The Season: Our leading guide to the British Summer Social Season

The British Summer Social Season






Nevill Holt announces change of date for an August run

Badminton Horse Trials cancelled for 2021

Our annual British Summer Social Season Guide previews all of the top events around Britain that form part of The Season. It is hugely popular and has been highlighted by the BBC’s prestigious Today programme.

We will be updating the guide to The Season with events information and features on an ongoing basis. The guide includes key dates, preview coverage, interviews and style features. Make sure you keep checking back to view the most current edition, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is resulting in frequent changes to event plans.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Royal Ascot

All editorial and advertising enquiries for The Season: A guide to the British Summer Social Season can be directed to 

Key Dates for 2021

As was the case last year, the British Summer Social Season for 2021 is going to be a little bit different. Some of the early events are going ahead, but without spectators. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the action by watching on TV or getting involved online.

As we progress through the pandemic, and the landscape hopefully improves, we will be in a position to start attending events again. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has moved to autumn with the hope that things may be a little better by then, and we will keep you updated about plans for events as they unfold.

This is a dynamic situation and please be mindful that information is changing all the time, so please check the official website for each event for the latest status.

patricia bech

Polo in the Park is one of the top events

March¦ April ¦ May ¦ June ¦ July ¦ August ¦ September


The Cheltenham Festival (16th – 19th March)

The latest for 2021: Under current restrictions, The Festival™ will take place as a televised event, but sadly without spectators at the course. They will continue to monitor Government guidance and should this change in advance of The Festival™ action will be taken accordingly.

Four days of fantastic racing awaits those visiting the Cheltenham Festival. The first major social event of the year takes place in March. It may be blessed with sunshine or snow, so wrap up warm for the opening outing of The Season. There is always a great atmosphere at Cheltenham, with top class racing, excellent shopping and good fun to be had by all.

British Eventing Olympian Zara Tindall is a regular at Cheltenham and usually frequents The Green Room


The Season 2020: A preview of the Cheltenham Festival schedule

The Season 2020: Cheltenham Festival introduces new social hotspot, The Park

Special Feature

Sporting legends gather in Cheltenham’s new VIP hotspot, The Green Room


The Grand National at Aintree (Saturday 10th April)

The latest for 2021: TBC

Ladies Day will take place on Friday beforehand and it is then followed by Grand National Day. This legendary racing fixture is the first key horse racing event of The Season. It is not to be missed and promises an incredible day out for all visitors making the trip to the world famous racecourse.

The Season begins with the Grand National

The Grand National

Special Feature

Read our exclusive interview with the highest place lady in Grand National history

Looking Back

The 2016 Crabbies Grand National Weights Luncheon 

The Boat Race (Saturday 3rd April)

Latest for 2021: The Boat Race Company Limited (BRCL) announced that The Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge will be held on the Great Ouse at Ely in April 2021. The event will see the 166th Men’s and the 75th Women’s boat races. The decision to relocate the 2021 event reflects the challenge of planning a high-profile amateur event around continuing COVID related restrictions as well as uncertainty regarding the safety and navigation of Hammersmith Bridge. Boat Race fans are encouraged to get involved at home, enjoying the event on the BBC and respecting any restrictions that may be in place at the time.

The Boat Race heralds the start of The Season. It is an annual contest between two rowing crews from Oxford and Cambridge universities. The famous Race takes place on the River Thames in West London between Putney and Mortlake.

The Season starts with The Boat Race

The Season starts with The Boat Race

– MAY –

Badminton Horse Trials (5th May – 9th May)


Latest for 2021: Badminton Horse Trials 2021 event “Behind Closed Doors” but with the potential to include a limited number of spectators should, come the spring, guidelines/restrictions allow. 

Returning to the equestrian theme, Badminton Horse Trials is arguably the world’s top three day event and a welcome addition to The Season. It takes place in the Cotwolds and is often frequented by the members of the Royal family. This event is not just for equestrian fans and many people attend so they can visit the fantastic shopping village, which offers every countryside product you can imagine.

Zara Phillips competing at Badminton Horse Trials

Zara Phillips competing at Badminton Horse Trials


The Season 2020: Badminton Horse Trials box office opens

Special Features

What to wear to Badminton Horse Trials

Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2019 Style File

Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials Trot Up: The Fashion Report

Looking Back

The Mitsubusi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2018

Badminton Horse Trials 2016

Badminton Horse Trials: The Trot Up Report

Royal Windsor Horse Show 

Latest for 2021: NEW DATE ANNOUNCED – TO RUN 1st – 4th JULY THIS YEAR 

This prestigious horse show takes place in the Queen’s back garden at Windsor Castle. It presents International Jumping, Dressage, Showing and Driving.

Glyndebourne (20th May – 29th August)

Glyndebourne is a famous opera house in East Sussex. It is just one hour from London and has been the venue for the annual Glyndebourne Festival since 1934. This year, the performances begin from the 18th of May and run throughout the summer.

Chelsea Flower Show (postponed until September 21st – 26th)

Latest for 2021: Postponed until September 

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is another world-famous event and has always formed part of The Season. The Private Viewing day is packed with London’s high society. The event is normally visited by notable guests throughout its duration.

What to wear to the Chelsea Flower Show

What to wear to the Chelsea Flower Show

Special Feature

What to wear to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Looking Back

The Duchess of Cambridge introduces her garden to the Queen at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show 2018: Garden and floral highlights

Famous faces gather for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Browse the Social Diary from Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Watch our film: A day at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

– JUNE –

The Investec Derby (4th – 5th June)

Latest for 2021: Invited to save the date with details TBC 

One of the highlights of the summer racing season, The Derby at Epsom racecourse is not to be missed. It attracts high society and a number of celebrities. It is considered one of the best flat races in the world and the fashion is also just as important as the racing.

