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

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 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( Jun 20-21. Free

King Henry’s Tudor Joust

Jousting, sword fights and ye olde antics on horseback.

» Eltham Palace, SE9 5QE ( 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 ( Jul 18-19. Free

Twickenham Beekeepers’ Open Day

Learn about bees, and grab some home-made cake.

» The Apiary, TW1 1BH ( Jun 6. Free

Greenford Carnival, Ealing 

Loads of music, arts and crafts, and dancing.

» Ravenor Park, UB6 9LB ( Jul 4. £1