How to plan the perfect New Year's Day race day at Musselburgh

Some 6000 adults and children are expected to celebrate the start of 2020 with a fabulous day at the races.

Promoted by Musselburgh Racecourse
Monday, 23rd December 2019, 3:11 pm
Picture: Musselburgh Racecourse

Tickets have been going fast for the Betway New Year’s Day raceday at Musselburgh Racecourse on January 1 – and organisers believe it will be a sell-out event.

The raceday at the five-star attraction, just six miles from Edinburgh, offers great entertainment for all the family with an exciting programme of seven horse races and total prize purse of £100,000.

Picture: Musselburgh Racecourse

On arrival, visitors will be treated to complimentary tasty bites, such as Scottish venison and blueberry chipolatas, Isle of Mull cheddar and foraged truffle doughnuts and Lochaber Smoked Cheese tartlets with damson plum.

The Bistro at the racecourse can take reservations for a sit-down meal and there will be an array of home baking and hot drinks on offer at Café 1816.

A variety of pop-up bars and mobile food outlets will keep queues to a minimum. Look out for favourite street food vendors such as Dog n Bon serving gourmet hot dogs and dirty fries, burgers from Well Hung and Tender and traditional Scottish gems from Street Food Haggis.

Boozy hot chocolate from the Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier will be popular, too, as well as “pigs in a poke”.

Where to drink

Visitors will also be spoilt for choice for drinks, in addition to the main racecourse bars, there will be a large bar in the Hogmaneigh Marquee, a Pimms Truck serving hot Pimms, a Pints and Prosecco bar and Edinburgh Gin Trailer, to name a few.

Mobile beer and bottle carts will roam the racecourse so that you are never far from a top up. For speed and efficiency, it’s a good idea to bring cash for purchases, although card sales are possible, too.

What else is happening?

In addition to all of the action on the racetrack, visitors can also enjoy live music from ceilidh band Kilter. Get involved in the ceilidh dancing between races in the Hogmaneigh marquee and racegoers can enjoy pre and post party entertainment with a live DJ set from the brilliant Funkwagon from their converted VW campervan

In addition, the event incorporates another thrilling race, The New Year Sprint. The sprint, which has been staged annually in Scotland since 1870, is a handicap running race over 110 metres for professional and amateur athletes.

How to get there

With gates opening at 10.30am and races starting at 12.30pm, it’s also advised that racegoers plan ahead for transport options. There are no train services on New Year’s Day but the racecourse has ample free parking, or you can make your arrival even easier by taking advantage of return bus services from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Note that ticket purchase is required for the buses on the Musselburgh Racecourse website.

Alternatively, the 124 bus service between Edinburgh and North Berwick is operating an hourly service

What to wear

Smart winter fashion is suggested with stylish hats, scarves and gloves that say “race day style” but also with careful thought about warmth.

Jade Holland Cooper, Founder of Holland Cooper gives her recommendations on what racegoers should wear this New Year’s Day.

“Race days can be long, so I like to be comfortable, warm and dry – especially on New Year’s Day. I would recommend layering up and wearing a Holland Cooper cape or full-length trench coat so that you can still look chic and no one can see what’s underneath, no matter how many layers. Complete the look with one of our Trilby hats, it will keep your hair intact should it rain and is the perfect race day accessory.”

Organisers are encouraging race goers to dress for the weather. While there are indoor facilities, heated marquees and a large covered outdoor arena, many people will be keen to get close to the action on the track and that means spending time outside.

Musselburgh have teamed up with Holland Cooper to give one lucky racegoer to the New Year’s Day race meeting the chance to win a private shopping session to the value of £500 at Holland Cooper, Multrees Walk.

All you need to do is take a photo of yourself or with friends at the New Year’s day event, share on social media and tag Musselburgh Racecourse and Holland Cooper with #NewYearsDayRaces to enter. Terms and conditions apply

To find out more and to buy New Year’s Day raceday tickets, see