Built in the remains of Charles II sporting palace and racing stables the National Heritage Centre at Palace House promises to be a great day out!
The heritage of Newmarket and the racehorse have been linked since James I and his Court stopped in the town for hunting and hawking in 1604. Today Newmarket is the undisputed ‘Headquarters’ of flat racing with two renowned racecourses which attract more than 350,000 racegoers, trainers, owners, breeders and agents every year.
The town has been home to the Jockey Club since the 1750s. There are over 2,500 horses in 80 training yards using the 2,800 acres of training grounds and gallops. There are over a 100 studs in the surrounding area. Horseracing in the UK is the second highest attended sport with over 6 million people attending race meetings in 2015.
The National Heritage Centre has gone from a dream to a drawing and then full-scale project – it can only have got so far thanks to terrific support from a huge range of people and organisations who all recognise the importance of Newmarket as the international centre for horseracing.Cllr Andy Drummond, Forest Heath Cabinet member for Health, Leisure and Culture
The Palace House site was bought by Forest Heath District Council (FHDC) in the early 1990’s as concern grew over the inappropriate development of the Grade II* listed building. Palace House had got into a perilous state having been unsympathetically rendered in cement before FHDC stepped in to save this gem of Newmarket’s royal history. Three charities – the National Horseracing Museum, the British Sporting Art Trust and the Retraining of Racehorses charity – have combined to bring this historic site back to life.
The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art celebrates the town’s status as an historic home of horseracing and sporting art. It will be at the heart of the community and transform the centre of the town. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Forest Heath District Council, Suffolk County Council, the Racing Industry (including the Jockey Club, Tattersalls, Weatherbys and the Racing Foundation) as well as many private trusts, foundations and individuals from the world of horseracing and beyond, the project is an important partnership between the public and private sectors.