Royal Epsom Derby

Aerial view of Epsom

Aerial view of Epsom

First run in 1780, the Epsom Derby (pronounced dɑː’ bi / dar-be) is a contest for three-year-old colts and fillies run over a mile and a half. Traditionally, the contest started on a Wednesday, but during the 1990s it was moved to Saturday, as it was thought that more people could attend as the days when Parliament was adjourned and the stock market closed in order for people to attend are no more.

This year, the event takes place on the 5th and 6th of June.

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family still attend and watch the racing from the Royal Box. For those who have admission to the Queen’s Stand, morning dress for the men and smart day dress with hats for women is required. For everyone else, jackets, ties/skirts and dresses are the protocol.

Part of Epsom’s Derby’s charm is the alternative style of dress of the gypsies and pearly kings and queens over on the downs (think of that scene in Mary Poppins). There is also still a funfair and many people arrive in open-topped buses.

Membership and entry requirements need to be checked early with Epsom racecourse and early booking is, like with many events, strongly advised.

NB: Although some call this type of event ‘horse-racing’, those in the know refer to it as ‘racing’.

If you are still in any doubt as to the event’s protocol or what to wear, please do feel free to reply to this blog with any questions you may have. Alternatively, please visit our main website for more information:

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

4 Responses to “Royal Epsom Derby”

  1. 1 Stephanie R. 31 May 2009 at 5:33 am

    Hello, I was reading your information about attending the Derby. I’m an American and will be attending this year. I see that there is an entrance fee for the new Grandstand, and there is an additional fee for a “reserved” seat. I’m confused. Does this mean that if you only buy a ticket for entrance that you won’t have any kind of seat? Would this mean that the only times you could sit down would be while eating in one of the restaurants? Any information you can provide about this would be greatly appreciated. I fly to London on the morning of June 1!

  2. 3 Brian F 2 June 2009 at 6:04 am

    Good Morning, I will be attending the English Derby this year, sadly I do not have access to a morning suit and intend to wear a lounge suit.

    I am an annual badge member, but would lack of said attire preclude me from the Epsom Queens Stand?

    Many Thanks


  3. 4 William Hanson 2 June 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Morning dress or full service uniform dress are obligatory for The Queen’s Stand on Derby Day. On Ladies Day (Friday), a lounge suit can be worn. Hope this helps.

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