It's official - Ripon racecourse has been named one of the best in the country, and it's not the first time that the course has been awarded this prestigious accolade by national tourist board VisitEngland.
It's part of the Racecourse Association's Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme, and Ripon's course has been confirmed as one of the top 11 in England and Wales for race day experience.
Each racecourse is visited by a trained assessor from VisitEngland or VisitScotland, whose job is to objectively assess the race day experience.
And Racecourse Association Excellence Accolades were presented to the racecourses that achieved exemplary scores in specific areas of the assessments. Ripon's quality of customer service and club dining room were recognised with excellence accolades.
The managing director of Ripon racecourse, James Hutchinson, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have retained our place amongst the top racecourses to visit for the fourth year, and for the club restaurant to win an excellence accolade for the fourth consecutive year is a magnificent achievement.
"It is testament to our wonderful staff that we also won an excellence accolade for customer service, and we aim to do even better in 2019. A big well done to all the staff involved.”
The Racecourse Association's Brand & Experience Manager, Paul Swain, said: “the Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme is a much-valued offering from the RCA in that it provides an expert, objective assessment of the raceday experience. More importantly, the feedback and evidence generated help racecourses to improve this year on year which I am delighted to say has been reflected in the scores.
“Congratulations to the top 11 for 2018 in England and Wales and to the three racecourses in Scotland which have secured the top rating of five stars.”
Ripon racecourse's marketing manager, Jonathan Mullin, said: “For a small racecourse, it is a fantastic achievement to be recognised by Visit England as one of the top racecourses to visit.
"We do our best to provide a relaxed, friendly atmosphere for visitors to enjoy a day at the races. We believe customer service is a hugely important part of the raceday experience, so it is testament to our wonderful staff that we have won a customer service accolade.
"We will do all we can to improve the raceday experience again in 2019 and in doing so try to make sure we retain our place at the top table again”.
The top 11 racecourses, in alphabetical order: Aintree, Ascot, Beverley, Cheltenham, Chester, Newbury, Newmarket, Ripon, Uttoxeter, Wincanton and York.