Under starter’s orders at the National Heritage Centre

To mark 350 years since the historic return of King Charles II to Newmarket, the town will open its National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art on September 19.

It is expected to attract up to 60,000 visitors a year to Newmarket, and generate more than £2 million annually for the local economy in Suffolk.

Each phase of the attraction will open in stages, beginning with Palace House and the Rothschild Yard, joined later by The King’s Yard and finally The Trainer’s House. The official opening ceremony will be later in the year.

The National Heritage Centre is in the remains of Charles II’s sporting palace and stables, and spans five acres in the heart of Newmarket.

It comprises three 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 opening of the National Heritage Centre at Palace House sees the result of more than 10 years of planning, fundraising and construction.

It will be the biggest new attraction to open in Suffolk in the last decade.

The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Forest Heath District Council, Suffolk County Council, the racing industry, private trusts, foundations and individuals.

Chris Garibaldi, National Horseracing Museum director, said: “The National Heritage Centre will be a world-class tourist destination that has transformed the centre of Newmarket providing a cultural quarter for the town.”