Hexham Racecourse, currently the only active race course in Northumberland, can be found just south of Hadrian's Wall and sports one of the most amazing scenic backdrops of the racing world. Should you prove to be immune to the stunning surroundings, which is quite unlikely, don't let it get you down. Aside from being beautiful, Hexham Racecourse also hosts some truly exhilarating meetings.
Address: Hexham Racecourse, The Riding, Hexham, Northumberland NE46 4PF
Phone: 01434 606881
Hexham Racecourse has seen its fair share of greatness and desolation. From the beginnings of the Hexham racing tradition around 1720 to the present day, the racecourse has been foreclosed, privatised, opened to shareholders and requisitioned to aid the war efforts. Although Hexham is famed mainly for its racing scene and natural beauty, this racecourse is truly a witness to the changes that have afflicted Great Britain over the course of history.
The first official records of a race taking place on a specific day in the Hexham area date back to the 3rd May 1738, mentioning a race on Tyne Green. From 1793 races were reported regularly and most likely taking place at the Yarridge venue we know today. However, this flourishing hub of equine sports was left derelict and virtually unused less than a hundred year later, in 1880, being used as farmland rather than a racing venue.
The saviour of Hexham racing arrived in 1890 in the form of Charles William Chipchase Henderson of the Riding. This great aficionado of the National Hunt races took charge and the racecourse was transformed beyond recognition by the turn of the century. Some of the buildings erected under Henderson's watchful eye can still be seen at the location today.
Since the end of World War II, racing at Hexham has been continuous, with regular improvements of the track and venue, making it one of the United Kingdom's most history-rich tracks.
Hexham Racecourse plays host to some old-school grassroots Jump races regularly. The main event of the spring season is undoubtedly the Heart of all England Hunters' Chase, the meeting for stars on the rise in the National Hunt scene. During the summer months Hexham hosts a potpourri of weekend meetings and bank holiday fixtures, which are announced with ample warning to make sure you won't miss it.
Note: On race days a courtesy bus runs from Hexham Railway Station and Bus Station to the racecourse. This is without a doubt the easiest possible way to get there.
Take the A69 Newcastle to Carlisle trunk road and turn into Hexham at the main roundabout. Cross the river bridge and the railway bridge, then keep left at the Waitrose sign. Follow the road up to the Hexham thoroughfare, then turn right at the small roundabout. Past the County Hotel, past the bus station, past the HSBC bank. Turn left between the chemist and the 'Tap and Spile' Pub. Follow Eastgate road for 400 yards, then take a right into Dipton Mill Road. Turn right after ½ mile and follow the road to the racecourse.
You may have noticed how frequently we mention the extraordinary gift nature has bestowed on Hexham in terms of scenic surroundings. Guess what? With a caravan and camping site right next to the racecourse, you can turn a weekend meeting into a fully-fledged holiday. With more than affordable prices, starting at £4 per night in a tent, this is a truly appealing feature.
Fine Dining Hexham is home to the Pavilion Restaurant, a gourmet facility offering a package to tantalise your tastebuds. For £56 per person you can turn a day at the races into a feast at the races, with a Grande Buffet Luncheon that will leave you very, very happy.