Whether you're single, loved-up, planning a proposal or celebrating your Golden Wedding Anniversary, make the most of what the Valentine’s weekend has to offer, with fabulous racing-themed gifts, opportunities and days out:
Why a day at the races makes a great Valentine’s Day treat
Whether you’re in an established couple, on a first date or out with friends, a day at the races provides you with:
- A set itinerary – so everyone knows what to expect, and there’s always something to see and do
- All-day action – so you will never run out of things to talk about
- Something for all levels – go posh or go casual, eat in a restaurant or simply grab drinks in a bar; you can tailor your day to suit
- Something men enjoy as much as women
- A great atmosphere – it’s readymade so there’s nothing you need to do other than show up!
Racing Valentine’s gifts
Whether you're planning something special or simply love to go racing, here are some fun Valentine's weekend suggestions:
- Present a surprise gift! A silent auction with fabulous prizes up for grabs will be open to all racegoers during totesport Super Saturday (Saturday 11 February) at Newbury Racecourse. The auction is to raise funds for Walking With The Wounded and features a private riding lesson with former World Equestrian Gold medalist Zara Tindall (nee Phillips) and a meet and greet with QPR and Scotland striker Jamie Mackie, a shirt signed by Jamie as well as two tickets to a premiership match at Loftus Road. For information and tickets 01635 40015 or newbury-racecourse.co.uk.
- Bring your loved one, bring a friend, or come on your own and enjoy a day at the races – that’s the message from Exeter Racecourse which is offering two tickets for just £10 at its Valentine’s Sunday meeting on Sunday 12 February. And for the first 500 racegoers through the gate there’s a free chocolate too. Tickets must be pre-booked by calling the hotline 0844 5793005 or booking online at Exeter-racecourse.co.uk and quoting LOVEEXETER.
- Find your dream date! Hereford Racecourse is hosting a day of Romance at the Races on Sunday 12 February with tickets from £14 when booked in advance or £25 for two people... however, if you don't yet have a date for the day, you can book a Speed Dating Ticket which includes your entry ticket plus access to the private speed dating suite, a glass of bubbly and the chance to meet the love of your life! Book now, places limited – www.hereford-racecourse.co.uk
- For the day itself... Ayr Racecourse's annual Valentine's Raceday on Tuesday 14 February features some great racing with a touch of romance added! Why not come along to the races and enjoy a glass of bubbly! See www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk for further information.
- And if you can’t make it to the races on Valentine’s Day, why not buy tickets for the races another time – Redcar Racecourse offers Gift Vouchers (see www.redcarracing.co.uk), or all courses offer tickets in advance (many offer special discounts and packages for advance bookings).
Simple tricks to make the most of your treat
As well as making sure you know where you are going, there are several ways you can make the most of your visit:
- Consider upgrading your tickets to include a meal
- Buy your partner a racecard when you arrive so you can keep track of what’s on when throughout the day
- Provide a betting budget and invite your partner to make the selections
- Follow the ‘circuit ritual’ for at least one race so you sample every aspect of the racing experience
- Wear layers and comfortable shoes to avoid wardrobe malfunctions (and therefore early home-time)
Presentation is everything!
- How to get seductive Valentine's lips – top tips for the perfect pout.
- Create a classic and feminine look for Valentine's Day – your step-by-step make-up guide.
- Bottle it! What better way to declare your love than with a good old-fashioned message in a bottle? SIGG's bottle designs for Valentine’s Day feature a big heart for a blatant declaration! www.sigg.com.
For seriously special couples
If you’re planning something a Bit Special for Valentine’s Day (or indeed any romantic milestone) here's how you could really mark the occasion:
- Sponsor a race in your loved one’s name – such as the E.b.f. Harry & Doreen Chapman Golden Wedding Anniversary Maiden Stakes and the Caroline Louise Will You Marry Me Maiden Stakes that took place at Pontefract. Prices start from £500 (www.pontefract-races.co.uk or www.stratfordracecourse.net) or £750 (www.towcester-racecourse.co.uk) for example and packages include presenting winners with their prize and choosing the Best Turned Out winner.
- Propose to your sweetheart on the special white ‘lovers’ bench (made for this purpose – see picture, top) at Newbury. To ensure your proposal is truly romantic, Newbury Racecourse can organise everything from champagne and flowers, to personal announcements and photographs – visit newbury-racecourse.co.uk or call 01635 40015.
- Book a table or hospitality box/suite to invite friends and family as your guests for your surprise announcement
- Place an advertisement in the racecard (e.g. containing your marriage proposal or announcing your wedding anniversary etc – prices start from £75 for a half page ad at Towcester www.towcester-racecourse.co.uk)
- Book a hospitality suite at the racecourse for a surprise raceday wedding!
If you decide to pop the question:
Wincanton Racecourse is offering all couples who get engaged on Valentine’s Day (14 February) or on Leap Year Day (29 February) a half price reduction on room hire.
Half price room hire is valid for all 2012 bookings with the option to get married at a later period. Room hire is based in the number of guests present with an original price of £5 per head. The half price saving will give romantic couples the opportunity to invite more guests for free!
Engaged couples are invited to contact the Racecourse Office on 01963 32344 with their news or can use the various social media sites to display their newly betrothed status. (Twitter: @WincantonRaces; Facebook: Wincanton Races).
Sales Executive, Emma Nuttall, explains: “Wincanton Racecourse is an amazing picturesque location to host a wedding or celebratory party. The endless Somerset views leave a lasting impression and our civil ceremony license is a real bonus.
“We look forward to hearing from newly engaged couples.”
For those who HATE luvvy-dovey stuff (or are looking for something different)
Head down to Wolverhampton Racecourse on Saturday 11 February for an evening of horseracing followed by live music from Bootleg Abba!
Singing all of their greatest hits, you will certainley think that Anni-Frid, Björn, Benny and Agnetha are in the room. More at www.wolverhampton-racecourse.co.uk
If you prefer to enjoy Valentine's on your own or with a bunch of friends, there's still plenty of fun to be had!
- Book in for a betting lesson: our daily tipster Tony Ward can explain the betting process and offer expert tips for you and your friends during a day at the races – and get £25 discount with Eclipse.
- Pamper yourself with a makeover: who needs Gok when you can spend a day with fashion guru and personal stylist Karen Grace?
- Take the plunge: sign up for our Racing Hearts to find new dates and mates!
Whatever you decide, we hope you enjoy your day and if you didn’t manage to organise the special extras this year – there’s always next year!