Things you’ll know if you grew up in Newmarket
There are honestly more horses than people
The home of horse racing, an equine haven and apparently the drug capital of East Anglia, Newmarket is a confusing place – but with the variety of humans, horses and dogs, and a lot of champagne, it was a great place to grow up.
The train station may be a shambles and there’s nowhere to go out except for strip clubs, but there’s nowhere else we’d rather be.
Don’t even attempt driving around Newmarket between 6am-9am. There will be horses training, they will be wandering the streets and they have right of way literally everywhere.
Not ideal when you’re trying to catch the 7.50am train, to get to school.
Where there are horses there are jockeys. The average height in this town ise well below the national average.
You will be involved in horses in some way
Whether your dad’s a trainer, owns a leg, or is a world famous jockey. You’ll have a connection. You probably hunt with the Thurlow and can wangle your way into the racecourse for free.
Well, maybe not now they’ve introduced the ticket scanning system, the bastards.
There’s the Rowley Mile for the more serious, autumn to spring racing season and the July Course, for when you want to get pissed in the sunshine, look at some ponies and watch a tired one-hit-wonder band on a Friday night. Take your pick.
Even though the bands are always shit, it’s the highlight of the summer when you’re growing up. That time the X-Factor finalists played and Lucy Jones brought on Nick Jonas as a special guest, you nearly died. This year’s lineup was one of the best, with Kaiser Chiefs, Busted and golden oldies, Tears for Fears.
You never forget those early teenage years when we used to sneak away from our parents and meet up with everyone at the top of the big steps to watch the music from the side. Unless it was someone REALLY good (like Brian Adams) then you’d pop down the steps for a good look at the performers.
Saying ‘yah’ is totally acceptable
Almost encouraged. When you come back from uni that London twang you’ve picked up from your cool new mates will slip and you’ll end up talking reminiscing about your pony club days immediately.
You were probably in the Newmarket & Thurlow Pony Club
This was the staple of our childhoods. We would nervously arrive at rallies, or to junior camp, with our mums and our impossibly small ponies and suddenly make lifelong friends. Bonding over whether your pony can do water or ditches, or which instructor was the scariest.
This developed into intermediate camp: where we actually grew up. This place was puberty central. Sleeping on camp beds in stables at Tattersalls, and all sneaking into one at night to play spin the bottle was what defined summer. It was the first time we’d been left to our own devices and had to feed and muck out our ponies every morning ourselves, before trudging into the dining room to have amazing home cooked food by our mummy-volunteers.
Which ride you were in defined you, as did your instructor. There would always be one group stuck doing dressage while the fun group did pony swaps and show jumping before having an extended lunch.
The prizes at the end of the week would always be what defined your week. Coming last in tack and turnout was the ultimate cool prize and winning the showjumping competition basically made you the king or queen of camp.
For those of you who don’t know (but you obviously do), the Fetlock Ball is a party for teens aged 14-16 in De Niros nightclub (RIP). It was basically where everyone would snog as many people as possible in four hours and hope that the parental supervisors weren’t looking.
They even had the SOS bus for the hardcore kids who were having their first ever drink to increase their game.
The shit train station with one platform
Even Kennett and Dullingham have two platforms. Why can’t they have two platforms at Newmarket? The ticket machine has only just been installed and never bloody works.
Oh, and the car park is tiny and full of taxis anyway. Sort it out please.
The train that goes once an hour, once every two hours on Sundays
To either Ipswich or Cambridge. It’s a big town, can someone please sort out a London train. When you mix the rowdy kids going to their Cambridge schools and the stressed out city workers with their fold-up bikes, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Especially when there used to only be one or two carriages.
But we do always make a big deal out of being able to get to London in under an hour and a half. “Well, it’s 20 mins from Newmarket, then only five minutes to change platform in Cambs, and 50 minutes later you arrive in King’s Cross. We’re basically from London.”
You probably went to a school in Cambridge, and/or boarding school
Whether it was The Leys, The Perse, St Mary’s or Hills Road, we all had to make the commute at some point and everyone hated us for it.
There were so many people at boarding school from the area, we even had a Newmarket bus. It dropped us off by Burger King and pets at home. No, I was never allowed a chicken legend on the way home.
You all live outside of Newmarket in the countryside
No-one has even heard of Upend.
Dinner parties are our nights out
You don’t want to go out in Newmarket, it’s just not nice. We flock to someone’s house for dinner and wine and rely on a designated driver (and sometimes even my mum still) to get us home after a few too many.
A decadent occasion where only the coolest step outside for a smoke, and someone might even pull.
You probably go on holiday to Norfolk
Whether it was Hunstanton as kids, or to crash at your friend’s pad on the coast and have a go on the boats. We all know people who summer on the East Anglian coast.
You do not go shopping in Newmarket
T.K. Maxx has got some hidden gems, but it’s not recommended to actually go shopping in Newmarket. Cambridge is so close, we just flock to Topshop in the Grand Arcade and go for lunch.
Even though there’s a huge Tesco, you always end up in Waitrose
“It is technically closer to where we live”, says my mother who works opposite the biggest Tesco superstore I’ve ever seen. It’s always empty, no one goes there. Waitrose is just so much better and we know where everything is.
You can’t go there looking like shit, though. You WILL bump into someone you know.