From Glyndebourne to Glastonbury - A social calendar for the 21st century
The Investec Derby Festival, Epsom
31 May, 2013 - 01 June, 2013
Epsom Downs, Surrey
The Investec Derby Festival held annually at Epsom Downs Racecourse is one of the most famous and iconic events in both the sporting and social calendars. Ladies' Day opens this prestigious Festival on the Friday, conjuring up images of style, sophistication and socialising.
It is followed, on the Saturday, by Derby Day, featuring The Investec Derby. Last year, The Queen began the Jubilee Central Weekend of celebrations by attending Derby Day.
In 1780 the 12th Earl of Derby organised a race for himself and his friends to run their three-year-old fillies over a mile. The title of the race was decided after the Earl of Derby and his friend and fellow racing enthusiast Sir Charles Bunbury flipped a coin. In 1784 the course was extended to its current distance of a mile-and-a-half.
On Ladies' Day (Friday 31 May) the finest fillies battle out the finish for the Investec Oaks. Off the course, the fashion stakes are high as ladies compete to win the coveted Style on the Downs competition. Elaborate headwear and colourful dresses are the norm.
The Investec Derby is always held on the first Saturday in June at Epsom Downs Racecourse, and many consider it the greatest flat race in the world, with over 100,000 people attending. The day features seven competitive races held over the unique and challenging Epsom Downs racecourse.
There is a great range of enclosures at Epsom, from the prestigious Queen's Stand to the Tattenham Picnic Area and The Hill, where spectators can relax and eat al fresco. The Duchess's Stand offers a relaxed atmosphere, plenty of bars and good sight lines, but dress codes do apply. Within the Duchess's Stand on both days of the Derby Festival smart casual clothes (jacket, collared shirt) are encouraged. Ladies do not have to wear a hat but the majority do.