Visitors Guide To Staying Safe At The Grand National
The Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events on the calendar, and with a big event comes a big crowd. Aintree Racecourse can provide an excellent day out for horse racing fans and those who just want to enjoy the spectacle of the day, but to make sure you get the best experience in Liverpool, keeping safe needs to be made a priority.
With around 70,000 people visiting the course on Grand National Day, some coming from far and wide, while others are local enough to walk to the course, it is a very busy day in the area. Whether it’s your first National or you’re a seasoned veteran of the day, here’s our handy visitor’s guide to staying safe at the Grand National.
Plan Travel, Arrive Early and Allow Time for Delays and Cancellations
With so many people arriving via a wide range of methods, it is vital that you plan your travel. For some, travel by train is required, due to the distance they are travelling, while others, more local, may opt for buses, Merseyrail, taxis, or even walking to and from the course.
However you are going to arrive, expect it to be busy, and of course, this becomes even more important if you have a journey involving multiple legs of public transport. This is an event with a start time and a time when the gates open, so many people will be aiming to get to the course at roughly the same time, which only adds to the congestion. However expereince tells us that there is always a flow of crowds right up until 2.30pm , which is well into the races taking place.
The hope is that there are no cancellations on Grand National day, but these things do happen from time to time, so make sure you are prepared for them. Don’t leave it until the last possible train or bus up to the course, there will be plenty to do when you are there, so you don’t need to get there at the last minute.
A variety of additional buses and Merseyrail trains will be in operation during the busy periods, so there is going to be help for everyone who wants to get to the course.
The same applies coming back, a lot of people leave after the Grand National, and this is when the transport kicks into place to get back into Liverpool, so if it’s then or after the final race of the day, help will be on hand.
There will be large crowds in Liverpool city centre train stations therefore a tip is to move right down along the platform to enter the train – it is always busy directly at the entrance point to the platforms.
There are road closures directly outside the racecourse theefore you must bare this in min if driving. There are lots of car park websites that will enable you to book public and private spaces, however these will be expensive.
Look After Your Cash
In a world where card payments are becoming more and more frequent, cash is still a vital part of the day at Aintree because bookmakers take cash from punters for their bets, that said, more and more we are seeing independent bookmakers accept card payments, however their minimum bet is higher than in cash. The likelihood is that you will take a mixture of cash and card for your day, as bars, restaurants and other areas of the course will take card, while you will need cash for bets.
But given it is strange for some people to have cash now, you need to make sure you are extra careful with it. When paying for bets, collecting winnings or buying food and drink, make sure you keep your money safe.
At the races, people generally carry money in multiple pockets, so it is easily accessible, and if you are putting winnings back in your pocket, you want to keep hold of them. This could be having cash drop out of your pocket, or worse, you could be targeted by pickpockets on course, something that would completely ruin your day.
Don’t allow that to happen to you. Instead, look after your money, put it away safely, and, if possible, use a pocket that is not easily accessible, such as one with a zip or an inside pocket if you are wearing a jacket. For many people, carrying cash will be a rarity, so make sure you look after it and don’t give anyone the opportunity to ruin your day.
Make a Budget for the Day
Following on from cash, another critical aspect of keeping safe on Grand National day is to make sure you end things with money to get home. Make sure you have a budget for the day, as you will be out for a very long time, betting and drinking, and you need to make sure you have money for any plans you have after the races, as well as to get home.
For some people, this means keeping money to one side, perhaps in a wallet or purse or in another pocket, enough to get you home at the end of the day, so you know you don’t have to worry about that. However you do it, make sure you’ve got a plan in place, think about the amount of food and drink you will need to buy, how much your bets will cost, and make sure you know the cost of transport home.
Get this right, and you can spend what you like throughout the day without the worry of having to keep some back for your ride home or, worse, leaving yourself with no money to get home at the end of the day.
Stick to Main Transport Links and Roads
The final aspect of keeping safe at the Grand National is a couple of rules that should always be in place when you are getting home from a night or afternoon out. Make sure you stick to the main transport links, so use buses, Merseyrail or licensed taxis to get away from the racecourse after you have finished, and use those or trains if you are going further afield than Liverpool. Do not use an unmarked taxi or accept a lift from anyone you don’t know.
If you are walking for part of the way home, or are walking between transport, for example, from one station to a bus stop or between train stations, then make sure you take direct, main routes. Do not try and find a shortcut, walk down unlit roads or back alleys, regardless of whether you know where you are going or not.
Stay where you can see others, there will be a big crowd out, all looking to get home safely, and going off on your own could potentially put you in danger.