Racing: Grand National

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The Independent Online
The world's greatest steeplechase, the Grand National, is one of the great spectator events in the sporting calendar and Aintree on 3 April will continue to attract a huge crowd.

The course at Aintree has plenty of parking and has very good links with the motorway system, situated a mile from the M57 and M58. However, Aintree is well served by the train. Mersey Rail from Liverpool's Central Station takes 12 minutes to the course.

If you are fortunate to live in the South-east, British Rail offers a luxury journey, starting at London Euston, to and from Lime Street station in Liverpool, with a coach transfer to the track. Prices have been pegged at last year's cost, although an inside seat now costs the same as a window view. For pounds 100, the traveller receives a full breakfast with champagne and a three-course dinner on the return trip, arriving in London at 10.30pm. British Rail has seats in the non-smoking part of the train, but places in the two smoking carriages are selling quickly.

Aintree also offers hospitality packages, starting at pounds 160 (plus VAT) per person in the County Stand reserve dining room. This includes reserved seat and car park label. Hospitality in the Sky Restaurant, which overlooks the start, is again inclusive and costs pounds 205. Aintree can also offer rooms for parties in the County stand.

Sportsworld Group PLC, based in Abingdon, and The Mike Burton Group Ltd, of Gloucester, can also provide a luxury day out. Sportsworld's day costs pounds 285, while Mike Burton's is pounds 299.

For atmosphere and less strain on the pocket, the Steeplechase enclosure affords views of Becher's Brook and the Canal Turn. Similarly, the Central enclosure, with its views of The Chair fence and the finish, also offers great value.

Martell Grand National, Aintree, 3 April.

First race 1.45pm, Grand National 3.50pm, last race 5.20. (Tel: 051-523 2600).

Train: Mersey Rail from Liverpool Central (short distance from Lime Street station) to Aintree (journey time 12 minutes). Station is opposite course. Road: The course is north-east of the city, one mile on A59 from the M57 (which links with M62) and M58 (M6). Airports: Liverpool International is 20 minutes from course, Manchester 40 minutes.

Admission (postal orders only accepted to 24 March) Queen Mother Stand sold out. County Aintree roof pounds 60. Queen Mother Stand roof, County Stand roof, and reserved seat in the County Stand pounds 55. Glenlivet Stand pounds 40. Enclosures: County pounds 29; Paddock pounds 16 adult, pounds 4 child; Western pounds 8 adult, pounds 2 child; Central pounds 9, pounds 2; Steeplechase pounds 5, pounds 2.

Parking: County reserved pounds 17; Western pounds 13; Central pounds 11; Steeplechase pounds 7.

British Rail luxury train (071-388 0519).

Mike Burton Corporate Hospitality, Bastion House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JJ (0452-419666).

Sportsworld Hospitality, New Abbey Court, Stert Street, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 3JZ (0235-555844).