AIRS AND GRACES

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THE ETI­QUETTE OF THE SO­CIAL SEA­SON

What to wear

Sea­son events de­mand a fiendish com­bi­na­tion of not get­ting it wrong and not try­ing too hard: play by the rules but don’t over­dress is a good maxim.

Women: wear flats, block heels, any­thing that will not spike you into a lawn, break your an­kle or leave you trudg­ing home with bleed­ing feet. A key sea­son at­tribute is en­durance: you walk miles, only to be folded up on a pic­nic rug.

As­cot’s Royal En­clo­sure re­ally will en­force rules such as no spaghetti straps, no fas­ci­na­tors and no skirts above the knee. The Stew­ards’ En­clo­sure at the Hen­ley Royal Re­gatta is the same on skirts, more re­laxed about hats and straps. It is em­bar­rass­ing and ex­pen­sive to be turned away: local bou­tiques are used to en­raged women can­ter­ing in for new gear. Hur­rah for Mod­esty Wear, eh?

Chaps, don’t fall into the he trap of wear­ing ng wed­ding gear to Royal As­cot. cot. It may be sub­tle, ub­tle, but it’s dif­fer­ent. Shops rent­ing As­cot wear will know the right look.

Dress­ingg

draws a soigné Euro­pean crowd to Monte-Carlo Sports Club for this char­ity ball each March. There’s al­ways a theme: tweak (and only tweak) your dress ac­cord­ingly.

Black Tomato (Black­tomato.com, 0207 426 9888) can ar­range a four-night pack­age to Monte Carlo dur­ing the Bal de la Rose Monaco (dates for next year to be con­firmed) from £2,179 per per­son. Price in­cludes four nights at the Ho­tel Metropole Monte Carlo in a deluxe dou­ble room with Joël Robu­chon break­fast, he­li­copter trans­fer from Nice Côte d’Azur In­ter­na­tional Air­port to Monaco, and ex­pe­ri­ences in Monaco. More in­for­ma­tion: monte-carlo. mc/en/vis­its/bal-de-la-rose/

APRIL

up at the Chelsea Flower Show and Wim­ble­don is re­ally only for mod­els, celebrities and the Queen – just dress for the weather. Prob­a­bly a c coat.

How to be­have­beha Don’t drop­dro your cham­pag cham­pagne glass wh while treadin tread­ing div­ots a at the polo;pol ponie ponies have to use th the field af­ter you,y re­mem remember. Figh Fight­ing, while it adds greatly to the gai­ety of the na­tion, is not al­lowed any­where and will get you thrown out and pos­si­bly ar­rested.

Don’t try to buy a plant at the Chelsea Flower Show. Cal­en­dars and gar­den­ing gloves (sun­dries in Chelsea par­lance) are fine, but any­thing large or organic must be paid for and taken away on the last day (see be­low). Mo­biles off. Prop­erly off. Or you will be “Asked To Leave The En­clo­sure”.

Never at­tempt to move some­one’s pic­nic set-up on the lawn at Glyn­de­bourne. Not even an inch.

What not to miss

The last night fire­works (free), end­ing the sail­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at Cowes Week – keep an eye on news bul­letins to check they are def­i­nitely go­ing ahead this year.

The Royal Pro­ces­sion down the race­course at 2.30pm daily dur­ing Royal As­cot, worth it just for the glares aimed at men who for­get to doff their hats.

A ride in one of the Um­pires’ launches in the Stew­ards’ En­clo­sure at Hen­ley – not easy, but worth ask­ing when you ar­rive.

The 4pm sell-off at the Chelsea Flower Show: buy Satur­day tick­ets just to see sev­eral tons of fo­liage bounce up the road and into Sloane Square sta­tion.

The “cav­alry dash”, aka the Qatar Stew­ards Cup, on the fifth and last day of what I still call Glo­ri­ous Good­wood, with up to 20 horses sprint­ing six fur­longs. around 200 yachts com­pet­ing in dif­fer­ent classes over six days, plus end­less rum-fuelled par­ties and lob­ster bar­be­cues on beaches, boats and in pri­vate houses. The place to be is the har­bour with its race vil­lage and mari­nas – or aboard with an off-duty rac­ing crew.

A 11-day tailor-made trip to Ne­vis and An­tigua costs from £3,086 per per­son (two shar­ing), in­clud­ing seven nights B&B at the Inn at English Har­bour on An­tigua, close to many of the key van­tage points for Sail­ing Week, re­turn flights with Bri­tish Air­ways, taxes, trans­fers and VIP ar­rival ser­vice in An­tigua. Aud­ley Travel (01993 838275; au­d­ley­travel.com/an­tigua). More in­for­ma­tion: sail­ing­week.com

MAY Ken­tucky Derby

It takes just two min­utes to win (or watch) this classy, 143-year old Amer­i­can Flat race, run on the Churchill Downs at the end of a two-week rac­ing fes­ti­val. If come May 5 you are not in the stands on “Mil­lion­aires Row”, there’s a party in the mid­dle of the course, just like our own Ep­som Derby in early June. Drink mint juleps, eat bur­goo (a stew) and take binoc­u­lars to see the Win­ner’s Cir­cle with the tri­umphant horse draped in a blan­ket of roses.

A 16-day tailor-made self-drive tour through Ken­tucky and Ten­nessee costs from £2,950 per per­son (two shar­ing), in­clud­ing re­turn flights, two nights in Louisville and gen­eral ad­mis­sion to the Derby. Hos­pi­tal­ity is avail­able at ex­tra cost. Aud­ley Travel (01993 838755; au­d­ley­travel.com/USA). More in­for­ma­tion: ken­tuck­y­derby.com

JUNE

As­cot has rules on fas­ci­na­tors, be­low

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