The Summer Social Season 2018: The Best Festivals, Parties & Events

01 Jun 2018 | By Abi Sritharan

Join the crème of the capital at this year’s finest festivals and events, from frolicking in the park for opera and sport to a world-famous sailing soiree

1. Glyndebourne Festival, 19 May-26 August

Glyndebourne is one of the world’s oldest and most revered opera festivals, set against the rolling green hills of East Sussex. Highlights at the annual black-tie event include Madama Butterfly and Pelléas et Mélisande, the first new production of Pelléas in nearly 20 years and a company debut by director Stefan Herheim. Performances begin late afternoon, but we recommend arriving early for a picnic on the pristine lawn.

2. Opera Holland Park, 29 May-28 July

Opera Holland Park presents a festival of staged productions each year in a canopied auditorium in leafy Holland Park. This year’s dynamic programme features a mix of established artists and rising stars, as well as the Opera Holland Park Chorus and City of London Sinfonia.

3. Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, 12 June-19 August

This year, The Royal Academy celebrates its 250th Summer Exhibition with an eclectic showcase curated by Grayson Perry. For the first time, the exhibition will be spread across the RA and spill into the streets of Mayfair and culminates with an RA Late fancy-dress party on the Saturday night.

4. The Royal Ascot, 19-23 June

Don your finery and head to the world-famous Royal Ascot this June for five fabulous days of hats, horses and bonhomie. Cheer on the races from a choice of four enclosures and join in a champagne-fuelled singalong around the bandstand.

5. Masterpiece London, 27 June-4 July

Masterpiece London launched in 2010 and has a unique focus on cross-collecting, spanning works of art, furniture and jewellery. The fair brings together more than 150 international exhibitors and collectors for a one of a kind cultural experience in the heart of London. Read more about Masterpiece London HERE.

6. The Championships, Wimbledon, 2-15 July

Reach for the strawberries – the coveted tennis event is back this July. Didn’t manage to bag tickets in the ballot? Don’t despair, you can catch the action all across London at various screening spaces and parties. Stay tuned for our guide to the tennis season, coming soon on Luxury London.

7. RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, 3-8 July

The Royal Horticultural Society’s largest flower festival returns to Hampton Court Palace in July for a colourful celebration of plants, flowers and gardens. Explore the historic grounds of Hampton Court Palace; try a hands-on workshop or learn how to cultivate fruit and vegetables with Raymond Blanc.

8. Henley Royal Regatta, 4-8 July

This world-famous regatta was founded in 1839 and remains a highlight of the British summer season. The five-day boating extravaganza is accompanied by pop-up bars and restaurants, dotted down the Thames.

9. British Grand Prix – 8 July

Calling all petrol heads, the biggest motoring event is back this July. Watch the fastest drivers in the world speed around the iconic circuit for the coveted cup and winning title.

10. BBC Proms, 13 July-8 September

Enjoy eight wonderful weeks of daily live performances at the Royal Albert Hall, which has hosted the BBC Proms since 1941. The event brings together the world’s greatest performers and orchestras for an eclectic programme of beautiful symphonies covering centuries of composition.

11. Lendy Cowes Week – 4-11 August

Each year, thousands of Londoners descend upon the Isle of Wight for Cowes Week, the largest sailing regatta in Europe. The prestigious sailing soiree is accompanied by a bounty of shore-side entertainment including pop-up restaurants, bars and bandstands. Tip: don’t charter a yacht unsupervised, unless it’s your own, of course.