Summer events epitomize British style and tradition, attracting people around the globe. As Summer 2020 seems to be cancelled, let’s discuss Summer 2021 and what should be in the diary.

Photo of a well-dressed couple, wearing leather brogues and floral high-heels. This is the sort of fashion popular for the British social season.
Leather brogues and floral heels; classic British attire.
Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

History, culture and heaps of British sophistication make up the summer social season. Wall hung calendars boast the finest season and they buy outfits months in advance. Nothing is last minute, it’s years of preparation. Charming folk descend for days and weeks of world-class sporting, refined entertainment, and good old-fashioned fun.

As we enter July, and all British social events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, there’s no doubt meetings will be underway to make summer 2021 the best British season yet. There are so many more events I’d like to add to this list, but these 6 are exceptional British meetings not to be missed. Get your pen at the ready, your diary will thank you later.

Social Event #1: Badminton Horse Trials, 5-9 May

Photo of a show-jumping horse jumping a fence. Equestrian events are important for the British social calendar.
Badminton Horse Trials. Equestrian events are important for the British social calendar.
Photo on Flickr by Adam Blake

Set on the gorgeous Badminton Estate in South Gloucestershire, home to the Duke of Beaufort, Badminton Horse Trials kick start the British summer calendar perfectly. It’s a 5-day, rural extravaganza, focusing on the equestrian sport of eventing. Events include dressage, show-jumping, and cross-country, but it doesn’t stop there. Shop ’till you drop at the shopping village hosting over 500 retailers, tickle your taste buds trying classic British cuisine, and take advantage of the summer by staying the night and glamping.

Social Event #2: RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 20 May

Photo of a poppy display for the flower show, celebrating British lives lost in the war.
A poppy display at Chelsea Flower Show, celebrating British lives lost in the war.
Photo on Flickr by Kent Wang

Founded in 1804, this the world’s most famous flower show, and boy are the British proud of it. Say hello to summer at this floral feast to observe spectacular garden designs in the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. It’s a social event for everyone, particularly those with a strong interest in horticulture.

There is always a theme, such as climate change, which designers have to incorporate into their work. Tickets are scarce, but if you miss out, head to Sloane Square to spot the talent at the Chelsea in Bloom competition. Last year’s theme was Under the Sea! Nothing welcomes Summer better.

Social Event #3: Royal Ascot, 15-19 June

Photo of the royal procession at Royal Ascot. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip arrive in British style.
Royal Ascot, British elegance at its finest.
Photo by Dumphasizer on Flickr

Situated approximately six miles from Windsor Castle, Royal Ascot is an event frequented by many royals, including an annual visit by British monarch, Elizabeth II. Arriving by horse-drawn carriage, the royals stun the crowd with their elegance during a daily procession, signalling the race-day has commenced. The world’s most outstanding racehorses grace Ascot in June to compete for millions of pounds in prize money.

This British summer event is the crème de la crème of the horse racing calendar. It’s all top hats, posh frocks, and buckets of Moët. Grab your hats; place your bets. Indulge yourself in Berkshire for a British social event like no other.

Social Event #4: Wimbledon, June 28-July 11

Photo of a tennis match on centre court at Wimbledon. A highly regarded social event.
Wimbledon is a highly regarded social event on the British calendar.
Photo by Shep McAllister on Unsplash

It’s impossible to discuss the British social season without including everyone’s favourite championship, Wimbledon. Cancelled for the first time this year since WWII, it’s the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and arguably the most prestigious. Known for strawberries and cream, white hats, and frequent visits from celebrities, this two-week grand slam tournament is the social event of summer.

No matter what the weather, or who’s on the scoreboard, the British relish this historical event. Those at home throw summer parties for the finals and those lucky enough to be there celebrate on Centre Court with the world’s greatest players as they play compete for victory.

Social Event #5: Henley Royal Regatta, 29 June-4 July

Photo of a men's eight rowing boat floating past the crowd at British social event Henley Regatta.
Men’s eight rowing boat floating past the crowd at British social event Henley Regatta.
Photo on Flickr by David Soanes

This is a lovely event for the summer social calendar. If you’re into water sports, notably rowing, this is the British summer event for you. This famous rowing tournament is held annually on the River Thames, by Henley-on-Thames town. The races follow a head-to-head, knock-out style.

As a result, it’s a feisty and incredibly exhilarating five-day social event. With over 300 races of international standard, this prestigious summer competition will keep you on your toes. As usual, restaurants, shops and bars litter the event, allowing visitors to indulge, relaxing into the British ambiance.

Social Event #6: Notting Hill Carnival, 29-30 August

Photo of gorgeous Notting Hill carnival performers wearing feather and jewels. The summer season isn't complete without this event in the capital.
Performers at Notting Hill Carnival, a summer event not to miss in the capital.
Photo on Flickr by Charlie Marshall

Every year, the streets of Notting Hill, Kensington, make way for the spectacular Notting Hill Carnival. As the world’s second-largest street festival, the outdoor celebration unites diverse multicultural communities for a free and fabulous party in London.

‘The Notting Hill Carnival originated in 1964 as a way for the West Indian community in the UK to celebrate their traditions and culture.’

The London Notting Hill Carnival

It’s been growing ever since, now attracting over 2 million people a year from all over the world (11 times bigger than Glastonbury festival!) who come to see the incredible grand parade, musical entertainment and feast on food from around the world. This classic British event takes place on August summer bank-holiday weekend, making it a popular social event for those enjoying time off. It’s usually scorching hot, so don’t forget water and sun-cream.

Part of what makes the British summer so exciting is the array of soirees that accompany it. We book summer holidays abroad around these social events, with some choosing to remain on home soil to catch the entire season. This summer season has been bare, but no doubt all will arrive next year ready to make up for it. So if you’re up for a summer of excitement and elegance, look no further than the 2021 British summer social season. We’re ready for it!

What is your favourite social event of summer? What did you miss this year?

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