If you talk to somebody who doesn’t know where Fakenham is, they’ll probably still have heard of its racecourse and it’s absolutely synonymous with the town. Fakenham Racecourse’s steeplechase events began as long ago as 1905, with just a single meeting at Easter being held every year until the war interrupted things. By the mid 60′s, hurdle racing had been introduced, annual meetings had increased to five and the site had been developed with a golf course and community sports facilities on adjoining land. These days, the course’s increased popularity means there are many National Hunt meetings during the season – take a look at this year’s list on our page here.
In 2002, the racecourse unveiled its new £1m facility, The Prince of Wales Stand, opened by His Royal Highness in March that year. This impressive structure, which took the place of the 1950′s grandstand, provides an attractive focal point for the course and some well-appointed facilities for mambers and racegoers, including a bar and restaurants which overlook the course and parade ring. Current hospitality doesn’t end there, of course. In the enclosures, racegoers are treated to a choice of food and refreshment, including a shellfish bar, a burger & bacon bar and even a hog roast as well as more traditional catering.
Horse racing in this area has benefited from much Royal patronage over the years. Her Majesty the Queen was Patron of Fakenham Racecourse for nearly fifty years before handing over to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 2000. Fakenham was reputedly a favourite venue of the late Queen Mother, who visited the racecourse in her 100th year.
Fakenham Racecourse provides an ideal environment for corporate entertainment. Three private boxes each have a capacity for 20 guests and can be combined to provide a single hospitality space for 60. Private marquees cater for larger groups from 24 to 300 guests. The facilities prove to be a popular venue for functions too, with private hire available for parties and wedding receptions as well as seminars and business meetings. Holiday accommodation is available at the course and there’s also an adjoining caravan and camping site, which makes the racecourse an ideal spot to base a Norfolk activity holiday. The coast is just a few miles away and a Sports Centre is right on the doorstep, with a 9-hole golf course, tennis, squash, archery, smallbore shooting and indoor bowls.
Each November, the racecourse is transformed into the centre of the entire town’s entertainment, as it hosts the annual Firework display, organized by Fakenham’s Chamber of Trade. Thousands of local visitors flock to the course for what is usually a spectacular evening which supports local charities and takes advantage of the excellent facilities on offer.
Photos by kind permission of Fakenham Racecourse.