As summers go, 2021 is going to be the summer of all summers. The big one. The summer to put all other summers to shame. The summer that will serve as a shining example to all summers that come after, proving that we can bounce back bigger and better than ever from anything — even a global pandemic.
Yes, masks may still be dotting the landscape everywhere you look. Yes, Covid restrictions may still be firmly in place. But that doesn’t mean that fun can’t be had; and by ‘fun’, we mean letting loose and waving goodbye to the cares that have burdened our shoulders since March 2020. We mean indulging to a new degree of carefree decadence; and we mean celebrating what it is to be alive during a sun-drenched, sun-dappled, sun-burnished summer. And, luckily, there are a few events on the horizon that will help you to do just that…
Glyndebourne Festival (20 May - 29 August)
All right; Glyndebourne is, granted, not the sort of place to fling your cares away in a wildly exuberant fashion with arms akimbo and voice raised. It’s a formal affair, as we’re sure you’re aware — black tie, to be exact — and it’s a glamorous, world-famous celebration of music, theatre, art, fine dining and fashion.
If you’re partial to opera, Glyndebourne is the event for you. This season is filled to the brim with scintillating operatic delights, including a new production of Verdi’s Luisa Miller and a revival of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. If you’ve been meaning to improve your cultural credentials, Glyndebourne is the place to do it; and then there’s the dining, for which Glyndebourne is so famous.
If you’re a Glyndebourne aficionado, you’ll be well aware that each performance includes a 90-minute interval, during which guests can partake in a long, lazy picnic in the gardens (and these picnics don’t do things by halves; candlesticks have been known to make appearances), or dine in one of three on-site restaurants. This year, chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin have taken the helm at the fine dining restaurant Middle And Over Wallop, with menus including signature dishes inspired by their Michelin-starred London restaurant, Galvin La Chapelle.
The Championships, Wimbledon (28 June - 11 July)
Presumably, we don’t need to fill you in where Wimbledon’s concerned. We will wax lyrical about it, though, because it’s on our agenda as one of the indisputable events of the summer; as we assume it is for you, too.
Like everyone else, we’ll be willing the likes of Andy Murray on to ever greater heights of success and sitting on the edge of our seats during the Finals. But then, of course, Wimbledon is an experience in and of itself — one that sees unfathomable (yet greatly appreciated) amounts of strawberries doing the rounds, champagne glasses perpetually close to overflowing, chinos and unstructured blazers as far as the eye can see, and an atmosphere of glorious, sophisticated celebration.
Of course, Wimbledon will look different this year; and if you’re keen to know exactly how it’ll work, we’ve got all the details you’ll need right here, together with some behind-the-scenes insights (two words: Harris hawk). And if your sights are more firmly set on just how, exactly, you can celebrate Wimbledon in the most jubilant way possible, we suggest you have a read of what Keith Prowse have to offer…
The Championships, Wimbledon
Qatar Goodwood Festival (27 - 31 July)
Ah, Glorious Goodwood. A highlight of every gentleman’s summer social calendar, it’s a celebration of racing, style and entertainment to the highest degree in the picturesque, quintessential setting of the rolling South Downs in Sussex. With 14 action-packed races over five days, the 2021 event is sure to be brimming over with excitement, celebration and some much-needed indulgence.
Firstly, we should emphasise that Glorious Goodwood is an occasion for style. This is no time to let standards slip; rather, this famous event calls for suave, sophisticated elegance to the highest degree. Let the blazers, chinos, silk ties and loafers come forth and prosper; and once you’re there, stylishly clad in a gentlemanly manner, there’s no shortage of fun to be had.
The three enclosures — Richmond, Gordon and Lennox — all offer exceptional experiences, ranging from the Veuve Clicquot Champagne and Seafood Bar and Lawn, to The Earl’s Lawn with Rudimental’s Mark Crown taking the helm as DJ. But if you’re still considering which day you plan to attend, allow us to suggest Saturday 31st July, which sees Glorious Goodwood wrapping up with the Doghouse Party. Trust us, that’s an event you won’t want to miss…
Qatar Goodwood Festival
Cowes Week (31 July - 6 August)
Boats. Boats, boats, boats, as far as the eye can see — and it wouldn’t be Cowes Week if that wasn’t the case. Dating back to 1826 (that’s a lot of boats), it’s an indisputable highlight of both the summer sporting calendar and any gentleman’s social diary; and as the world’s largest sailing regatta of its kind, it stages up to 40 daily races with approximately 1,000 boats. Again, we say: that’s a lot of boats.
