Quintessential English summer events 2012

September 5, 2012

By Cristina Boydell

Photography by Cristina Boydell and Stephanie Wolff

Summer is the social season in London – from festivals to annual British sporting events like horse races, polo, tennis and regattas – not to mention the Olympics this year!

For the second year, I had the chance to cover the Henley Royal Regatta on the River Thames for FAJO. With over 200 races over the course of five days, this annual rowing event is rich in history and tradition, running since 1839 in Henley-Upon-Thames. Visitors dress their best for the occasion in floral and maxi dresses, skirts, blazers, bright colours, suits and hemlines, and hats.

Henley Royal Regatta takes places on the scenic River Thames. Photo: Cristina Boydell.

Although there is only a strict dress code for the Stewards Enclouse (men must wear suits, and jackets with a tie or cravat, and ladies must be in skirt suits or dresses below the knee – hats encouraged!), all attendees appeared to be immaculately styled to suit the event. Friends and I opted for dresses, wedges and tailored blazers for Saturday’s racing events (the Regatta ran from June 27 to July 1).

Travelling to Henley from Paddington train station, it was very obvious who was heading to the event! Many groups carried along their own drinks, nibbles, blankets and baskets, ready for a riverside picnic. This is certainly becoming an annual event in my June calendar and I look forward to going back again next year!

Regatta’s attendees were classy and very elegant. Photo: Cristina Boydell.

Another highlight this season was Britain’s most eccentric sporting event, The Chap Olympiad, hosted by Chap Magazine and Bourne and Hollingsworth. This colourful event took place in Bedford Square Gardens in London. A delightful weekend was filled with themed sporting events, live music and shows, while guests were provided drinks, hog-roasts and afternoon tea.

Everyone was dressed in period costumes! True to the Chap style, the Olympiad is designed to reward panache rather than sporting prowess.

The Chap Olympiad is dressy, eccentric and incredibly fun. Photo: Stephanie Wolff.

With events designed to separate the “chaps from the cads”, contestants participated in various games, including historic lawn games called Butler Baiting, Swooning, The Pipeathlon, Shouting at Foreigners, Umbrella Jousting and Ironing Board Surfing. These involved everything from bicycles to mixing a dry martini with vodka.

Ladies and gentlemen competed to win bronze, silver and gold cravats. The Olympiad was like taking a journey back in time – to the old-fashioned days of England!

The Chap Olympiad

Photography by Stephanie Wolff

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