A day at Chester Racecourse deserves a great suit.


Words: L. Thorpe


Chester racecourse – also known as the Roodee – is one of the oldest racecourses in the world. Around 330,000 people visit fixtures and events every single year. 

The Chester Cup is the highlight of the year at the course, and is a big deal in the British racing calendar. Here’s everything you need to know, including what to wear to Chester races.



2024 Chester Races dates

There are racing events throughout the year at Chester racecourse. The much-anticipated Boodles May Festival Chester Cup Day is one of the biggest events of the year, taking place over a three-day period in May (8th – 10th). It covers Trials Day, Ladies Day and the Chester Cup Day. 

The race schedule typically includes a mix of flat racing and attracts guests from all over the world, who want to look the part. Can’t make it in person? It’s usually broadcast on TV, and you can bet on the winning horses without attending.


The history of Chester races

Chester Races date back to the early sixteenth century, making Chester racecourse one of the oldest in the world. The origins of racing in Chester can be traced to the reign of Henry VIII, with the first recorded race taking place in 1539 on what is now known as the Roodee, the official racecourse.

Over time, events have become more formalised and it’s an important part of Chester’s rich heritage and cultural history. Plus, it’s a great day out to enjoy and get dressed up for alongside thousands of other spectators.

What to wear to Chester races

When it comes to dress code, Chester Races is less formal than the likes of Ascot, but dressing up is still very much part of the day.

Racegoers are encouraged to wear something smart, with men required to wear a well-tailored suit or blazer, collared shirt, smart trousers and a tie in the more formal areas such as the Parade, 1539 Roof areas and hospitality areas. Jeans, trainers, shorts, fancy dress and sportswear aren’t allowed in these areas.

If there’s extreme weather on the day these dress codes are a little more relaxed, and this is usually announced over the PA or tannoy on the day.

The County Concourse, Tattersalls Enclosure and The Roodee areas of the racecourse are more casual. So if you’re more comfortable dressing in a relaxed way – think chinos, printed shirts and less structure – then these areas might be for you. However, for the May Festival, it’s back to the smarter dress code of the more formal areas.

The racecourse recommends that you dress for the weather on the day, so we’ve put together a guide on what to wear at the races (whatever the weather) to help you out too.