Chestertons Polo in the Park (11th-13th June)

Polo in the Park takes place in Hurlingham Park and is a popular day out for those enjoying the British Summer Social Season. Most guests make a beeline for the Champagne Lanson Garden or Mahiki Bar. Both are located in sunny spots and offer great views of the action.

Polo in the Park

Polo in the Park takes place in central London at the Hurlingham Park


Chestertons Polo in the Park 2020 Super Early Bird Tickets

Special Feature

What to wear to Polo in the Park

Gloucestershire Festive of Polo

An event that has previously been supported by the Royal Family, this polo tournament takes place annually at the Beaufort Polo Club. There is also a country fair that runs during the event.

Cartier Queen’s Cup (13th June)

The Finals Day is the highlight of this high-goal polo competition. The event boasts a unique blend of glamour, style and elegance in a beautiful setting.

Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club (12th – 2th June)

This event has been staged at The Queen’s Club for more than a century. The grass courts have been described as “the best in the world” by former champions Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray. You are likely to spot Queen’s Club member Pippa Middleton in the crowd on most days.

 Looking Back

The Maggie’s Enclosure at Queen’s

Nevill Holt Opera 

NEW DATE FOR 2021: 4th-10th AUGUST

Nevill Holt Opera is extended this year due to its great success. Hosted in the grounds that belong to David Ross – the founder of Carphone Warehouse – it is considered to be a highly sophisticated occasion in stunning surroundings.

The Nevill Holt Opera

The Nevill Holt Opera


Nevill Holt announces new dates for 2021

Looking Back

The Nevill Holt Opera Festival continues to impress

Royal Ascot (15th -19th June)

Latest for 2021: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the current uncertainty as to when spectators can be welcomed back to Ascot Racecourse, you can register interest but not buy tickets yet. 

This premier racing fixture is not to be missed and gives both ladies and gentleman the opportunity to dress up in their finest formal attire. Aside from watching some of the best flat racing in the world, the spectacular hats will also provide entertainment. Stick with tradition and enjoy a picnic in the car park, before venturing to the Royal Enclosure where you will find a plethora of champagne bars.

Looking Back

Royal Ascot 2018: Goffs London Sale starts the racing week in style before Harry and Meghan please crowds on day one

Famous gather for Royal Ascot

A box at Royal Ascot with Carol Joy London

Boodles Tennis (22nd June – 26th June)

The Boodles Tennis is a civilized soiree that attracts some of the best tennis players in the world. The Boodles Tennis Challenge takes place over a number of a days and is held at Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire.

Wimbledon (28th June – 11th July)

Wimbledon needs little introduction, especially after Andy Murray’s incredible performances. This is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It is also considered by many players to be one of the most prestigious titles to win. Celebrities flock to this event during The Season and it lasts for two weeks.

-JULY – 

Henley Royal Regatta (29th June-4th July)

The Henley Royal Regatta is a perfect excuse to venture into the British countryside during The Season. The rowing event takes place every year on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames. It is a popular social occasion during The Season and there is a party atmosphere in the fashionable pop up bars that visit from London.

Looking Back

The Sloaney’s guide to the top social hotspots at The Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta Social Report

Gold Cup for the British Polo Open (19th July)

Sponsored by King Power, the tournament is regarded as one of the top three polo competitions in the world alongside the US and Argentine Opens. The Final attracts a crowd of over 10,000 who flock to our prestigious ‘Lawns’ polo grounds to watch some of the best players in the world in action in the heart of the South Downs National Park.

The event provides a relaxed family centric atmosphere, retaining a quintessentially British style, with a full programme of events and entertainment including a traditional fairground, carefully selected artisan food and beverage, an extensive luxury retail village and an eclectic mix of live bands and DJ’s in the evening following the polo.

British Grand Prix (16th -18th July)

The Formula 1 British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone at the beginning of July. It promises an action packed weekend for those who love speed and excitement. It is a chance to see F1 on British soil and also watch some of the world’s top drivers and cars take to the track.

The Game Fair (23rd-25th July)

A mecca for those who love countryside pursuits, The Game Fair is billed as the top annual event for those who are passionate about countryside living.

Qatar Goodwood Festival (27th July – 31st July)

The 2015 Qatar Goodwood Festival saw some truly special moments including when Frankie Dettori rode six winners to take the Top Jockey award. This year ‘Glorious Goodwood’ promises great action on the track and an even better social scene. Taking place in the middle of summer, this is a highlight of The Season.

Special Feature

The Sloaney’s Guide to Goodwood

Looking Back

Goodwood welcomes a rose bar for 2016, partnering with Château La Gordonne


Cowes Week (31st July – 7th August)

Cowes Week is one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. Over 8,000 competitors take part and the event features many drinks parties and a famous fireworks display.


Salon Prive (1st-5th September)

For those of you that haven’t experienced Salon Privé before, it is a motor show unlike any other. It is a unique 3-day event held in the spectacular grounds of Blenheim Palace showcasing an incredible collection of classic, super, hyper and concept cars for a true celebration of these motoring masterpieces.

Looking Back

The Salon Prive Gala Ball

BMW PGA, Wentworth (9th – 12th September)

Top golfers consider it to be like a Championship and the Wentworth PGA is one of the biggest tournaments in the world.

The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair (TBC)

The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair takes place in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London and brings our guide to The Season to an end. This is Autumn’s must-visit event for sourcing and buying fine art and antiques. It has quickly become a highlight on the social calender and last year there were over 19,000 visitors from around the world.

The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair

The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair


“I really appreciate the coverage about our Henley party. We have seen quite the jump in tickets sales since you published it.”  – The Champagne Cocktail Club at Henley Royal Regatta 

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