Top Tips For The Races Ahead of the Punchestown Festival

Now we're just praying this sun sticks around!

Andres Poveda

Celebrities, style icons and racing fans will descend on Kildare next week to enjoy the spectacles on and off the racecourse as the Punchestown Festival kicks off.

Made in Chelsea star Rosie Fortescue, Dancing with the Stars finalist Anna Geary, fashion journalist Triona McCarthy, RTÉ’s Bláthnaid Treacy, Aoife Walsh, Sybil Mulcahy and PJ Gibbons will all be judging the prestigious 2018 Bollinger Best Dressed Lady Competition at the festival.

Their chosen winner of the 2018 Bollinger Best Dressed Lady Competition at Punchestown will receive a VIP trip for two taking in the Bollinger Estate, Reims and Paris complete with private chauffeur, Michelin-starred dining and luxury accommodation, not to mention a year’s supply of Bollinger!

Michael Chester

Each of the finalists will also receive a luxury goodie bag filled with luxurious treats including Topflight vouchers, race day tickets, Cocoa Brown Tanning gifts and much more!

So ahead of racing week, we’ve put together some top tips for you to make the most of your day at the fun festival!

1. Prepare For The Weather

This could go either way! Have suncream and brollies ready to bring, there is just no telling what the weather will be like this time next week. but you don’t want to get caught out either way.

Check the weather forecast before you leave, pack appropriately and for the love of God don’t rely on instant tan if you’re wearing a white dress. Accidentally orange and white tie-dye is NOT a look.

2. Don’t Waste Time Queuing

You’ll be having so much fun that the day will fly by, so don’t get caught out queueing at ATMs in Punchestown all day with the 125,000 other punters enjoying the festival.

Get your cash out beforehand, overestimate how much you’ll need and then sit back and be smug while you’re sorted as your friends sprint to try and get cash between races.

3. Arrive On Time

Michael Chester

With the craic’ going 90, the clock will be going as fast as the horses, so make the most of your day by getting to Punchestown early.

Gates open at 12 noon every day, and women who wish to be considered for the title of 2018 Bollinger Best Dressed Lady should arrive no later than 1pm to give the judges ample time to admire your awesome outfit.

4. Stay Hydrated

If *crosses all limbs* it’s a scorcher for the Punchestown Festival, hydration will be KEY!

Days by the racetrack are long ones so be sure to offset your alcoholic beverages with a bottle of water to avoid sunstroke (wishful thinking), or at least to lessen the effects the next day.

5. Book Ahead 

Local pubs and hotels will be hopping long after the last race, so be sure you don’t get shafted with nowhere to go and nowhere to stay.

Booking ahead for hotels and tables wherever you choose to go out after you’ve finished partying in Punchestown will save you a lot of stress so don’t leave it last minute.

Now that you’re armed with top tips, it’s time to get outfit planning – which brings us to our next point.

6. Dress To Impress

Michael Chester

Although there’s no specific dress code for Punchestown, it would be rude not to get all glammed up.

However, make sure the outfit you pick is actually comfortable, as it is a long day after all.

And for those ladies looking to really impress, and perhaps win the Best Dressed Lady prize, you simply have to have the hat for the occasion.

Fascinators are all the rage at the races, and personally, we think the bolder, the better!

7. Be Prepared For Anything

Michael Chester

Packing for the inevitable is our motto, and by this we literally mean packing spare tights and comfortable shoes.

You can never be too prepared when it comes to race day, and trust us – you’ll be glad of those flats in your handbag once it hits 6pm!

So for your handbag, it’s always ideal to have a pair of handy little flats, plasters, spare tights (if it gets very chilly), makeup (for touch ups), mini perfume, nail/eyelash glue, and a comb.

© Michael Chester

The Punchestown Festival takes place from Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th of April 2018.

Tickets and are available at or by calling +353 (0)45 897704.

Prices start from as little as €30pp with concessions for groups, seniors and students.

The famous Punchestown hospitality package range is available from just €129pp. For all things Bollinger Best Dressed Lady at Punchestown follow @punchestownraces #BBD18.