Ascot Summer Guide 2018

When the sun shines, the British countryside really comes into its own, with outdoor events aplenty and more than a few glasses of Pimm’s being poured. This is certainly true of Ascot, found in the picturesque county of Berkshire. Stay up to date with all the summer events in Ascot this year with our guide to the best local happenings.

12th - 16th July 2018

My Beautiful Circus

Known for its glamorous, magical shows, Gifford’s Circus is touring England this summer, setting up the big top in the lush green expanse of Windsor Great Park in July. This year’s show, My Beautiful Circus, celebrates the birth of circus itself and aims to demonstrate in spectacular fashion how life-affirming and diverse the circus arts can really be.

Windsor Great Park

19th - 21st July 2018

Luna Cinema

Love, laughs and dramatic intensity are all on the cinematic docket during this year’s Luna Cinema residency at Ascot Racecourse, with outdoor screenings of Bridesmaids, Dunkirk and the American musical, The Greatest Showman. This July, guests can settle in to watch the screenings under the stars with popcorn and Pimm’s in the atmospheric surrounds of the Old Paddock.

Ascot Racecourse, High St, Ascot, SL5 7JX

4th August 2018

Battle Proms Concert

A summer picnic concert series that takes place in the grounds of stately homes around the country, the Battle Proms Concerts traditionally conclude with live-firing replica Napoleonic cannons joining the orchestra in renditions of classics like Beethoven’s Battle Symphony and the 1812 Overture. Hosted at Highclere Castle, this year’s programme also includes an aerial Spitfire display, an evening gun display to commemorate the end of World War One, a cavalry skill-at-arms display, fireworks and music.

Highclere Castle, Highclere Park, Highclere, Newbury, RG20 9RN

25th - 26th August 2018

Windsor Food Festival

Taking place over the August bank holiday weekend, this year’s Windsor Food Festival has a packed programme that includes live cooking displays, wine tastings and cocktail making demonstrations, book signings and live music. Artisanal food and drink stalls will also be open throughout the weekend, selling some of the country’s best produce and products.

Alexandra Gardens, Windsor, SL4 1QZ

4th October 2017 – 25th March 2018

Stanley Spencer in Focus

Visitors to the Stanley Spencer Gallery this winter will be treated to an impressive in-depth look at the eponymous artist, featuring several newly acquired paintings and drawings. The exhibition will include the highly-acclaimed Portrait of Lathonia Mercer, gifted by the sitter herself, which Lord Mark Poltimore, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, considered to display Spencer’s ‘majestic… almost pre-Raphaelite exactness.’

Stanley Spencer Gallery
The Kings Hall, High Street, Cookham, SL6 9SJ

20th January 2018

Clarence House Chase Raceday

The new year gets off to a galloping start with the Clarence House Chase Raceday, one of the most popular racing days of the Jumps season. Every year, the event attracts a stellar roster of entries for an exhilarating day at the races, which will be accompanied by performances from the jazz and swing band, Sousaphonia.

Ascot Racecourse, High St, Ascot, SL5 7JX

April – October 2018

Royal Tennis at Hampton Court

Tennis has been played at Hampton Court since the 16th century, when a court was built for Cardinal Wolsey. One wall of Wolsey’s court remains, with the rest built later for King Charles I. During the summer months, the palace opens the historic (and now private tennis club) court up to visitors, offering the chance to watch a match, as well as take in displays, including interactive handmade tennis balls and custom-made racquets.

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU

22nd April 2018

NGS Petersham House Open Gardens

For much of the year, the gardens of Petersham House, found adjacent to Petersham Nurseries – featuring topiaries, herbaceous borders, vegetable gardens, and sweeping lawns – are just out reach. But for one day this spring, as part of the National Garden Scheme Open Day, they open up, allowing visitors to stroll and soak up springtime at its most picturesque.

Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, TW10 7AB

9th – 13th May 2018

Royal Windsor Horse Show

Equestrians and enthusiasts alike will converge on the private grounds of Windsor Castle this May to attend the famed Royal Windsor Horse Show. Taking place over five days, the event will feature everything from 5* show jumping and 4* dressage, to one of the most important UK driving events, the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix.

Windsor Castle, Windsor, SL4 1NJ

17th – 23rd May 2018

‘Script to Screen' Tours, Talks and Tea

Just as the azaleas bloom in the expansive gardens, Highclere Castle throws open its gates to open visitors for its ‘Script to Screen’ event. In addition to a light lunch and a tour of the castle that’s best known to the world as the setting for Downton Abbey (among numerous other on-screen appearances), the event also includes a talk on how books and scripts do indeed make the journey from script to screen.

Highclere Castle,

22nd May – 18th June 2018

Cartier Queen's Cup at Guards Polo Club

One of the highlights of the racing season in the UK and one of the most important 22-goal polo tournaments worldwide, the Cartier Queen’s Cup promises to live up to its laudable reputation yet again. Some of the world’s best players are scheduled to play during the tournament, but it’s hard to tell what will glitter more, the sporting royalty on the pitch, or the glamorous attendees fresh from Cartier’s invite list.

Guards Polo Club, Smiths Lawn/Windsor Great Park, Egham, TW20 0HP

5th - 20th June 2018

Hampton Court Palace Festival

Tom Jones, The Beach Boys, Lionel Ritchie and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra are performing at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Festival, a two-week summer musical extravaganza. Held in the historic Tudor Courtyard, the concerts are seated, and the gates open early for those who want to enjoy drinks and picnics in the beautiful Palace Gardens before the festivities begin.

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU

5th - 24th June 2018

The Royal Windsor Cup

Guard’s Polo Club’s illustrious competition returns this June for a three-week display of equine excellence. Considered by many to be the best 15-goal tournament in the country, the Royal Windsor Cup concludes with the popular Finals Day—traditionally attended by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh—featuring a parade from the British Driving Society.

Guard’s Polo Club, Smiths Lawn/Windsor Great Park, Egham, TW20 0HP

8th June 2018

Create a Cottage Garden

A unique chance to learn from Petersham Nurseries’ resident horticultural expert, Amanda Brame, this event encompasses discussions and demonstrations designed to help keen gardeners create their own cottage garden. This heritage style of gardening combines fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to beautiful, if irregular, effect, which has the added benefit of acting as natural pest prevention.

Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, TW10 7AB

19th - 23rd June 2018

Royal Ascot

An annual highlight of the international racing calendar and the British social scene, Royal Ascot returns this year with over £6.5 million in prize money. 18 hotly-contested Group races (eight of which are Group One) are scheduled across the five days of the event, with glamorous guests eagerly watching the world-class racing while sipping Champagne and Pimm’s from the deluxe enclosures.

Ascot Racecourse, High St, Ascot, SL5 7JX

26th - 30th June 2018

Jamaica Inn

Daphne Du Maurier’s chilling tale of scheming, strangers, and smugglers, Jamaica Inn is being staged at the Theatre Royal Windsor this June. The story begins with a dying wish and takes in the tumultuous sweep of 19th century Cornwall as it moves on, exploring human darkness, temptation and love along the way.

Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor, SL4 1PS

Every Saturday at 1pm

Duke Street Experience at the Windsor & Eton Brewery

A brewery, beer shop and bar, the Windsor & Eton Brewery is a triple threat for beer lovers. For those looking to glean a little more about the brewery, there’s now a weekly tour of the space, with a few accompanying half pints, explaining and showing how the beer is made, as well as illuminating the brewery’s ambitions to make Windsor & Eton beers more famous than any other attraction in the area.

Windsor & Eton Brewery, 1 Vansittart Estate, Windsor, SL4 1SE