Ayr Racecourse Guide

Guide to Ayr Racecourse

Ayr Racecourse is the home of the Ayr Gold Cup Festival – one of the most popular racing festivals in Scotland. Read our guide and discover how to get the most out of going to Ayr Races. We’ve got everything you need, and can even help you with What to Wear to the Gold Cup Festival.

Ayr Racecourse News from Eclipse

Straight from the Horses' Mouth...
Ayr Racecourse News

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About Ayr Racecourse

Flat / National Hunt

Scotland’s Top Racecourse

Ayr is Scotland’s top racecourse, hosting the Scottish Grand National in April and the Ayr Gold Cup Festival in September.


Horseracing in Ayr can be traced back to 1576 but the first organised meeting at Bellisle in Seafield was held in 1771. The first Ayr Gold Cup run in 1804 and when the Western Meeting Club was formed in 1824 they established the Western Meeting, now the Ayr Gold Cup Festival. They decided the track’s corners were too tight, however, and with no room to expand, began searching for a new site. In 1904 they purchased 150 acres on the Craigie estate, modelling the new course on Newbury, and in 1907 it was opened to the public. (The old racecourse became Seafield Golf Course.)

Richest Sprint Handicap

The Ayr Gold Cup became a handicap in 1855 and is now the richest sprint handicap in Europe. The Jumps course was established in 1950 and in 1966 the Scottish Grand National was transferred there after Bogside Racecourse closed.

Red Rum

In 1974 Red Rum won the Scottish Grand National and a statue of him at the course celebrates the victory.


The racecourse was put up for sale and after a bidding process it was purchased in 2003 by Ayrshire businessmen Richard Johnstone and Alan Macdonald (Dawn Developments and Thorntoun Estates). They invested in a major overhaul of the facilities and the Western House building was turned into an award-winning four-star hotel. Prince Charles and Camilla visited the course in 2012 and were invited to open the Rothesay Stand which was renamed in their honour – in Scotland their title is the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.

Important Races/Festivals


2–6 Whitletts Road, 
 KA8 0JE.

  • Road: From Glasgow or Edinburgh, take the M/A77.
  • Rail: Trains go directly to Ayr from all over the UK. The station is five minutes from the course.
  • Website: www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk
  • Telephone: 01292 264179.

The Ayr Directory - Local Services

Travelling to Ayr? Want to know where to stay, where to eat, where to get your hair and nails done? How about where the best pubs are and the name of a reliable taxi? We can help. Check back frequently – this section is updated on a regular basis. 

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