How the Epsom Derby puts Surrey on the map

PUBLISHED: 09:14 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:14 30 May 2018

While Manchester reigns in the world of football and London hosts the greatest competition in tennis, The Epsom Derby draws a spotlight upon Surrey.

As soon as we reach the first of June, thousands of Brits flood to Surrey. A large proportion of those travellers go to enjoy Epsom as total novices, seeing the racecourse as an event and destination rather than a sporting attraction.

Come one, come all

Last year more than 150,000 people made the journey to the racecourse, which provides more than 1,800 jobs to Epsom residents while the 14 races are on.

The financial benefits brought to Epsom and Surrey through the tickets sold at Epsom Downs make it worthwhile to the surrounding area. But tickets can be hard to find, and there are other ways to enjoy the racing away from the sidelines. The Hill is free to the general public, and has been for the past two centuries. It might lack the energy of being inside Epsom Downs itself, but The Hill has its own perks, including market stalls, a picnic area, live music, and a fairground atmosphere. It’s been jokingly called ‘Poundland Hill’ in the past because it is completely free but massively fun in equal measure. Ticketless families of all sizes and ages travel to Surrey for this reason alone - some with no interest in the sport of horse racing. It might be less beneficial to the county than paying to get into the racecourse but it’s a fantastic way to spread the word.

Financially proactive and even better for morale

Back in 2012, some of the country’s top financial newspapers and magazines hailed the Epsom Derby as a way to beat the recession for the people of Surrey. This wasn’t just the ton of money generated by the festival, Surrey and the surrounding area, but also from an emotional point of view, as a light-hearted form of entertainment to take everyone’s minds off what else is going on in the world. Epsom Downs was seen as a crucial place for bucking morale and injecting finances into a grassroots activity that’s celebrated as one of the UK’s greatest pastimes. The festival is one of the biggest sporting events in British history, and that is unlikely to change any time soon. 

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