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Society sporting events

Britain’s sporty summer spectacular

Spectators viewing the Parade Ring Source:© VisitBritain / Grant Pritchard

Royal Ascot

Spectators viewing the Parade Ring

© VisitBritain / Grant Pritchard

White shirts, smart suits, summer dresses and spectacular hats, most likely a tailcoat or two and plenty of glamorous gowns. The Britain that most people think only exists in films is alive and well, at these annual events.

Keep your eyes peeled for royalty: the Queen herself attends Royal Ascot annually, while Prince William and Harry are well known for their love of polo.


Join the genteel crowds for the thundering hooves and thwack of the ball at England’s polo tournaments this summer. The season runs from May to September and revolves around a number of major events, the first being The Prince of Wales Trophy in Berkshire, and the last the Cartier International in Surrey. It’s a fast-paced, exciting and often dangerous game, and a fantastic spectator sport.


There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as rowing a boat through England’s waterways. Nothing that is, except watching somebody else do it at high speed, while you sip a cool glass of Pimms. Boat racing is enormously popular in the summer months, with the best known events being the Oxford vs. Cambridge boat race and the Henley Royal Regatta . Both take place on the Thames, surrounded by well-dressed swarms of cheering onlookers.


Whether you’re there to see the horses, bet on the races or admire the outfits, Britain’s horse-racing events have a real sense of spectacle. This year’s Epsom Derby is a star attraction as it takes place on the main weekend of the Diamond Jubilee, so you can expect guests to make extra effort in looking fabulous. Royal Ascot , in June, is Britain’s other best known horseracing event, and the sense of excitement and atmosphere at each is second to none.