The National Heritage Centre is situated in the remains of Charles II’s sporting palace and stables, and spans five acres in the heart of Newmarket. It comprises three complementary attractions; the new National Horseracing Museum, a National Art Gallery of British Sporting Art, and a chance to meet former racehorses, in the flagship yard of Retraining of Racehorses.
The Trainer’s House and King's Yard Stables were used for training racehorses until the mid-1980s. These have undergone major renovation and redevelopment to become the new home of the National Horseracing Museum.
The main body of the Museum is situated in the Trainer’s House. In the first of five galleries you will be introduced to the origins of horseracing, the emergence of it as a national sport and Newmarket’s place in its development. Moving into The Maktoum Gallery of the Thoroughbred you will discover what makes the racehorse such a supreme and unique equine athlete and discover the secrets of the Thoroughbred pedigree by exploring the ultimate family tree and unravelling the genetic code. ‘A National Passion’ is the gallery which traces the progressive domestic organisation of racing from the mid-eighteenth century to the global sport it is today. Some important aspects here are the royal connections to racing, the Jockey Club’s activities, racing’s heroes and the social and political influences of the times. The finale of the Trainer’s House galleries is ‘Sporting Glory’ a theatrical presentation showcasing some memorable and inspiring winning moments with the individuals involved.
Moving out into the King’s Yard is an opportunity to explore behind-the scenes of the horse racing world. Over eight galleries, each stable reveals a different area from the administration and security of racing to the working life, veterinary medicine, welfare and training of its human and equine participants.
The visitor experience would not be complete without a chance to ride a winner on our ever popular racehorse simulator!
Situated in the remaining element of Charles II’s racing palace is the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art - a new home for the British Sporting Art Trust.
Paintings by George Stubbs and Sir Alfred Munnings rub shoulders with works from John Singer Sargent and John Wootton showcasing the finest British Sporting Art from around the UK.
Images of traditional rural pursuits are joined by some more surprising aspects of the subject: contemporary artwork from Peter Blake and Mark Wallinger. The new gallery explores the development of these popular sporting images through paintings, sculpture, print-making and the applied arts. Significant loans have come from the Tate and Victoria & Albert Museum along with a number of private and public art collections.
There will be the opportunity to discover sometimes surprising aspects of the subject as well as understanding the significance of Newmarket’s long Royal history.
The Rothschild Yard, built by Leopold de Rothschild in 1903, has been returned to its former glory to stable retrained racehorses. Four galleries in the yard explain the work of the Retraining of Racehorses charity and visitors will be able to meet former racehorses.
This flagship yard for Retraining of Racehorses shows how Thoroughbreds can be very effectively re-trained for a satisfying and successful life beyond horseracing. Every day at 11:30 am and 2:30pm there are behind the scenese tours where you get to see demonstrations that illustrate the difference between training a horse for the racetrack and training it effectively for a second career either, in competitive arenas such as eventing, dressage, showing and polo or purely for the pleasure of riding. Find out more