Travelling to Royal Ascot this week may test racegoers’ ingenuity, with a dispute between South West Railway (SWR) and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) workers resulting in a five-day strike.
Here is a comprehensive guide of how to get to the course by air, train or road (depending on budget!).
Highflyers can arrive at Ascot by helicopter with Fresh Air. Ascot’s own website advertises shuttle helicopter as a “convenient and cost-effective solution to complete your Royal Ascot experience”, with services operated throughout the day from Fair Oaks, Surrey and White Waltham. It costs £225 one way per person or £450 return.
The pricier option is the chartered helicopter, starting from approximately £4,000. For more information, head to www.freshair-ascot.com.
Rail is still an option, albeit likely a crowded one, with queueing systems set to be in place at some stations. A reduced service is set to run, with four trains an hour from Waterloo to Ascot between 9am and 12pm.
From 12pm to 2pm, a pivotal commuting time for racegoers, there are three trains an hour departing from Waterloo. Four trains an hour are scheduled between 5pm and 8pm for those heading back to Waterloo.
Racegoers travelling to and from the Reading end of the line are similarly served, with slightly fewer trains scheduled in the aftermath of racing.
An extremely limited service will run between Ascot and Aldershot between 10am and 10pm, with one train every 70 minutes and replacement bus services operating outside of those hours. The last train will depart Ascot for Aldershot at 9.46pm.
Check https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/rmt-industrial-action as the train times vary at different hours of the day.
Ascot is opening extra car parks as it is expecting additional traffic, with cars and minibuses able to park in car parks 4, 5 or 8. Car parking costs £45 per car or £95 per minibus and is a cash only service. A limousine costs £235 to park on the day.
More racegoers are expected to travel to Royal Ascot by road
Car park 8 has the largest capacity and can be found following the blue route signs during the meeting, while it is also the recommended route for racegoers approaching the course from Windsor or the M4. If approaching from the M3, racegoers are advised to follow the green or orange route to car parks 4 and 5.
Travelling by coach is another option. It costs £90 to pay in coach park 10, £125 in coach park 6 and £140 in coach park 8C.
Royal enclosure and Queen Anne racegoers approaching from the south by taxi should be dropped at car park 3, while Windsor and Queen Anne racegoers approaching from any other direction by taxi should be dropped at car park 6.
A one-way taxi journey from Waterloo to Ascot will cost in excess of £70 for four people and approaching £100 for six people, while a journey from Reading station to Ascot will cost nearly £40 for four people and approaching £50 for six people. Prices returning after racing from Ascot are likely to be slightly higher.