How to celebrate Royal Ascot in lockdown this weekend

Saturday marks the climax of the horse racing event of the year - fascinators at the ready.
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  • It’s been an unusual summer so far to say the least, with big events, festivals, concerts and gatherings postponed until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    But while the events landscape may look very different this year, that’s not to say that organisers haven’t done a sterling job in offering an at-home alternative – and Royal Ascot is no exception. 

    The biggest horse racing event of the year – and undoubtably the best place for royal-spotting – cumulates with Saturday’s race meeting. This is the first time in Royal Ascot’s 250+ year history that the sporting event has taken place behind closed doors. 

    But while spectators aren’t invited in person to visit Royal Ascot, the races are still live streaming all week – and there are plenty of ways to get involved at home.

    Royal Ascot live streaming: where to watch Royal Ascot at Home

    Royal Ascot At Home will be available to view on ITV Racing and Sky Sports Racing from Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th June 2020.

    All races from all days will be available on Sky Sports Racing.

    ITV1 will broadcast from Ascot from 1:30pm each day (race two onwards and race three onwards on Saturday).

    What time are the races on at Royal Ascot 2020?

    Racing will begin at 1.15pm Tuesday to Friday and 12.40pm on Saturday, with the final race at 4.40pm. 

    How can you celebrate Royal Ascot in lockdown? 

    There are loads of resources on the Royal Ascot at Home hub, to help get you started. When it comes to enjoying a day at the races there are three vital ingredients – the outfit, the decor and the food (and champagne, of course!)

    The outfits 

    Racing enthusiasts aren’t letting a little thing like social distancing get in the way of getting dressed up for the big event.

    Throughout this week, people have been posting their outfits on Instagram with #StyledWithThanks.  Ascot has invited fans across the globe to dress up and wear a hat as part of the racecourse’s wider Royal Ascot At Home campaign before sharing a photo on social media using the campaign hashtags #StyledWithThanks and #RoyalAscot.

    royal ascot at home

    Left to right: Stephanie Waxberg, Rene MacDonald, Nazer Bullen, Awon Golding

    All participants are being encouraged to donate £5 to the campaign fundraising page and prizes will be given for the most Elegant, Original and Uplifting outfits across the week with a panel of expert industry judges, including Stephen Jones and Caroline Rush of the British Fashion Council, selecting the winners.

    Royal racing enthusiast Zara Tindall has also been getting involved with husband Mike, her stylist Annie Miall posting a picture of the couple dressed up to the nines on Instagram.

    Annie captioned the picture, ‘Day 1 of Royal Ascot and Zara and Mike Tindall are all dressed up ready for their ‘at home’ interview with @itvracing discussing all things @ascotracecourse 🏇 Zara looking so stunning in a bespoke @juliettemillinery hat paired with a beautiful @beulahlondon dress and @emmylondonofficial shoes 🥂 #styledwiththanks🌈 #royalascot #millinery #britishbrand #fashion #stylist #racingstyle’

    MORE: Zara Tindall reveals how the Queen is spending Royal Ascot this year

    woman&home reader Hazel Morfitt is looking forward to getting dressed up on Saturday, though for the first time in her race-going history, she won’t be wearing a new dress for the event.

    “Normally I would have bought something new and had a trip to London booked with my sister Viv to do just that, but this was the day before lockdown, so in the end it was cancelled and I’ve nothing new to wear,” she told w&h. “Whatever I do wear though will be accompanied by a hat! Carl, my husband, is getting his top hat out for Saturday too.”

    The decor 

    Roses are the flower of choice for Royal Ascot. “The Queen Anne Rose was named to celebrate the tercentenary of Ascot Racecourse, which was founded by Queen Anne in 1711. This beautiful rose is planted all along the track, in front of the Grandstand, and around the south side of the Parade Ring,” said head gardener Jeremy Lockwood.

    If you’d like to get into the spirit of things by planting some hanging baskets, the vessel of choice for Royal Ascot blooms, Jeremy has devised a special guide for how to plant hanging and wall-mounted baskets

    Of course planting takes time – so in the mean time why not treat yourself to a beautiful rose bouquet to display in the house tomorrow. Check out our guide to the best flower delivery services – with florists like Bloom & Wild offering free next-day delivery. 

    You can also download a children’s activity pack, which we think looks pretty entertaining for adults too. In this you’ll find resources for making a DIY top hat and floral paper hat, as well as plenty of quiz ideas.

    The food and drink 

    You can find a wealth of recipes on the Royal Ascot At Home hub, with tips on how to recreate signature Ascot dishes such as Raymond Blanc OBE’s Confit of Salmon, James Tanner’s Sea bass and Gnocchi or Eric Lanlard’s Rum Cake. There are also plenty of cocktail ideas…

    If you want to keep things simple, champagne and afternoon tea is always a winning combination.

    MORE: Zara Tindall channels Duchess Catherine as she celebrates Royal Ascot in lockdown

    w&h reader Hazel will be opting for this option. “I’ve ordered a Royal Ascot Afternoon tea which is arriving on Friday so the plan (weather permitting)  is to set our portable picnic table up in the garden and have this with some champagne whilst watching the racing live. We’ll also be having on online flutter or two.

    “When is comes to gambling, I say don’t listen to tips and pick your own, whether because you like the name, colours or the jockey as I normally find this works best for me.

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