If we were to write a check list for the quintessential British summer it would include the following: strawberries and cream, picnics, Pimms, tennis, iced g & Ts, alfresco drinking and polo (we’re leaving out the rainy bbqs, wasps and sweaty tube) and this weekend it’s all about the Polo in the Park at the Hurlingham Club. Taking place in Putney and spread across three days, it will see teams from six cities around the world take part, including the first England International match at Hurlingham in 76 years. But it isn’t just about the polo – sorry guys – it’s about the people watching, the traditions, the drinking and the parties.
The home of polo in London
Where: Hurlingham Park, Putney
What: Part of Hurlingham Club, Hurlingham Park use to host weekly polo fixtures, which would see society flock to the park to watch the game throughout the summer season. This all ended though in 1939 when the park was needed for the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign during WWII. In 2009 however polo returned to its London home and the crowds flocked once more.
It’s not all people watching and Pimms quaffing
What: A fast and fearless match played on ponies
When: 5-7th June
How: For those who aren’t familiar with the game here are the basics – anyone can understand these. The aim of the game is to score the most goals (see told you it was simple). There are four players on each team and they hit the ball with mallets. Every time a goal is scored the teams change ends and they play in periods of 7 minutes (with 30 seconds over time) called chukkas – the number of chukkas varies, but its around 4-7 and at the end of each chukka, players change ponies. Half time only lasts five minutes and this is when you tread down the divots. Go on take your anger out on that grass. See easy.
The return of the dreaded smart causal
What: Depending on where you are glamourous or smart casual – joy!
How: Ok so first of all just because there are ponies and grass does not mean it is the races, so there is no need ladies for towering fascinators and decorative hats. Dresses, yes; heels, yes (although watch out for sinking in the grass) hats, no unless they’re actually to shade you from the sun. Men no shorts please or trainers – jackets and blazers are required but you needn’t worry about a tie. This is also not a festival so definitely no wellies, you’ll just look out of place.
Because what is summer without outside drinking?
What: Classic summer drinks
Why: We say summer drinking, you say….. Pimms, G&Ts and Champagne. Yes, well done. And so does Polo in the Park; our favourite bus will be there, the Pimms bus; Fentimans have a botanical garden and will be serving up Fentimans gin and tonics and in Champagne Lanson’s garden there will be a celebration of their Lanson Rosé Label.
Because we’re not all there to watch the polo
What: Entertainment for the children
When: 5th – 7th June
Why: So you want to go the polo but you’re not sure what to do with your children. Well you don’t have to worry about leaving them at home because luckily for you, Sharky and George are there. There’ll be giant obstacle courses, flash mobs, soft play for toddlers, creative workshops and Sharky and George’s legendary entertainers. What’s more on Sunday they’ll be throwing a party on the pitch when the children take part on in their own match – their steeds? Spacehoppers. And no you can’t join in.
What: Beach Brunch
When: 7th June
Why: Mahiki are back for the fourth year, they’re branching out of Mayfair and joining everyone in Putney… how sporting! On the Sunday, Mahiki will be taking over at Polo in the Park to host a Tiki themed style Beach Brunch! They’re kicking off the quintessential summer British occasion at midday (late enough for you to sleep yesterday drinks off) and are running through until 7pm. Glimpse at the polo now and then whilst sipping on their exclusive Maui Mallet cocktail created by our award winning tiki-master mixologist Georgi Radev.
What: Shopping Village
When: 5-7th June
Why: You’ve had a couple of glasses of Champagne, you may or may not have the money but hey you want to go and spend some. Alongside the ponies and Pimms you’ll find the likes of Stella & Dot, Estella Bartlett, Art to Life, Poppy London and Cutler & Gross you can find everything from jewellery to Cuban cigars to luxury eyewear.