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Ascot Racecourse, High Street (tel. 0870/722-7227; www.ascot.co.uk), England's largest and most prestigious course, is open throughout the year. The facility hosts 27 days of racing yearly. The highlight of the Ascot social season is the Royal Meeting (or Royal Week), when many women wear fancy hats and white gloves. Excellent racing also takes place on De Beers Diamond Day (fourth Sat in July) and during the Festival at Ascot (last Fri, Sat, and Sun in Sept), when the prize money usually exceeds £1 million per event.

You can buy tickets for one of three distinctly different observation areas, known as "enclosures." These include the Members Enclosure, which, during the Royal Meeting (5 days in June), is known as the Royal Enclosure. Also available are the Tattersalls Enclosure, largest of the three; and the Silver Ring, which does not enjoy direct access to the paddocks and has traditionally been the site of most of Ascot's budget seating. Except during the Royal Meeting, newcomers can usually secure viewing space in the Member's Enclosure, but only if they call ahead to confirm that space is available. General admission prices range from £11 to £60. Children 16 and younger are admitted free (except for the Royal Enclosure) if accompanied by an adult, and there is free supervised day care for children 7 and younger.

Beginning January 1 every year, you can arrange advance bookings for guaranteed seating in the most desirable areas during the most popular races. Write for tickets to the Secretary's Office, Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7JN, or book at www.ascot.co.uk. Credit cards are accepted at tel. 0870/727-1234. Car parking is free except during the Festival Meeting in September.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.