Southwell Racecourse Guide

Southwell Racecourse
Southwell Racecourse (Jonathan Thacker /

Near Newark-On-Trent you will find Southwell Racecourse, one of only five racecourses featuring an all-weather track and the only one with a fibresand surface.

Southwell is known to hold over 50 fixtures each calendar year, making it one of the busiest recourse in the UK. Racing on the Nottinghamshire based course includes both flat and National Hunt racing which rotate throughout the year, not separated by two distinct seasons.

Jump to: Course | Races | Useful Info | History


Swap Start/End

The Course

With the artificial surface at Southwell being constructed of fibresand, it poses a very unique test for horses and jockeys alike during flat races. It produces a lot more kickback than other artificial surfaces but it’s not usually a big issue as horses tend to be more spread out here. Unlike on most courses, being on the inside approaching the straight is not favoured and many jockeys choose to come out wide. The surface can vary on a day to day basis but ability to stay the distance is usually crucial.

National Hunt action takes place on a turf course that runs inside of the artificial track. It’s a tight left-handed course and also one where conditions underfoot vary a lot. For hurdlers, the brush obstacles are more forgiving than traditional hurdles but for chasers, they have to face some quite stiff fences. The fences, when combined with heavy ground, can often result in a high amount of causalities, but in the summer the ground is usually very decent and one of the best maintained surfaces in the country.

Major Races

Southwell doesn’t have a host of high Class racing to offer but its Ladies Day has to be considered the major meeting. Over 8,000 people were in attendance for the occasion in 2014 and you should always expect a lively and vibrant atmosphere if attending yourself.


Southwell Racecourse Stands
Southwell Racecourse Stands (Richard Croft /

With so many fixtures per year at Southwell, you can really find yourself spoilt for choice as to which one to pick.

Useful Info

Dress Code

Casual wear is perfectly acceptable in the Grandstand Enclosure but in the Premier Enclosure and hospitality areas, racegoers should avoid wearing t-shirts, shorts and trainers. On Ladies Day, there is a competition for the best dressed lady, the best hat and the best shoes so dressing smartly is encouraged.

Ticket Prices

Most racedays at Southwell fall under the standard pricing category meaning you pay £11 for a grandstand ticket or £15 for the Premier Enclosure. For more premium racedays, expect to pay £15 and £23 respectively and on Ladies Day prices are at their peak, with the cheapest admission starting at £18 when booked in advance.

Usually there are no discounts booking online but anybody wishing to purchase a hospitality or punters package must buy in advance. Senior Citizens can clam £2 off every time they visit providing they are a holder of a discount card which costs £3.50 to buy. Accompanied under 18s are admitted free to either grandstand.


At Southwell, membership will set you back £285 and for this you get access to a lot of racing. Not only do you always have access to Southwell’s meetings but you can visit any other ARC racecourse for free (restrictions apply) and there are reciprocal fixtures on top of this.

Free tickets, £50 in course vouchers and 10% food in the Pantry restaurant are all included as extras too. If you are a keen golfer, you can pay between £450 and £480 to become a member Southwell Gold Club which will also give you access to the racecourse.

Getting There

If driving to a Sunday meet, be aware that Occupation Lane and Station Road in Rolleston need to be avoided. For public transport users, Rolleston Railway Station is adjacent to the course and has direct connections with the likes of Newark and Nottingham.

On racedays, extra services run to allow racegoers to get arrive and leave the course at a convenient time. The exception to this is on Sundays when no extra services are offered and racegoers are best off travelling to Newark, approximately nine miles away, then arranging a taxi.


There are 1000 free parking spaces available for spectators.


Aerial View of Southwell Racecourse
Aerial View of Southwell Racecourse (Chris /

Pony racing was a prominent feature of racing at Southwell in the middle of the 19th century, taking place on a regular basis alongside thoroughbred action. As time passed however, the ponies would feature less as thoroughbreds took up the bulk of the action.

In these days racing took place within the vicinity of Southwell Minster and when Southwell Race Company was formed, they helped build a grandstand there in 1883. Racing had to cease there in 1897, however, as the track was deemed to be unfit for purpose and a hunt for a new venue began.


The new venue was selected, in the village of Rolleston on the outskirt of town. It was a quick turnover, with the first meeting taking place there seven months after the former ground held its last race. The next big change came with the introduction of a new grandstand in 1965 and a hurdles track with an innovative watering system that followed three years later.


In 1989, Southwell became the first course in Britain to hold a National Hunt race on an artificial track although they were soon stopped due to safety concerns. Despite being all-weather, the track wasn’t able to withstand flooding in December 2012, forcing its races to move to Wolverhampton and Lingfield. The amount of flooding was so great that up to nine inches of water had entered some buildings inside the racecourse. Two months later however and Southwell was in a state to re-open its doors, albeit in a limited capacity.