What a super spiffing time I’ve been having this past few days. I’ve been blessed to have been invited to attend Henley Royal Regatta not once, but twice this year. In Stewards with friends and a Phyllis Court with family. What a total treat.
The Gloriana – A boat fit for a Queen!
I love Henley. In fact I love ‘the Season‘. When I returned from living in Australia some years ago I vowed that I should do more of things that made me happy. I also vowed to introduce others to the things that made me happy in the hope that they may also come to love these things too.
Panic not. Things that in fact are mostly both affordable and accessible but in reality life is often too hectic to find time to organise these, book tickets, rally people and plot some more…. but all possible with the inciest little bit of effort and soooo worth it.
The first years I was back from Australia I was able to chivvy along several friends and friends of friends to make up parties at each of the events through the Season. Oh and although always glammed up and looking the part we did it on a shoestring too! We managed to do quite a few ‘events’ over the season for several years… hmmm must reinstate them next year. Anyone for Pimms?
So below, I’ve put some of my tips and tricks (if you can’t blag a personal invitation!) as to how to do it in an affordable way:
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – For those arty types amongst us. The exhibition is packed full of contemporary art work which is chosen from thousands submitted by known and unknown artists in the hope of being included. You can purchase most of the work on display (or prints thereof) and often find that you’re the first to see an up and coming artist, so perhaps an investment. There are over 10,000 entries each year. I love the way that the pieces are still chosen by way of a human chain of art-handlers displaying the pieces on the same beaten up stool whilst the academicians vote – 3 votes and they’re through to the next selection round.
Royal Ascot – A spot of horse racing… or celebrity spotting! Silver Ring tickets are the way forward and if you can get 10+ friends together, they’re even cheaper. Worth a punt on a horse to see if you can get the next round in (the drinks aren’t cheap). Either nominate a driver(s) amongst you or go by train. However we found that if someone drove with a boot full of food and booze (a quick trip to the supermarket enroute, beautifully packed into a wicker hamper with some of the packaging removed!), together with a picnic rug or two, then we could have a pre-races party too.
Henley Royal Regatta – If you’re on a budget, you can pitch up by train or car, hamper and picnic rug in hand and walk down the towpath to find a spot from which to enjoy the spectacle of racing and people watch. If you don’t mind a walk, then park for free at Mill End (off the Marlow – Henley road) and walk along the towpath. The Regatta Enclosure is next to the prestigious Stewards but is much less formal and tickets are on general sale.
Polo at Guards Club – One of my personal favourites on a sunny weekend. On a weekend when there’s not a major tournament being played you can park up with your picnic and watch some fast polo from the side lines. In the good old days we’d assess the sunshine level on a Sunday morning, pick up some friends, dash to Tesco where we’d decant a picnic into a wicker basket, purchase newspapers and drive out to Guards for a day in the sunshine. A brilliant want to see a fabulous sport. A cheaper way to go to the Cartier Polo is to pre-book a car parking space, find 4 other friends to share the cost, nip to supermarket for picnic and booze, get there really early, put down the rug and read your papers/snooze until the match begins!
Wimbledon Tennis – Head out to Wimbledon in the first few weeks of play with Ground Admission tickets. These are fairly reasonably priced and allows you to wander round the outside courts ie Courts 3-19. In the early weeks of the tournament you may be lucky enough to see the higher seeded players on these outer courts. A little cheaper are the evening tickets ie after 5pm or even cheaper still are the ones that you buy on the day but need to queue for… the queue’s quite fun too!
Proms – You really do have to love the Proms season at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s varied. It covers a fabulous array of musical genres. And it’s also affordable!
Proms in the Park – If you can’t get to the ‘last night of the Proms’ in the Albert Hall then why not get together with a party of people, picnic, drinks and flags and see it in Hyde Park. As well as the live feed from the Albert Hall there are other acts performing, Kylie, Alfie Boe, Il Divo and more. The tickets are £35 each, this year however you’ve got your entertainment from 5pm until late! Ooh and when I say take a flag, do… you’ll need it for the rousing end to the concert! A few years ago we managed to have 30 different national flags amongst our group waving like crazy things! The questions we had from other spectators about how we were all friends but… 🙂
Oh and a whole heap more fun and frovility to be had at other events during ‘the Season’. Enjoy and remember to let me know what you did, where you were etc…. or to send me an invite!