CHESTER Racecourse will play host to the first family fixture of the racing calendar on Saturday, May 25, with the MBNA Roman Day.

Continuing the heritage theme, as the racecourse marks its 480th anniversary this year, the racecourse has linked up with the Chester Heritage Festival which will be staging a special launch event at the fixture, ahead of its festival programme from June 21-29. Racegoers can learn all about this year’s festival schedule and interact with festival representatives out on the Open Course.

To begin the day, a special gladiatorial procession led by Chester’s Mid-summer Watch Parade and comprised of a cast of Romans, puppets and volunteers will make their way down to the racecourse from Watergate Street at 12.30pm.

Once on site, the parade will make its way through each enclosure before ending at the Parade Ring. From the Parade Ring, Chester’s Town Crier will then declare the raceday open and the start to the Chester Heritage Festival launch underway.

Gates open from 11.30am and racegoers can expect plenty of extra entertainment out on the Open Course, as well as across the course. Racing begins at 1.45pm and there are seven races across the afternoon.

Free activities for children on the day include face painting, a giant colouring-in wall, Roman helmet making and mosaics, archery, giant games, petting zoo, giant slide, inflatable wrecking ball, handling Roman artefacts and trying on armoury.

Roman foot soldiers will also be on course and roaming throughout all enclosures, happy to pose for pictures during the afternoon and teach local Cestrians fascinating facts about their ancestors.

Elsewhere, live music will welcome racegoers at the entrance of the racecourse and on the revamped Pavilion Lawn. Open to Tattersalls ticket holders and above, this area has a selection of pop-up bars and live music throughout the afternoon.

For information and to purchase tickets online, visit or call 01244 304600.