Nicola Harvey and friends enjoy a day at Bath Racecourse including a flutter on the horses and music from James Blunt

What could be better than a day at the races with friends and a little flutter on the horses? Not much, apart from seeing James Blunt giving his last concert of his two year world tour at the end of it! Part of the Bath Cup Festival, this special race day and evening had something for everyone.

It had been years since I’d been to the races, probably nearly 30 if we’re counting. I’m so glad we did! Bath racecourse is a great place to visit. Parking is easy, this atmosphere is welcoming and there are masses of places to eat, from a few cheeky freshly made doughnuts, through delicious fajitas to plenty of options for liquid refreshment including a good range of beer options in different inside bars and a mobile prosecco bar. Our grandstand tickets gave us access to most of them and a good view for the races.

Ryan Hiscott/JMP

We didn’t have to bet, of course, but there is nothing like even a minimum bet on a nicely named horse to give an extra edge to the experience and it’s even better when, like us, you end up a winner! Plenty of punters were more serious race goers and clearly knew their stuff when it came to the horses. The beauty of the experience is that whether it’s your first time, or your 50th, you’ll feel welcome and have a good giggle.

The weather was very kind to us, which of course was a bonus, but it was lovely to find a spot for our picnic blanket and settle in for the afternoon and evening. Once the last race was over, it was time for the music. And the tickets were reasonably priced so that even if you weren’t there for the full eight hours of entertainment, you’d have felt you’d had good value for money.

We enjoyed the support act, Tom Grennan, from our relaxed position at the side, but once it was getting dark and the main attraction took to the stage, we couldn’t help but get to our feet. Whether or not he’s your favourite, Mr Blunt is a really entertaining guy and there wasn’t really anyone standing still. He was as good between the songs as during them and despite a hugely diverse crowd, had everyone laughing and dancing.

Photo Ryan Hiscott/JMP

Of course, he played the most recognisable of his songs, Beautiful and Bonfire Heart among them, along with plenty more that might not have been quite as well known, but which were great nonetheless.

After a generously long set from James, we headed home, vowing we would return very soon, even without the music. With a couple of family fun days a year, plus numerous themed race days, we will be spoilt for choice.