For the last two and a half years, Megan Pollexfen has been the driving force behind Discover Newmarket in her role as manager. Now an integral part the historic town’s tourism, Discover Newmarket provides the official behind-the-scenes tours for the Home of Horseracing.
A town with a warm welcome and a lot to offer
I joined Discover Newmarket in 2017, at this stage the Community Interest Company (CIC) had been running for two years. We are based in the heart of the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art at Palace House and are now entering our fifth year of operation. Discover Newmarket was created by a group of local racing and business stakeholders to provide guided tours for visitors looking to go behind the scenes in the home of horseracing, and to unite Newmarket’s offer with one central visitor information portal, for the benefit of the town.
By promoting Newmarket as a visitor destination, in one year alone we have welcomed and taken 10,500 domestic and international visitors behind the scenes to learn more about the horseracing industry and town on our guided tours.
A network across the town to boost visitors
As the town’s official tour guide, we work closely with our key stakeholders to showcase the unique experiences and attractions on offer – from guided tours of The National Stud, family fun days at Palace House, to meeting the equine stars on our stable tours. We are extremely grateful to all our supporters: Tattersalls, Juddmonte, Newmarket Town Council and Al Basti Equiworld to name a few! The continued support they all offer demonstrates their commitment to the sport and town.
As Discover Newmarket grows, we strive to keep innovation at the forefront of our visitor offer. Each year we have established new partnerships within the racing industry and local community, which has enabled us to appeal to new audiences.
Something for everyone
Discover Newmarket’s audience is extremely broad, our tours can be related to by racing fans, Thoroughbred Bloodstock enthusiasts, families and social groups looking for new experiences.
Working with such a broad audience is what I find the most exciting and rewarding part of my job; one day you may be introducing someone to the sport as a new racegoer or enabling someone to realise their dream of meeting their idols – equine or human. We may even be able to give a nudge to a first-time racehorse owner!
The variety can sometimes be a challenge as we try and find the best way to appeal to a broad selection of people. It can be very rewarding, however, especially when you see returning visitors or find out that people who came on a specific tour with no real interest in the sport are suddenly planning a day at the races or to come on another visit.
Connecting with our young people
One partnership we are extremely proud of is with Racing to School and the Newmarket Academy. Each year we host up to 15 students from the Academy who are all working towards their Travel and Tourism Qualification. Their time with us includes an insight into the visitor experience on offer within Newmarket followed by a class room session. This year saw the children brainstorming the different types of Discover Newmarket customers and the benefits of getting customer service right and the risks of getting it wrong.
There’s a passionate team at the helm of Discover Newmarket and all of them act as ambassadors, sharing their knowledge of the town and sport to offer a new experience to the general public as well as educating them. They actively encourage visitors to seek out the town’s attractions, eateries and independent retailers. But don’t take our word for it, Discover Newmarket for yourself!