Glo­be­trot­ting with the in-crowd

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - FRONT PAGE -

And we’re off! Across Bri­tain, peo­ple are shak­ing out sum­mer frocks, con­tem­plat­ing the mer­its of the block heel and check­ing top hats for moths, ready­ing them­selves for this sum­mer’s ex­hil­a­rat­ing dash through the events col­lec­tively known as “the sea­son”. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the of­fi­cial start of sum­mer since its in­cep­tion in 1913, is done and com­posted, the Glyn­de­bourne Opera Fes­ti­val is in full swing, the Royal Academy Sum­mer Ex­hi­bi­tion opened last week with its hot-ticket preview party and, on Tues­day, the golden gates of As­cot race­course will swing open for the ar­rival of the royal party, universal doff­ing of hats and the first in­tox­i­cat­ing race of this year’s Royal Meet­ing, the mile-long Queen Anne Stakes. Now, be­fore you go “same old”, think about it for a sec­ond. Old? Too right: As­cot race­course alone is older than New Zealand and of our dozen or so sea­son “clas­sics”, only Glyn­de­bourne has yet to make its cen­tury. “Same”? Well they all do a fine job of seem­ing im­mutable, while in fact adroitly chang­ing to fit the de­mands of the time.

Above all, they are unique. Nowhere else in the world has a run of events quite like this, in age, va­ri­ety and qual­ity, be it flow­ers or ten­nis. Or, and this of­ten sur­prises peo­ple, open to any­one – in most cases, even on a mod­est bud­get. That doesn’t mean the rest of the world is miss­ing out on the fun. On the con­trary, most Euro­pean coun­tries have up­mar­ket events, as

With Royal As­cot about to start, Sophie Camp­bell presents her guide to the world’s so­cial sea­sons, from Venice to Vi­enna and Mel­bourne to Mon­treux

All set for the Mel­bourne Cup, a high­light of the Aus­tralian so­cial calendar

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