A busy little Suffolk market town just east of Cambridge, related to the Royal sport of horse racing. A large proportion of the town is employed in the equestrian industry, including tack and saddlery, paddocks, stud farms and veterinarian services.
Newmarket Gallops © Travel About Britain
Newmarket has been at the heart of British horse racing since the time of James I, when he used the nearby open heaths to test out his best mounts. He also began the practice of breeding thoroughbreds using imported Arab stallions and English mares. The first official race was held here in 1619 and the sport has been a favourite of English monarchs since. King Charles II enjoyed it so much that he resided here with his entire court during the summer.
Newmarket Museum © TAB
The headquarters of the Jockey Club moved here in 1752 (from the Star and Garter Inn in London), establishing the modern horse racing industry we know today. There are now thousands of horses training in and around the town and on it's two famous courses, the 'July Course' and the 'Rowley Mile'. The Rowley Mile course was named after a stallion belonging to Charles II.
Regular race meetings are held from April to October. Classic flat races include the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, both held in the spring.
The National Horseracing Museum in the High Street (next to the elegant red-brick Jockey Club), is particularly worth a visit. Exhibits include the skeleton of the famous racehorse Eclipse, along with famous racing silks, paintings and equine artifacts of all kinds. The museum shop sells racing prints, figurines and other memorabilia.
Many of the racing stables are also open to the public, including the National Stud on certain days. Guided tours are available of some of the studs, training stables and other racing landmarks in summer. Other attractions include autumn and winter horse sales and the occasional antiques fair.
Newmarket Jubilee Clock Tower © TAB
The town is grouped along its main High Street running northeast to southwest. A Victorian Jubilee Clock Tower stands at the northern end and the Cooper Memorial Fountain (1909) at the other. A small shopping area centres around the Market Square in between. Several fine Georgian houses and hotels line the main road, including the Rutland Arms Hotel. A 17th-c coaching inn with a Georgian redbrick frontage and an even older interior.The town is seen at its finest when approached from the Devil's Dyke, a large Anglo-Saxon earthworks running across the heath to the southwest. This six mile straight ditch and rampart dates back to the time of Queen Boudicca, who is also believe to have driven her chariots on the heath.