Part One: March –June
The Cheltenham Festival 10th-13th March
The Cheltenham Festival is a four day horse racing event culminating on Friday with the Gold Cup race. Wednesday is Ladies Day and a time to get the fashion season really started. Definitely worth checking the weather forecast though ensuring you dress appropriately as well as stylishly!
The Boat Race
The annual rowing competition between Oxford and Cambridge universities takes place on the Thames between Putney and Mortlake. The men’s race began in 1829 and the women’s in 1927 although the women’s race did not become a regular fixture until the 1960s. We know which side we’re on! ?
The Grand National
The horse race that everyone has heard of! A world-famous National Hunt horse race that takes place at Aintree racecourse near Liverpool. This is a three day event with Ladies Day taking place on Friday 3rd April known as #fabulousfriday. Although there is no official dress code, there is an Aintree style code aimed at inspiring guests to dress to impress. The code is based on Coco Chanel’s words ”dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” The Grand National race itself takes place on Saturday 4th April.
The Badminton Horse Trials
Regarded as the most prestigious of horse trials, Badminton takes place over four days and includes dressage and cross country as well as jumping sections. It is regarded as the most prestigious horse trial and has taken place in the park at Badminton House annually since 1949.
The Chelsea Flower Show
Not really needing an introduction, this is the world’s most famous and glamorous flower show and is a great day out whatever the weather. The show is open to non RHS members from Thursday to Sunday. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family visit on Monday 18th May along with many green fingered celebrities and the press. In 2019, the Duchess of Cambridge helped to design the RHS Back to Nature Garden.
Cartier Queen’s Cup Final
19th May-14th June
This is the polo tournament! Sponsored by Cartier since 2012, the matches take place over three weeks culminating in the final on Sunday 14th June. The tournament is held at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park.
The annual festival of all things literary which is held in Hay-on Wye in Wales and this year includes events with Stephen Fry and Hilary Mantel amongst many others.
21st May-30th August
The Glyndebourne Opera Festival takes place on the grounds of Glyndebourne House in East Sussex. It is traditional to wear black tie and to picnic in style during the 90 minute interval. A wonderful experience for seasoned opera buffs and newcomers alike. Champagne is obligatory!
The Derby is a two day event in Epsom, Surrey. It is known as the greatest flat race in the world and is attended by the Queen. The first day which is the first Friday in June is known as Ladies Day.
Grange Park Opera
4th June-19th July
No longer held at the Grange in Hampshire, Grange Park Opera now takes place in Surrey at West Horsley Place and is another set in stone date for opera enthusiasts old and new. Finery and F&M hampers are de rigeur!
Queen’s Club Championships
The Queen’s Club in West Kensington is home to a variety of racket sports including Real Tennis, squash, rackets and of course lawn tennis. In June, it hosts the championships and welcomes world class tennis professionals who have previously included Nadal and Murray. This is one of the finest lawn tennis championships in the world.
Royal Ascot is five days of the world’s best horse racing which starts with a Royal procession from Windsor Castle at 2pm on Tuesday. From fabulous fashions to fine dining and afternoon tea, this is the social event not to miss. Thursday is the legendary Ladies Day and is a fashion event in its own right.
A five day tennis tournament held at Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire and sponsored by the jewellers Boodles. Tennis fans absolutely love this event!
25th June-1st July
An art fair like no other, Masterpiece is held at The Royal Hospital Chelsea. From ceramics and ancient art to sculpture and jewellery, masterpiece offers art in all its forms in a splendid setting. Dining facilities are equally spectacular, and reservations are recommended.
To be continued… Part two will follow in April.