I have been to Qatar Goodwood Horse Racing Festival in Chichester twice now, both completely different trips, but I loved them both!
My mum was feeling bittersweet about turning 50, so wanted to celebrate in style, and with enough celebrations to last the whole month… There was 7 of us attending Goodwood and we couldn’t wait to celebrate my mum’s big day (and hopefully win a small fortune at the same time…)!
My mum’s best friend, Tracey, organised the trip (part of her best friend duties) and she created the most detailed itinerary, including our accommodation, restaurants and our private taxi for the entire trip. She did an amazing job – my OCD loved the level of organisation!
We caught the train and had to pass through central London, including a tube ride. It’s not easy to transport hat boxes and suitcases through the hustle and bustle of the London Underground, but thankfully my mum had prepared a train picnic accompanied with plenty of prosecco, so everyone was feeling bubbly and just laughed about it!
My boyfriend, Joel, is a big fan of horse racing and he was heartbroken to not be allowed on the girlie trip in 2016. We always plan trips and events for each other’s birthday – after all, they say the best memories aren’t material objects. I booked for us to go on a long weekend, as a surprise, to Glorious Goodwood for the final Saturday races.
The Gordon Enclosure (£41 for an early bird ticket)
For both trips, we booked tickets for this enclosure as we could still enjoy some of the luxuries of the day without breaking the bank! The enclosure had a garden bar area filled with different pop-up bars, such as a prosecco and Pimms bar, and various food stands. We were fortunate enough to have sunny weather on both trips so the drinks were flowing… a little too easily, ha.
The enclosure allows access to the Parade ring to watch the horses before entering the course and you also get one of the best views of the race course – the final furlong! Everyone around you was tense, excited, cheering, and then either celebrating or commiserating. It’s such a great buzz!
2016 – The Jingles B&B Hotel, Emsworth
With Goodwood Racecourse just under 10 miles away, the hotel was set amongst green fields and just a short walk from local pubs. The rooms were clean, cosy and well furnished. I shared a room with my mum, which I haven’t done in years, and we had such a nice time having late night chats and getting ready together for the day at the races. Although, my mum would swiftly disagree because apparently I “get too stressed” when I’m getting ready – it was a big day, what’s a gal to do?!
The breakfast was amazing, you could help yourself to cereals, toast and yogurt and then ordered your hot breakfast which was cooked right to your requirements. I had the smoked salmon – soooo delicious! I needed a good half an hour for my food-baby to go down before I could even fit in my dress for the races though…
2017 – Shepherds Barn, West Dean
I found and booked the barn for my boyfriend’s birthday trip and it was perfect! It was a quaint barn conversion which had a private outdoor seating area with heaters, furry blankets and a picturesque view of the South Downs. The barn was homey with stylish country decor and a cosy loft-bed with 2 skylights to let the British sunshine beam in! We had the perfect start to the day with breakfast outside and I had the perfect place to sit and do my makeup and make the most of the amazing natural lighting!
I took inspo from Tracey and created my own itinerary for the trip. My boyfriend laughed and thought I was a total geek, but I just love writing lists (I write lists for everything I do), and making things look organised and pretty at the same time.
- The Fishes, North Hinksey Village (a great stop for the drive down) – I booked this for a breakfast stop on the drive down to Chichester and we enjoyed a super-filling full English with a silky latte and freshly squeezed orange juice. Perfect fuel to start the day! The Fishes had a lovely decking and summery garden tent ready for garden parties and BBQs during the summer – it looked so sweet!
- Lemongrass Thai Restaurant, Chichester – We both ordered Pad Thai as this was street-food dish that we fell in love with in Thailand and they got the flavours spot on!
- The Fox Goes Free, Chichester – I honestly could not fault this restaurant, it had the most stunning garden views of the South Downs and we were lucky enough to have our own private alcove dining room. The staff were so welcoming, and the atmosphere was buzzing, especially as some of the racing jockeys were also dining there!
My food was to die for…
Starter – Scallops with pancetta and roasted peppers (Scallops = my go-to starter – I’m almost dribbling just typing about it)
Main Course – Fresh fish of the day (You’ll learn as my blog develops that I am a seafood fin-atic – excuse the cheesy pun, haha)
Dessert – Homemade berry crumble (It reminded me of my mum’s homemade crumble and I got that warm, cosy feeling, which you just cannot beat!)
This restaurant was so good that I booked to take my boyfriend there for our post-races meal too!
2016 – Asos
I ordered my dress from Asos, which is an online stockist for the Chi Chi London brand.
Every year for Ladies’ Day, the festival chooses a colour and they select a “best dressed”. I had no idea about this and bought my blue dress – only to find out that the chosen colour was blue. I had my picture taken (slight cringe) when I arrived and waited for the result – the prize was a trip to South Africa! Unfortunately, I didn’t win but I did end up with my picture on the 2016 “after-movie video” on the Goodwood website. Claim to fame, haha!
2017 – Virgos Lounge
I was really struggling for a dress to wear as I wanted something that I loved as much as my first dress, but I also wanted it to be completely different. After endless website trawls, I stumbled across a brand called Virgos Lounge. Jackpot, this website stocks the most beautiful dresses with intricate jewelled details and flattering dress shapes. I couldn’t decide which dress I loved the most – so I ordered 2 with the intention of sending one back… They arrived, I loved them both so much that I had to keep them both!
Also, a big bonus, I got both dresses in the sale, the 2 cost just under £80! Bargain!
It’s such a fun trip if you fancy doing something a little different and the August weather hasn’t disappointed yet!
“You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people.” – Will Rogers
Thank you for reading this post – like or leave a comment to let me know what you think!
The Jingles B&B Hotel, Emsworth
Trip Advisor – 4
Booking.com – 8.7
Shepherds Barn, West Dean
Booking.com – 8
The Fishes, North Hinksey Village
Trip Advisor – 4
Lemongrass Thai Restaurant, Chichester
Trip Advisor – 4.5
The Fox Goes Free, Chichester
Trip Advisor – 4.5