After a decade of advising people from around the world on buying houses and apartments in London, we’ve come to understand that the city’s appeal to international buyers is much more than financial.
Our clients love London for its heritage, its world-leading cultural offerings, and its convenient position in Europe. We asked our partners – some of the top luxury lifestyle companies in the UK – to help put together a potted guide to enjoying the summer in London.
So, let’s have a peak at that quintessentially British series of summer events in and around London known as the ‘Season’.
The Most Famous Race Meeting in the World
The first month of summer in the UK is sometimes called ‘Flaming June’, and while the weather doesn’t always live up to that reputation, this is certainly the time when the Season hots up. There are several polo tournaments this month, with the most important day – socially and for the sport – being the Queen’s Cup Final at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor.
Just a few days later, around the third week of June, is the opening of Royal Ascot: the most famous race meeting in the world.
The ‘royal’ appellation really means something here, and the Queen is never happier than when watching ‘the sport of kings’ (especially when one of her horses wins!).
Each day starts with the royal party parading in an open-top, horse-drawn carriage. The Royal Enclosure is by far the most prestigious area – and no sum of money is enough to get you in. In fact, first-time visitors need to know someone who’s attended on at least four occasions. You also need to abide by the strict dress code, which includes morning coat and top hat for the gents, day dresses and hats for the ladies. The other Enclosures are open to all, and also less formal.
The Henley Royal Regatta at the end of June is another five-day sporting event. It was first held in 1839 and has taken place annually ever since, except during the two World Wars.
Apart from the formal and exclusive Stewards’ Enclosure, most of the rowing course, along an idyllic stretch of the Thames in Oxfordshire, is free to be enjoyed by anyone. There are many bars set up along the river – including trendy Mahiki, which is where you will likely catch a glimpse of London socialites and TV stars.
Between Wimbledon and Lord’s, a Sporting Summer
As June becomes July, the focus moves to tennis. Iconic is an over-used word, but it certainly applies to Wimbledon, one of the most important tennis tournaments in the world, and certainly the most famous. The lack of corporate sponsorship and the lovely old ivy-clad buildings – not to mention the top-class tennis played on grass – combine to create a wonderful occasion. Don’t forget to have your traditional strawberries and cream!
The timing of the test matches at Lord’s varies from year to year. You don’t have to be a cricket buff to enjoy a day at Lord’s – it’s more about soaking up the very English atmosphere. The game is relaxing (with test matches lasting five days, it has to be!) and there are plenty of bars and eateries dotted about the ground, as well as a little grass area to picnic.
Then there’s ‘Glorious Goodwood’ in the beginning of August. Like Ascot, it’s a very important race meeting and a very important social occasion, with a more laid-back dress code and ambience. The setting is stunning – the Duke of Richmond’s house and grounds nestled among the South Downs.
That meeting traditionally marks the end of the Season, as the social elite journey up to Scotland for another ‘glorious’ event – the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ – the day in August which marks the start of the grouse-shooting season.
But if tweeds aren’t your thing in August, you can always jet off to sunnier climes. In fact, London’s location and abundance of flights mean you can do that at any point in the Season – skip an event which doesn’t interest you as much, and pop back for one that does. Or just take a quick break whenever it turns cool or wet – a sensible option given London’s unpredictable weather!
But where to go? Next time we’ll reveal the top European spots recommended for you by our partners in luxury hospitality!
(Eirini Nousia is the Managing Director of Golden Venn, a London based property consultancy firm – www.golden-venn.com)