The Return of Easter at Plumpton Racecourse

This April, Plumpton Racecourse will open its doors to the public for their flagship Easter Festival meeting for the first time since 2019, much to the delight of Plumpton staff and the local community.

This April, Plumpton Racecourse will open its doors to the public for their flagship Easter Festival meeting for the first time since 2019, much to the delight of Plumpton staff and the local community.

Located in the picturesque East Sussex countryside at the foot of the South Downs, Plumpton is best known to Sussex residents for the festival, which this year takes place on Easter Sunday 17th April and Easter Monday 18th April.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Easter Festival was cancelled in 2020 and was run behind closed doors in 2021, so those who are used to spending their Easter at Plumpton will be returning this year after three years away from the track.

Plumpton have been welcoming racegoers back through the gates since September, but nothing compares to the spectacle of the Easter Festival, where a bumper crowd of around 5,000 people each day are expected to attend.

I have to say I’m really looking forward to it,” says Dan Thompson, Chief Executive of Plumpton Racecourse. “I think throughout this season we’ve had a fantastic atmosphere for each fixture. Maybe a little subdued around Christmas with the Covid numbers, but apart from that there’s been a real buzz and it’s actually been really busy.

With double the attendance of a standard fixture on the Easter days and the same sort of ethos from the crowd, it’s going to be a massive buzz, especially for the big races.

You’re going to see people enjoying themselves, plenty of entertainment, hopefully kids wanting to come back, and I don’t think I or any of the staff here can wait to have our big days back and running again.”

For those who have not attended Plumpton Racecourse’s Easter meeting before, alongside seven exciting races there is a whole host of family entertainment suitable for all ages. On site there will be a funfair, live music, pony rides, face painting, an easter egg giveaway plus many more games and activities for racegoers to enjoy between races.

Thompson explains why Easter is so important for Plumpton Racecourse, but also for the local community:

The Easter Festival is massive for Plumpton, both for its standing in the community – because it’s everybody’s two days; you can’t meet anyone in East Sussex who’s not been here for a picnic at Easter or beyond – and in terms of the racing, as we’ve actually got our two most valuable races at Easter: the Sussex Champion Hurdle and Sussex Champion Chase at £50,000 each. 

It’s by far our biggest footfall of the season, so it means an awful lot, and it’s a meeting that so many of the local racing fans look forward to.

It’s a massive family event and I think because kids go free it’s a huge incentive for people to make it a proper family day out. There are lots of options, from having a hospitality box for yourself to just bringing a picnic and settling down on a blanket in the middle of the course with the kids. So, you can come in any way, shape or form, as racing is for everybody.”

The Sussex Champion Hurdle and Sussex Champion Chase attract some of Britain’s best racehorses and jockeys to East Sussex, which creates a brilliant buzz around the track. Last year, the two feature races were won by Britain’s top two trainers – Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson with Diego Du Charmil and Pistol Whipped respectively – showing the prestige in which these races are held.

There’s some quality racing on show. Both days have over £100,000 in prize money to attract some nice horses, and the atmosphere will be amazing,” Thompson says. “5000 people, lots of kids entertainment, tipsters, music – there’s just a bit of everything going on and it creates a festival atmosphere that everyone seems to enjoy and come back for year on year.”

When asked what he is most looking forward to about this year’s Easter Festival, Thompson replies: “It will just be nice to have people back for Easter, and I think they feel the same after having two Covid years where Easter has been cancelled. Meet-ups and family reunions can now be held on that day, whereas they haven’t previously. This year, hopefully it will be the same old Easter for everyone at Plumpton – an enjoyable family day out.”

Tickets for the Easter Festival at Plumpton Racecourse are on sale from £15 at, and accompanied under-18s race free.

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