British Social Season: the main social events of summer 2024

16.05.2024Ksenia Batyshkina

Expensive cars and high society at the Dukes of Marlborough's estate, fine hats at the Royal Ascot Races, Wimbledon and Royal Club tennis tournaments, polo and rowing championships - ZIMA has gathered the major cultural events that the 2024 summer social season is preparing.

Glyndebourne Opera Festival

Where: Glyndebourne, New Rd, Lewes BN8 5UU
When: May 16 to August 25
Tickets at link .

The Glyndebourne Opera House Festival, the oldest of its kind in the United Kingdom, was founded by John Christie, a Swiss-born English landowner and theater producer, and his wife, opera singer Audrey Mildmay, in 1934. Since then, the East Sussex Festival has become one of the world’s premier opera events. Every year there are more than 120 productions, attended by up to 150,000 people.

This summer’s festival will open with the debut of Broadway director and artistic director of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, Diane Paulus. She will present the audience with a new version of Carmen, which, as the director herself notes, seeks to answer the question, “What does Carmen mean to us today?”.

Paulus turns the familiar story of a femme fatale who drives her admirers to insane jealousy into a modern drama about the human quest for freedom and dignity against a backdrop of total oppression. The production features artists from Ukraine and Russia: Dmitro Popov and Dmitry Cheblykov will compete for Carmen’s favor in the roles of Don Jose and Escamillo.

In addition to “Carmen”, it is worth paying attention to the renewed opera production of the festival, which premiered for the first time in 2003 – Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”. This work, created by the German composer between 1857 and 1857, has been called one of the most influential not only in the field of opera, but classical music in general. It is believed to be the one that laid the foundations of modern musical composition.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

When: May 21-25
Where: London Gate, Royal Hospital Chelsea, SW3 4SR
Tickets at the link.

Everyone knows that the British have a special love of gardening, and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – a spectacular annual gardening event – is proof of that. For 110 years, since 1913, the event has been held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. The building itself is a Grade I and II listed heritage building, and the show traditionally occupies the grounds surrounding it.

The opportunity to showcase your garden at the Chelsea Flower Show is reserved for only the best of the best, and the five days of the festival showcase the latest trends in landscape design and the latest in materials and technology. In 2024, the jury and guests can expect an impressive 15 gardens based on challenging themes such as freedom from torture, ecology, sustainability and “visual feasts” inspired by history and art.

Among other things, the event is one of the most important social events of the year and is held under the patronage of the British royal family. Monarchs visit the exhibition every year and personally evaluate the floral masterpieces.

Chestertons Polo in the Park Festival

When: June 7-9
Where: Hurlingham Club, SW6 3RH 17
Tickets at the link.

A three-day sporting event held annually in west London at Hurlingham Club. It combines two formats at once vintage equestrian competition and social entertainment. Polo enthusiasts can enjoy international matches and world-class athletes. But even those who don’t know much about horses or the sport will have something to do As part of Chestertons Polo, the Fulham Food Festival will take place all day long, featuring a host of food stalls from some of London’s best restaurants and eateries, drinks highlights will be Champagne Lanson, Brutal Fruit Cider, Pimm’s (and more), and everyone will be able to go shopping in the SHEERLUXE shopping village between matches.

In addition, each of the days has a different theme: June 7 – “international day”, it implies meetings with colleagues and networking, June 8 Officially designated “ladies’ day,” organizers have put together special packages with gourmet hors d’oeuvres, afternoon tea and receptions by Lanson, and on June 9, the “family day” and the main wrap party with trendy DJs.

Queen’s Club Championships tennis tournament.

When: June 17-23
Where: Queen’s Club, Palliser Rd, London W14 9EQ
Tickets by clicking here.

Founded between 1886 and 1887 and named after Queen Victoria, The Queen’s Club in West Kensington was the UK’s first multi-purpose sports complex. On the local courts you can not only practice various sports, but also become a guest of world-famous championships for example, in tennis, squash or athletics.

This summer, the first-class lawns of the Royal Club (which, by the way, are considered one of the best in the world) will traditionally host a men’s professional tennis tournament. It was first held in 1890, and since 1979, it has hosted the world’s best athletes – John McEnroe, Lleyton Hewitt, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez – 25 of the last 27 Wimbledon champions have played at the Queen’s Club Championships.

The tournament has an impressive prize pool of around €2.2 million annually. And the Queen’s Club Championships grandstands are home to some of the most privileged and socialite spectators.

Royal Ascot Royal Ascot

When: c June 18 to 22
Ascot Racecourse, High Street, Ascot, SL5 7JX
Tickets via link.

As they do with their gardens, The English regard equestrian sport with special reverence and consider it a truly high society activity. Ascot has long since achieved the status of one of the major events of the summer social season. People come here not only to watch the competitions, but also to make useful acquaintances, watch the guests in the royal sector, socialize with friends and, of course, drink champagne. Well, ladies find this event attractive because there is an excuse to wear a sophisticated hat.

