A London home for the ‘Season’
A luxury property in London has always been more than just a desirable place to live – it can also be a passport to the world’s most glamorous get-togethers. London’s ‘Season’ is a collection of social events, covering the arts, sports and horticulture, where tickets are highly sought-after and fellow guests include royalty, business leaders and celebrities.
They’ll take you to the capital’s most attractive locations or for a leisurely trip to a picturesque venue a little way outside London.
Normally starting in spring, when the country and parks are at their most beautiful, like everything in 2020 the Season was cancelled. Which means that it will be even better in 2021! Will you here to enjoy it?
If you like glamming it up and enjoying a Pimms or two with the global jetset, you now have even more reason to own a home in London. Here’s a round-up of the main events of London’s Season.
Equestrian events feature heavily in the social calendar and in fact kick off the Season in March each year with The Cheltenham Festival (next year scheduled for 16th-19th March). It’s worth attending just to visit the glorious spa town of Cheltenham, located two-and-a-half hours’ drive from London on the edge of the Cotswolds, never-mind the town’s celebrated race track.
For further thrills, at the start of April racing fans can head for a weekend in Liverpool to watch the world-famous Grand National race at Aintree. Then at the start of May, it’s back to the Cotswolds for the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials, when anyone who’s anything in equestrianism decamps for a few days to Badminton Park, a sprawling estate owned by the Duke of Beaufort.
Less travel is required in June, when the Season’s most prominent horse-racing events take place. These are The Derby at Epsom and Royal Ascot, both usually attended by Her Majesty The Queen. The final unmissable racing event is ‘Glorious Goodwood’, a flat-racing event held at the end of July at Goodwood Estate, an impressive estate owned by the Duke of Richmond in West Sussex.
You might prefer one of the Season’s polo tournaments, always a favourite with the younger Royals. The most prestigious is the Cartier Queen’s Cup held at the end of May and into June at Guard’s Polo Club in the magnificent Windsor Great Park. Alternatively, homeowners in West London won’t have far to travel for the annual Polo in the Park event at Hurlingham Park, Fulham.
For more chukka fun, the Gloucestershire Festival of Polo in June gives you the perfect reason to head back to the Cotswolds and the Badminton Estate. And if you fancy another trip to the countryside in July, seek out a ticket for the annual British Polo Open Championship held at the scenic Cowdray Estate, located under the South Downs in West Sussex.
What a racquet!
A visit to the Wimbledon Championships, which kicks off at the end of June, is a must for socially active Londoners. It helps that the tournament takes place in one of south-west London’s most desirable neighbourhoods, offering access to fine restaurants and bars. A good warm-up for Wimbledon is the annual Queen’s Club Championships, a smaller more intimate tournament held at the private but no less pristine Queen’s Club in West Kensington.
London is home to two world-famous horticultural events, both of which are busy social dates in the Season. At the end of May is the hugely popular RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where the Private Viewing day is a particular favourite with selected guests. If you can’t get a ticket, wander along to Sloane Square and enjoy the public floral displays taking part in the Chelsea in Bloom competition.
For more floral fun, put the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show at the start of July in your diary. Slightly less known than the Chelsea show, it offers the chance to mingle in glorious surroundings, with easy access to central London.
Regattas rarely disappoint on the entertaining front, whether you’re enjoying glasses of bubbly in a marquee by the Thames or sitting beside a marina gazing at racing yachts. Two stand out in London circles, the first being Henley Royal Regatta, a five-day rowing extravaganza that takes place at the start of July in Henley-on-Thames just outside London. If you can’t get into the steward’s enclosure, there are plenty of pop-up bars to sample.
Then in mid-August there is Cowes Week, a 180-year-old sailing regatta that requires a hop over the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Yachting enthusiasts and big names in the world of competitive sailing, including Olympians, head there to race, catch up and generally have a good time.
Hitting the right notes!
Running from mid-July into September, the world-famous BBC Proms is an eight-week run of daily orchestral concerts performed by internationally acclaimed musicians. Predominantly held in both the glorious Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall in central London, a night at the Proms is on every socialite’s summer timetable and is something that has been part of the social Season since 1865!
Music events during the Season also include an annual season of opera in Kensington’s Holland Park – the aptly named Opera Holland Park, as well as the season of opera held in the grounds at Glyndebourne, a country house tucked under the South Downs in the East Sussex.
Follow your art!
Art lovers needn’t feel left out. The Season includes the annual Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, the world’s oldest open submission exhibition – plenty to talk about over canapés and cocktails. It takes place at the magnificent Burlington House in Piccadilly and runs from start of June to start of August.
Alternatively, the annual Masterpiece art fair is a meeting point for enjoying a drink as you browse and admire masterpieces in art, design and furniture, all in the historic surroundings of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.