There are three major horse racecourses in Wales. Harness racing meetings in Mid Wales and the west are as popular as ever, too, so you're never too far from a community of gallopers.
Chepstow Racecourse, Monmouthshire
Chepstow Racecourse is an undulating 270-acre course on the outskirts of a historical town. The first race meeting held in Chepstow was in 1926. Chepstow is within easy reach of the Severn Bridge that links Wales with England.
It's now best known for the annual Welsh Grand National. It's a landmark event in Wales' sporting calendar, taking place between Christmas and New Year. The event takes place on 27 December each year. It features the most recognisable owners, trainers and jockeys in jump racing. It's a great post-Christmas day out, with entertainment for all the family. Accompanied children under 17 go free.
Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse, Wrexham
Golfers will testify to the attraction of teeing up on an old links course in the footsteps of the pros. That’s not unlike the experience of a day’s racing at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse in the north east borders of Wales. There are 14 exciting jump racing fixtures each year there, on the banks of the River Dee.
The first steeplechase meeting was held there in February 1859 and the course has changed very little since then. Bangor-on-Dee is the only racecourse of its kind in the country without a grandstand, but don’t let that put you off. The visitors’ facilities are excellent and the sense of community associated with the course seems to remain as strong as ever.
Ffos Las Racecourse, Kidwelly
Ffos Las is a more recent addition to Wales' racing portfolio, but it has an equally colourful story to tell. The track was opened in 2009 on the former site of Europe's largest open cast coal mine. You’d ever know it by looking at it, though; the Carmarthenshire Gwendraeth Valley is now a picturesque rural setting for races.
The racing surface and the facilities are of a great standard. Interestingly, as it is close to two ports offering Irish ferry services, the course draws in many promising Irish horses and their supporters for flat racing and fence jumping.
Harness racing venues in Wales
As well as a host of colourful point-to-point events in Wales, another equine attraction is harness racing, also known as trotting. The oldest trotting meet in Wales is the Llangadog Races, which dates back to 1884. It has been held every Easter Monday since.
There are over 25 venues governed by the Wales and Border Counties Racing Association (WBCRA). You can find details of trotting courses and fixtures on the WBCRA website. The two-mile long Tir Prince Show Ground, on the north coast from Rhyl, hosts over a dozen harness races a year.