Royal Ascot attracts over 300,000 spectators each year. And each day of racing has its own precepts and traditions and opens with a royal procession – last year King Charles III attended all five days of racing. Although the monarch’s presence has not yet been officially confirmed this year, his and Camilla’s horses are already entered in three categories.

The organizers, in turn, announced an impressive prize pool for the first time it will exceed £10 million. Races will be scheduled daily first race at 2:30 p.m., final race at 6:15 p.m.

Wimbledon tournament

When: July 1-14
Where: All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, SW19

You can try your luck with tickets at the link.

Not only the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, but arguably one of the most social events of the year. Wimbledon attracts players and fans from all corners of the globe. Some people are really passionate about tennis, while others just dream of getting into the territory of the legendary All England Club and being in the thick of the rituals (e.g. strawberries and cream as the main treat, picnics in the park, meetings with star athletes and much more) and entertainment that necessarily accompany the tournament.

During the championship you can meet not only tennis stars, many of whom come to the UK in advance and live in the neighborhood of the Wimbledon courts, but also actors, musicians, politicians and, of course, members of the royal family – they usually attend all days of the tournament and watch the games from the royal box.

This year’s Wimbledon is sandwiched between Euro 2024 and the Olympics and will take place from July 1-14. The total prize fund has yet to be confirmed, however, the amount rarely disappoints entrants – last year it exceeded £40 million. As for the structure of the 2024 championship, it is standardly divided into 2 qualifying days. The semifinals will be held on July 11 and the finals will be held on Saturday, July 13.

This year on the courts of Wimbledon it will be possible to watch the game of such famous tennis players as Novak Djokovic (Serbia), Carlos Alcaraz (Spain), Iga Swiontek (Poland), Ons Jabeur (Tunisia), Andrey Rublev (Russia).

Henley Royal Regatta

When: July 2-7
White Hill, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2LY
Tickets by .

The Henley Royal Regatta is undoubtedly one of the most famous and ancient rowing events – it was first held in 1839 and has only taken a break since then for two world wars and the covid pandemic.

The championship lasts 6 days and is traditionally held on the first weekend of July. Each year, the event attracts thousands of spectators who have the pleasure of watching more than 300 races featuring both Olympic and novice rowers. The total water distance is 2112 meters, which is 112 meters longer than generally accepted, and the competition format is arranged according to the Olympic principle on elimination.

The Henley Royal Regatta has been held under the patronage of the British Royal Family since 1851, with HRH Prince Albert as its first patron. In May 2024, King Charles III graciously assumed this role.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

When: July 11-14
Where: Goodwood House, Chichester, West Sussex
Tickets are on website Events.

For many, the lack of a suitable race course is an insurmountable obstacle to organizing a race, but not for aristocrat and peer Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox (aka Earl of March and Kinrara). After failing to get permission to hold races at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in 1993, he decided to organize a track on his own estate. Over the next 20 years, the event has grown from a competition for vintage cars into one of the biggest and probably the most interesting car festivals in the world.

Only there and only 3 days a year you can see how ordinary motorists together with past and present champions of all practical racing series of the world “carry” on a rural road among haystacks and old stone fences, trying to break the record of speed of hill climbing and using absolutely any sports and civilian equipment. The participants and spectators themselves have dubbed the show “a veritable extravaganza of car love”.

In addition to the central point of the program (racing competition), each year one of the famous car brands (sponsors of the event) installs a large-scale car-art installation, which impresses spectators as much as the race itself.

Salon Privé collector car competition

When: August 28 to 31
Where: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, OX20 1PS
Tickets at the link.

Salon Privé 2024 will traditionally take place in the last days of August on the South Lawn of Blenheim Palace , the ancestral estate of the Dukes of Marlborough (and Sir Winston Churchill) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The event is considered one of the most colorful and chic of the summer season.

This year, 60 of the world’s rarest collector cars grand touring cars, classic sports cars, racing legends, and the latest supercars will compete for the title of “best” in their respective categories. Among the competitors already announced are brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Lotus, Rolls-Royce Motor, McLaren and others.

Members and guests will enjoy three days of exclusive entertainment, beginning with a Tour Privé on Tuesday, August 27, sumptuous lunches at Churchill Pavilion, Glass House and Spencer Pavilion, afternoon tea ceremonies complete with a glass of Pommery Champagne, a special gala and ending with a final outdoor party.

The organizers of Salon Privé treat the dress code of the guests with no less care than the program of events. Men should look out for comfortable suits, blazers, chinos and brogues. And for the ladies, take care of the summer dresses, put aside the high heels (they’re no good for the local lawns) and pick up a hat at the very least, to enter the hat contest scheduled for Friday.

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