British summer time may come with a certain reputation; of rain stopping play, of floating tents, of booze soaked mishaps. But sometimes, the stars align, the sun emerges, and there really is no better place to be in the world. Indeed, summers past can be remembered by the great outdoor events which defined them, bathed in a hazy glow of nostalgia. Where we you for Federer Nadal, Wimbledon 2008? Do you remember watching the Stones headline the Pyramid in 2013? Were you part of last year’s royal wedding celebrations, or did you prefer to watch the same day’s F.A cup final? If these memories make you crave the arrival of Blighty’s warmer months, then it’s time to get planning; here are 5 IDEAL, quintessentially British events to attend this summer.
THE GRAND NATIONAL
The Grand National at Aintree Racecourse is watched by millions of people around the world annually, and is the event of the year for horse racing enthusiasts. Fewer things could be more ‘British’ than getting dressed up to the nines and then pissed up to the tens while you flutter aimlessly on a sport you don’t understand. If you’re planning on doing the latter on this year’s event, free bets and offers are available to utilise here; doing so may mitigate the damage you’d otherwise do to your wallet.
HENLEY ROYAL REGATTA
Nothing says an elegant summer outing like watching the Henley Royal Regatta rowing event, which takes place along the River Thames. Visitors can set up a picnic spot on the banks of the river and enjoy five days of over 200 exciting races; Pimms and mud-stained white chinos are obligatory, of course. This year’s event takes place in early July, which also marks the start of Wimbledon. With the two events just 50 miles apart, it’s entirely possible to make it a weekend of classic British sport.
Taking place off the Isle of Wight in August, Cowes Week plays host to over 8000 competitors contesting 40 sailing races each day for a week. But watching the spectacle is only half the fun; the races are followed by partying ashore and fireworks over the harbour at the end of the week. What’s more, it’s free to watch, with paid entry only needed if you’re attending events or parties throughout the week.
MINACK OUTDOOR THEATRE
If all this low engagement, champagne dependent ‘sport’ hasn’t got you excited for summer, perhaps a little culture will get you more in the mood. The Minack Theatre in Cornwall hosts a number of outdoor performances in a truly dramatic location on the rocks above Porthcurno Bay. It’s drawn in crowds for generations with renditions of Shakespeare’s best plays, running throughout the summer up until September. Set to a backdrop of rocky waves and picturesque Cornish scenery, this is something truly special if the weather is behaving predictably. Is that too much to ask?
Enough of the boat shoes, received pronunciation and events you need etiquette lessons to attend. What could be more quintessentially British than braving the elements to get drunk, get sunstroke and get down? Nowhere does this happen in such great numbers and with such great enthusiasm – all televised on the Beeb of course – as Glastonbury Festival. This year has Stormzy topping the bill; a first for British rap music and an event likely to make its mark on the legend of the Great British Summer.