It’s barely a couple of weeks since we entered BST and its impact is already palpable – parks and beer gardens full of vests and flip flops at the first shimmer of sunlight, gentlemen in anguish trying to decide between wearing Ray-Bans and carrying a bespoke umbrella and the Twitter-feed awash with gasps of incredulity when the temperature falls below 15 degrees. In April. In London.
Leaving GMT behind, however, does mean that summer, with its festivals, sporting events and mindless frivolity in the name of culture and sophistication, is only a few short weeks away. Read on for our guide on where to hobnob with the great and the good over the next few months.
France is the focus for every true ‘bon vivant’ in May, starting with the Cannes Film Festival from 11th May, where the cream of the international film industry will be hoping to impress the world’s media with their latest movie offerings and, more importantly, their party hopping skills.
True sporting fans will stay on in the South of France for the rest of the month in anticipation of arguably the most exciting race, and certainly the most glamorous event, in the Formula 1 calendar. With Monaco’s luxury yachts, stunning hotels and world-renowned racetrack, it’s sure to be a weekend of exhilarating races and champagne chugging.
From Monaco, head to the capital, where Paris will be transformed into a battleground for the world’s top tennis players at the finest clay court tournament in the world. The French Open starts on 22nd May but the final rounds will be held after the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, continuing until the final on 5th June.
In the UK, the season starts with a gentler and subtler approach with the opening night of the Glyndebourne Opera Festival on 21st May. With hampers-a-plenty, this year’s festival opens with a new production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, and will entertain picnicking Londoners with a variety of world-class performances throughout the summer months.
The world’s most famous flower show blooms in Chelsea from 24th May, with a celebration of the highest quality horticulture and spectacular visual feasts, featuring the latest trends and designs from garden designers, nurseries and exhibitors.
June will leave even the most ardent social butterflies with barely a second to catch an air kiss, when London’s social calendar strikes a few aces, commencing with the Aegon tennis championship at Queen’s from 6th to 12th June.
While the tennis world has a short break, all eyes turn to Royal Ascot, the centrepiece of Ascot’s racing year, and one of the world’s most famous race meetings, dating back to 1711. The royal family arrive each day in a horse-drawn carriage but the question most people will be asking is this: will the fake tan on display on ladies’ day rival Aintree?
From 16th to 19th June, the Taste of London festival returns to Regent’s Park, with 40 top London restaurants and some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs in attendance to satiate every foodie, gourmand and Michelin man.
From gourmet dining and celebrated chefs, we turn to strawberries and cream, Cliff Richard and rain stopping play at Wimbledon from 20th June. Centre Court tickets are among the most sought after tickets for tennis fans, but perching on Mount Murray with a glass of Pimm’s or soaking up the atmosphere in Wimbledon village is what makes this tournament truly unique.
For the music lovers, the month kicks off with the Hampton Court Festival, a glorious setting in Surrey, where the line-up for this year’s festival includes Bryan Adams, Jules Holland and James Blunt. For the more hardcore, June is one big mud bath with the Isle of Wight Festival on the weekend of 10th June, featuring Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and Kasabian as headline acts, while Glastonbury skids into town on 22nd June, with U2, Coldplay and Beyonce headlining on the famed Pyramid stage.
The more high maintenance can get their festival fix without leaving the capital when Hard Rock Calling visits Hyde Park on the weekend of the 25th of June. Bon Jovi and Rod Stewart will headline, but more importantly, your chauffeur can wait for you outside the gates to whisk you off into the night without a tent or pair of wellies in sight.
For enthusiasts and collectors of modern, classic, super and luxury cars, Salon Privé is an absolute must, with this year’s event being held at Syon Park from 22nd June.
June comes to a close with the Henley Royal Regatta when Henley-on-Thames is brought to life with 100 world-class races over 5 days, providing a perfect opportunity for a day of lavish hospitality on the banks of the River Thames.
‘The Season’, as it’s often called, is a uniquely British tradition and offers an array of opportunities to dust off the Sunday best, don a fedora and align the pocket squares, with barely a farmer’s tan or Bermuda shorts in sight.
For further information or for tickets to these events, contact our resident concierge, Emyr Thomas from Bon Vivant. Events during July and August will be covered at a later date. Follow Emyr on Twitter.