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Ascot’s £200-million redevelopment took place between September 2004 and June 2006.  Rod Sheard, Senior Principal of HOK Sport Architecture, led the team that designed the new Grandstand, with the intention of making it the best racecourse in the world.

The Design

Reflecting the brow of the hill on which it sits, the Grandstand curves down from a central high point towards each end, blending in with the surrounding landscape.  The curve ensures that the greatest concentration of activity is in the heart of the building, where the Parade Ring and Winning Post are located.

The Grandstand has an arc-shaped layout to offer everyone the best views of the track, bends, mile start, Winning Post, Windsor Great Park, views across London, and even the crowd itself.

The Facilities

  • The Galleria, which runs throughout, has boxes and viewing on the north or track-side, and restaurants and catering facilities on the south side.

  • The Parade Ring, with a viewing capacity of 8,000 is located behind the stand at the heart of the racecourse.

  • The Pre-Parade Ring and saddling boxes are located around the historic Totalisator building, where the stable block was originally built in 1878.

  • The Pavilion has been refurbished, with bars, betting facilities, a public library, the Parish Office and a meeting hall.

  • Shutters were removed from the former turnstile hall, allowing a view of the new Grandstand from Ascot High Street.

  • Exterior red brick walls and the Grade II-listed buildings on the perimeter have been renovated.

Hospitality and Catering Facilities

  •  247 private boxes, ranging from 10-seater boxes to one that can seat 80

  • Seven restaurants, supplemented during Royal Ascot by temporary facilities, including the Carriages, Bessborough and Sandringham Restaurants, along with the Old Paddock Chalets

  • 39 kitchens during Royal Ascot: 25 in the Grandstand, plus one for every two boxes


  • 130 full-time Ascot and Sodexo staff, rising to over 6,000 during Royal Ascot

The Structure

The Roof

Stunning but complex, the roof is a tubular steel structure supported on a series of columns.  Designed to replicate the surrounding countryside through these “structural trees”, the curve of the building means that each of the 54 roof trusses is unique.

The roof plays a large part in the natural ventilation of the Grandstand through a series of louvres.  These slatted metal strips are fitted across openings to allow air and light to enter the building, whilst also providing protection from the elements.


  • Approximately 10,000 square metres of glass bathe the interior in natural light

  • Diffusers attached to the inside of the roof dissipate the light and reflect it down into the Grandstand’s Galleria


  • Four main cores house all the lift shafts, cabling, air-conditioning, waste ducts and water

  • 700km of cabling and wiring are integrated into one central IT network

  • An underground supply road runs under the new Concourse Level, allowing service traffic to access the site almost unnoticed

Stairs, escalators and bridges

  • Eight staircases attached to the four Cores

  • Six primary circulation stairs in the Galleria

  • Six escape stairs at the ends of the Grandstand

  • 24 sets of escalators throughout

  • 40 bridges in the Galleria, connecting the North and South sides of the Grandstand

  • Five kilometres of balustrades


Two new underpasses ensure a continuous racing surface and improve the flow of traffic:

  • Winkfield Road Underpass: This two-lane 50-metre underpass has ended the 220-year history of the “Tan” road crossing, and allows the Straight Mile course to run uninterrupted seven metres above

  • Holloways Underpass: This three-lane Holloways Underpass runs under the track just before the home turn, allowing those parked on the Heath to exit during racing.