The weekender's guide to Newmarket
Words by Kate Evans
Famed for horseracing, Newmarket has plenty to offer equine fans, but there’s much more besides – two days is easily filled exploring this historic region and enjoying its welcoming hotels and restaurants.
The must-sees in Newmarket
Newmarket is world-famous for its horseracing – initiated by Charles II back in 1665 – and now has two racecourses: the Rowley Mile and the July Course. Races begin in April, with a number of hospitality and dining packages to choose from.
The Discover Newmarket exhibition takes you behind the scenes of the racing action: the Jockey Club Rooms, Tattersalls auction house, the trainers’ yards and the National Stud. Tours start from £11.
In the remains of Charles II’s palace, Palace House is now the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art. In addition to the art gallery you can explore the National Horseracing Museum and a Retraining of Racecourses exhibition.
The essential Newmarket experiences
Newmarket’s Racecourse is also an ideal venue for big-name music events, and this summer plays host to Nile Rodgers and CHIC on Saturday 8 June, Madness on Friday 21 June, the Kaiser Chiefs on Friday 28 June, and Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra on Friday 2 August.
High Street Clock Tower
Originally built for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, the clock tower was paid for by donations from residents, and was officially opened in 1890. It’s still wound by hand every week, which takes 115 turns.
Explore the National Trust walking trails around this landmark, a natural 100-metre-deep valley that runs 7 miles from Reach to Woodditton. It was created when the Ice Age ended and rivers formed across Sussex, and was an important defensive location during the Iron Age.
Where to eat in Newmarket
Cheap and cheerful
If you’re in need of a rest stop while exploring the town, head to Nancy’s Tea Shop for a delicious sandwich and cake in a traditional setting. Or try the Waggon & Horses on the High Street for pub grub – including proper cooked breakfasts to start your day, or a filling roast dinner on Sundays. If you’re visiting the National Stud pop into the new Wavertree’s Coffee Shop for sustenance.
The Greyhound and Twenty One restaurant in Wickhambrook was completely refurbished in 2011 and is now dog-friendly, offering delicious locally sourced meals including vegan options. The Rose and Mango is one of Newmarket’s top-rated restarants, serving Indian cuisine from Kerala; choose between the main menu or the tasting menu.
Just a few miles from Newmarket is the Packhorse Inn in Moulton, proud recipient of numerous awards including 3 AA Rosettes – they offer both traditional pub food or more adventurous modern cuisine.
Where to drink in Newmarket
Try the Greyhound (home of the Twenty One restaurant listed above) for an extensive choice of wine and cocktails and two large gardens for sunny days, or visit the Anchor in Burwell for unpretentious craft ales and a great selection of gin and rum, plus generous portions of delicious food. On the High Street pop into The Bull to watch sport and enjoy music on weekend evenings. The New Wellington is run by a father-and-daughter team, boasting a pool room, sports on TV and events including quiz nights and karaoke.
Where to stay in Newmarket
Treat yourself to a stay at the Bedford Lodge Hotel, a converted 16th-century hunting lodge, set in three acres of rose gardens; the 4-star hotel has an award-winning restaurant as well as a spa. The 3-star Rutland Arms Hotel also boasts rich history; the former coaching house in the town centre. Or try the dog-friendly 3-star Rosery Country House Hotel, a short drive from Newmarket in the village of Exning, where the restaurant in the large conservatory overlooks the grounds.