Of course, Cowes Week is about a lot more than just boats — as you’re no doubt aware. If you’re one of the 5,000+ competitors taking part, we wish you the very best of nautical luck; but if you’re remaining shoreside, there’s any number of activities on offer. The dedicated waterside hospitality pavilion is perfectly positioned to watch the boats ebbing in and out of the water and the ideal place to socialise; and the members-only Royal Yacht Squadron offers a somewhat more formal hospitality experience.
Of course, since you’re already paying a visit to the Isle of Wight, you may wish to venture slightly further afield while you’re there. May as well take advantage of the fact that you’re able to travel while you can, after all. In which case, you couldn’t do better than dropping into The Hut. If you haven’t already paid a visit to this relaxed beachfront restaurant, we don’t know what you have been doing all this time; but if you’re headed to the fair Isle this summer, that’s the perfect opportunity to rectify the situation forthwith.
Wilderness Festival (5-8 August)
It’s the sleekest, most stylish festival in the UK; and it’s back with a bang for 2021. Now a perennial favourite with lovers of music, good food and theatre, Wilderness is — as we’re sure you know by now — a festival with an elevated, unprecedented level of luxury (not to mention a hell of a guest list), as well as an emphasis not just on entertainment, but on intellectual debates, wellbeing and outdoor sports.
But let’s start with the music. The recently announced line-up for the Main Stage is enough to get ticket sales soaring, with Rudimental, Loyle Carner, Jamie xx, Charlie Cunningham and Jodie Nicholson among the big names. There are plenty of theatrical offerings, too, for those who didn’t get their cultural fill at Glyndebourne; and any number of wellbeing activities, to offset any over-indulgent nights.
Why not try a triyoga Masterclass? Or you could join The Midnight Runners, plunge into some wild swimming; or take inspiration from Cowes, and spend an afternoon boating in true quintessential British fashion. Whether that floats your boat or not, there is no shortage of luxurious, rejuvenating activities on offer for those looking to let their hair down in truly glamorous style.
Isle of Wight Festival (16-19 September)
Liam Gallagher. Tom Jones. You Me At Six. Snow Patrol. David Guetta. Duran Duran. The Script. Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Those are just a few of the names making an appearance at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival; and this truly is a chance to let loose, lose your inhibitions and let it all go*.
*In a gentlemanly fashion, of course. Whatever you do, don’t get too drunk — no one likes the guy making both a scene and a mess — and try to retain at least a modicum of decorum at all times. But otherwise, go for it. You’ve earned a break; and the Isle of Wight Festival is certainly the place for it.
When it comes to the camping, we’d recommend going boutique — the Harvest Moon Boutique option is brimming with luxuries like Deluxe Yurts, Lotus Bells and Airstreams, together with luxury showers (a must) — or opting for the full Under The Stars luxury camping experience if you really want to do the festival in style; this is camping with Egyptian cotton bed linen and hand painted Moroccan tent linings, among other delights.
Isle of Wight Festival
Goodwood Revival (17-19 September)
You’d be right to think you’re experiencing a sense of deja vu; having extolled the glories of Glorious Goodwood, we’re now ready to wax lyrical about its motor racing cousin, the Goodwood Revival. If the Revival isn’t already an integral part of your summer social calendar; well, it really, really should be.
We love a bit of old world glamour; and at the Goodwood Revival, period glamour is the heart and soul. The event recreates the glamour of motor racing as it used to be, in the good old days; and it sees the Goodwood Motor Circuit come alive, both on and off the historic track. It’s the only race meeting to be staged entirely in an authentic period setting, and it sees a return to the halcyon days of Goodwood as the spiritual home of British motor racing.
It’s an event for gentlemen; there’s no doubt about it. We’d advise hastening to get your tickets with all possible speed — and once you’ve secured your place, sit back and look forward to closing your summer with a celebration of bygone days, vintage fashion (yes, really; make sure you get into the spirit of things) and wheel-to-wheel racing around this world-famous, classic circuit: wholly unchanged since its heyday.
Wondering what to wear to all these stellar events? Well, these stylish shirts will get you noticed this summer…
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