South Lanarkshire racecourse gets tourism’s top accolade

An historic sporting venue has become one of only three Five Star racecourses in Scotland following a grading from VisitScotland.

Hamilton Park Racecourse, located on Bothwell Road in the South Lanarkshire town, was upgraded from Four Stars by the national tourism organisation’s Quality Assurance (QA) Scheme in recognition of its exceptional standards. The QA Scheme is a benchmark for quality across the tourism industry and operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors.

The venue, which has been a racing site since 1926, has recently invested £250,000 in a luxury upgrade for its hospitality boxes, with luxury fixtures, fittings and interiors, new  facilities and a revamp of the Owner and Trainer’s bar. This is following the impressive £800,000 refurbishment programme carried out last year.

Now boasting VisitScotland’s highest rating, the racecourse continues its ambitious plans to offer visitors the best experience possible with work already underway to open a £10m hotel in the summer of 2019. Offering 118 rooms, this new investment will create 20 new jobs and generate an additional £5.9m in annual visitor expenditure.

The town of Hamilton has a rich history of horse racing with the first race taking place in 1782 at a site in Chatelherault, situated just outside the town. The current site has made a lot of history of its own, most notably when it became the first racecourse in Scotland to stage an evening meeting in 1947, something that is now common place throughout the industry.

Vivien Currie, Chief Executive of Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “We’ve held 4 stars for over 10 years and have been working towards this goal for some time, so are very proud to have achieved that aim..”

“This award acknowledges our continued investment and the holistic approach the team takes to the visitor and customer experience at Hamilton Park Racecourse.

“It is important to note that racedays account for around five percent of the year and we recently achieved our aim of holding an event at least 50 percent of the year. Hamilton Park Racecourse is not just a premier sporting venue, it is also one of the most sought after hospitality and conferencing facilities in the country.

“The efforts of the team were recently acknowledged when the venue was named the Best Small Racecourse in Scotland & The North by members of the Racegoers Club, and this award further demonstrates their hardwork and dedication.”

Jim Clarkson, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “Congratulations to Hamilton Park Racecourse for this outstanding achievement. A huge amount of time, effort and investment has been put into developing the venue and this accolade is a testament to the hard work put in by the whole team here.

“Our Quality Assurance Scheme is world-leading and provides a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. It is about much more than just a star rating – it is about the entire visitor experience and investing in the business to make it as economically sustainable, and profitable, as it can be.”

VisitScotland star awards are indicators of quality and provide reassurance to visitors. The national tourism organisation offers support to businesses to ensure they meet and exceed the high standards expected by visitors.

Hamilton Park received particular praise for the warmth of the staff, excellent levels of cleanliness across the site and the high standards set for welcoming visitors to the venue.

For more details about the Quality Assurance Scheme and the VisitScotland Information Partner programme go to