London’s summer social season starts this year with Chestertons Polo in the Park which takes place on 5-7 June at the ‘spiritual home of polo’, Hurlingham Park, Fulham.
Now in its seventh year, the three-day sporting spectacle brings world class polo right to the heart of London. With its vibrant party atmosphere and thrilling polo on display, the tournament is now firmly established as one of the capital’s hottest tickets.
New to this year’s schedule is the addition of an international match, where England will take on Team South America sponsored by Air Europa, in the evening of Friday 5 June. It will be the first England International polo match played at Hurlingham Park since 1939.
For the rest of the tournament, six teams, representing cities from around the world, play with three-man teams on a slightly smaller field than usual, meaning the action is never far away from the spectator. The traditional rules are adapted to create a much more spectator-friendly game – perfect for polo newcomers. This year the visiting teams taking on the London home team are last year’s winners Abu Dhabi, Lagos, Hong Kong, Davos and Dublin.
What’s more, the action on the side of the playing field is just as entertaining as the action on the field – with bars and hospitality spilling around the perimeter of the pitch. Mayfair’s Mahiki Bar will be shaking up some amazing cocktails from its pitchside bar (which happens to be the longest pop up bar in Europe) while the Champagne Lanson Garden Bar provides a wonderfully civilised place to view the sport.
While the adults are fixed on the polo, the younger audience certainly won’t be feeling left out. Throughout all three days, popular children’s entertainers Sharky & George and Eddie Catz will be hosting ‘Kids Club’ on the Hurlingham basketball courts, keeping children of all ages fully occupied with fun games and crafts. While this is all going on, Original Travel will be hosting a parents’ zone, complete with comfy chairs and refreshments where they can relax in the safe knowledge that the kids are being fully entertained.
On Sunday 7 June, before the final polo matches commence, Sharky & George will be organising a giant ‘pitch invasion’, that will see a flash mob of kids entertainment invade the polo pitch, such as a space hoppers polo match and tug of war.
The tournament kicks off on Friday 5 June, dubbed ‘Chukka Friday’, and is a favourite for corporates and their guests. Matches are played well into the evening and with post-5pm tickets at just £10, it’s the perfect place to escape to after work.
Saturday is ‘Ladies Day presented by Little Miracles Drinks’ – the social event of the summer. This day is usually a sell-out long before the event, so it is advised to book early for this day to avoid disappointment.
‘Finals Day’ on Sunday 7 June is a fun action-packed day for everyone, with extra entertainment laid on for children. Spectators can enjoy watching both the Final and Plate Final on this day and see the victors presented with the winning trophy. Mahiki will also be hosting the biggest brunch party in London, the perfect way to round-off the weekend.
Polo lingo explained…
Chukka – A period of play. There are usually four chukkas per match and each one usually lasts seven and a half minutes, except the last Chukka which lasts exactly seven minutes.
Hooter – This is situated off the side of the field and is rung by the time keeper to inform umpires when seven minutes of play in a chukka have elapsed.
Divots – Turf kicked up by ponies’ hooves during the game. Spectators are required to ‘tread in’ the divots at half time.
Hooking – The use of the stick to prevent another player from retrieving or striking the ball.
Knock-in – When a team hit the ball over the backline during an attack, the defending team resumes the game with a free hit from the backline. Equivalent to a goal kick in football.
Millionaire’s Shot – A shot at the ball by a player when the ball is very close to the legs of the pony or sticking it under the belly of the pony.
Riding off – When a player forces an opponent off course by forcing his/her pony into making contact with the other player’s pony.