in-all, I had a brilliant day. We took the rescue lab Marley along for a day out and after a long walk to wear him out, he was the perfect pup for the rest of the day.
It definitely wouldn't have been anywhere near as enjoyable if the weather hadn't been so glorious. But with the sun shining down on us, there really was no better way to spend our Sunday.
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