The Polo season is coming! Picnics with cucumber sandwiches, Pimms and cold champagne, dressing up in red corduroy trousers and tight yellow jumpers and damn the latest fashion trends. At last polo is upon us and there are many terrific matches to attend with athletic men and women leaping on horseback to compete for our entertainment. The sun will shine and we will all get pink faces and drink and eat too much. Glorious! I may even take a few more lessons this year just to appreciate how easy the Polo pros make it look, now where’s my mallet?
Cowdray Park in Midhurst is home to the celebrated Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, launched in 1956. With 10 immaculate pitches and an annual fixture list comprising over 30 competitions at all handicap levels, Cowdray Park is another essential fixture in the British social season. Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty within Viscount Cowdray’s 16,500 acre estate in West Sussex, the game of polo has been played at Cowdray for close on a century. Look out for The Midhurst Town Cup on the 1st July, which is a lovely family occasion.
Guards Polo Club is one of the most famous grounds in the world and has been going since 1955 with HRH The Prince Philip as President. It boasts the superb Mosimann's restaurant founded by world- renowned Chef Anton Mosimann OBE in 1988. Mosimann's had the honour of cooking the wedding dinner at Buckingham Palace for TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! Guards events go from late April till September and it is one of the top venues in the British social season. We recommend the Royal Box package, £225 + VAT, which includes a three-course lunch with wine, traditional afternoon tea, designated Royal Box Steward and Exclusive Royal Box Badges.
Chestertons Polo In The Park is the big bacchanalian festival that takes place at Hurlingham Park in Fulham and this is the grand London polo event of the season, where they offer everything from premium corporate hospitality to family passes. Enjoy access to the Grandstand to watch the world’s best polo, The Grazing Paddock for restaurants and street food, Champagne Lanson Garden, iconic Mahiki and Polo Bars, Slingsby Cocktail Bar, PIMM’s Bus, Fever-Tree Bar and Garden, Luxury Shopping Village, Little Hooves Kids Club and Pitch Invasion (Sunday only). I recommend the High Goal Hospitality, with a reserved table in the Pitchside Pavilion Suite with a private viewing garden at £289 on the Saturday, which is Ladies Day.
Ham Polo in Richmond shares the same social joie de vivre as Hurtwood, with a warm welcome to professionals and newcomers alike. I have enjoyed many a memorable lunch there watching some skilled chukkas and the club serves up superb food and drinks at great value. Smaller clubs like these are more personal and provide a unique setting for socialising or entertaining that are hard to beat anywhere in the capital.
Emsworth Polo Grounds in Windsor is quite exceptional Nestled in 72 acres of beautiful countryside, Emsworth Polo Grounds is a stone’s throw from Windsor and merely 40 minutes from central London. This magnificent but not imperious setting is home to Four Quarters Polo. The Grounds are an ideal venue for a range of activities, from corporate hospitality to private celebrations. Emsworth’s outstanding facilities provide an authentic introduction to the sport and the opportunity to see behind the scenes of a successful polo organisation.
Berkshire Polo Club has a fascinating history, founded by Bryan Morrison, a distinguished businessman and music mogul who managed the careers of Pink Floyd, The Jam, The Bee Gees, George Michael and many more. In 1985 he became enthralled by the sport of polo and the accompanying lifestyle so he purchased a rundown estate. One year later Morrison converted the 220-acre estate into a fully functioning polo club with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales opening the club as its first member. The celebrity studded International Day here is one of the highlights of the social season.
Hurtwood Polo Club is a marvellous gem hidden away in the Surrey Hills. It is the epitome of a family friendly local club, offering diverse activities in a wonderful clubhouse setting. As well as a warm welcome you can expect to see a wide range of celebrities relaxing off duty and enjoying the game.
Look Out For
21 May - 16 Jun: Cartier Queen’s Cup: the final attended by HM The Queen at Guards
27th July: The International Day at The Berkshire 7th July: The Argentine Ambassador’s Cup at Cowdray 21st July: King Power Gold Cup at Cowdray 7th - 9th June: Chestertons Polo in the Park, Hurlingham 19th May: H R Owen Trophy
Check the websites for polo matches to suit your calendar and invite some friends. If you’re not playing already and you want to get more involved then try a few lessons, it’s surprisedly easy to get started.