For most of us the British summer is a time for firing up a portable £2 barbecue, sinking lager in a beer garden and raving in the mud at a music festival.
But for some it’s about getting frocked up for one of England’s blue-ribbon summer events, such as Royal Ascot and the Cartier Polo tournament, which make up what’s known as ‘the Season’.
So, whether you’re a tight-arse, fully minted, or somewhere in between, here’s TNT’s guide to making the most of the warm weather.
Wimbledon – an all-white balls-up
Quaffing strawberries and cream while players strut their stuff in all-white kit (garish colours are banned) on an immaculate grass tennis court is a great English tradition.
If you haven’t already got a ticket to the Wimbledon lawn tennis championships (June 22-July 5), the only way to catch the action is by queuing on the day for a ticket (from £5). You’ll need to get in the line super early, or even camp overnight, for the show courts.
» See wimbledon.org.
Royal Ascot – please wear panties
The Royal Enclosure at the Royal Ascot race meeting (June 16-20) is one of the most exclusive tickets in town.
But there’s been lots of fuss in recent years about young women showing too much flesh – so much so that organisers issued a decree reminding them to wear knickers.
General admission starts from £16. A £56 grandstand ticket will get you closer to the action – a better bet if you’re more interested in the horses than getting hammered.
» See tntonline.co.uk/events for reader ticket discounts. Prices start from £15.56
Henley Royal Regatta
If you’ve scored a ticket to the Stewards’ Enclosure for this rowing fiesta (July 1-5) be prepared for a really strict dress code.
Any bloke that so much as removes his jacket for a few seconds will be asked to leave.
So why not forget all that and lob up to a bit of riverbank further afield with a few beers and watch the action for free – it’s one of the prettiest bits of the Thames.
Catch a train to Henley-on-Thames from Paddington. The course is impossible to miss.
Polo – aka hockey on horseback
Watching fit folk on thundering steeds while you sip champers makes a fine day out.
There are polo events across England, but the most famous is Cartier International Day at the Guards Polo Club on July 26; tickets from £35.
Or try the Veuve Clicquot Polo Gold Cup at Cowdray Park (cowdraypolo.co.uk) on July 19; from £15.
Throw a posh summer party
Why settle for burning bangers on a barbecue or braai, dressed in loud Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops, when you could have a proper, traditional English summer party with your friends? Encourage people to frock up, and throw on some posh nosh.
Pimm’s is compulsory (mix it in a pitcher with lemonade, sliced fruit and ice), as are cucumber sandwiches (add tuna to make them palatable), and lots of strawberries and raspberries, which are best served with champagne.
Have a cream tea (scones, jam and cream) for a quaint touch.
Free music festivals
You needn’t trek to Glastonbury, nor fork out to enjoy some tunes on a sunny day. Though you won’t hear the likes of Kanye West or The Killers, these local events are a fun day out.
■ Greenfest, Hammersmith. Sun, Jun 14.
■ Paradise Gardens, Stratford. Jun 19-21.
■ Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (festival.org). Jun 25-28.
■ Shoreditch Festival. Jul 17-22.
Get a taste of local fun at these summer events.
Bike and Kite Festival
Kite fighting and mad mountain bikers are just two of the attractions at this colourful extravaganza.
» Blackheath Common, SE3 7AS. Jun 13-14. Free
A Grand Victorian Fayre
Entertainment 19th-century style in gorgeous surrounds.
» Kenwood House, NW3 7JR (english-heritage.org.uk). Jun 20-21. Free
King Henry’s Tudor Joust
Jousting, sword fights and ye olde antics on horseback.
» Eltham Palace, SE9 5QE (english-heritage.org.uk). Jun 20-21. £12
Lambeth Country Show
The countryside comes to London. Pat an animal and check out the array of stalls.
» Brockwell Park, SE24 0NG (lambeth.gov.uk). Jul 18-19. Free
Twickenham Beekeepers’ Open Day
Learn about bees, and grab some home-made cake.
» The Apiary, TW1 1BH (kingston.gov.uk). Jun 6. Free
Greenford Carnival, Ealing
Loads of music, arts and crafts, and dancing.
» Ravenor Park, UB6 9LB (ealing.gov.uk). Jul 4. £1