Exeter Racecourse

Things to do in Exeter | Exeter Racecourse

With a lofty location overlooking the glorious Devon countryside and a history that stretches back over 350 years, Exeter is one of racing’s national treasures. Just keep any gossip to yourself...

Horseracing was popularised in Britain by King Charles II, and Exeter Racecourse is one of a number of venues that can trace their origins back to the reign of the ‘Merry Monarch’ during the middle of the 17th century. The course is also notable for being the venue for the last ever duel in Devon when Sir John Jeffcott, a local judge, and Peter Hennis, a doctor, drew pistols after Jeffcott accused Hennis of spreading gossip. Hennis was killed and the disgraced judge fled to Africa. Things are a little quieter these days but race days are still a big event with the Grade II-listed Haldon Gold Cup in November attracting the country’s best chasers to battle it out for a prize of over £60,000.

Set amid the rolling Haldon Hills, Exeter is the UK’s highest race course and the Desert Orchid restaurant offers spectacular views across the track. Book yourself a window seat and enjoy a three-course meal in the perfect spot to roar your horses over the line. Or why not treat yourself to a private box? Each suite at Exeter comes complete with your own choice of menu, private bar and Tote betting service. No wonder they call it the sport of kings.

Even if you’re not planning to push the boat out, there are still plenty of options when it comes to getting fed and watered. Ticket holders for the Premier Enclosure can visit the Denman Room for a great range of meals, including fish and chips, local bangers and mash or a cracking roast dinner. AP’s Bar and the Martin Pipe Bar are open to all, serving a tempting selection of pies, soups and cakes, alongside beers, spirits and hot drinks to keep the brisk Devon wind at bay.

Located just off the A38 Devon Expressway, Exeter Racecourse is a short drive or taxi ride from the city, with the nearest Premier Inn being our Exeter (Countess Wear) hotel, which is only 10 miles away. Just don’t ask us for any tips!


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A popular destination for business travellers and tourists alike, Exeter is located in the heart of the beautiful South West region of England - and if you're planning a visit, our Exeter hotels make an ideal base.