Although today’s polo scene may revolve around sophisticated society gatherings, immaculate outfits and, of course, world class talent on the pitch, the game in fact originated on the edges of China and Persia over 2,000 years ago. However, it didn’t take long for the world to discover the appeal of polo, and it passed from Persia to other parts of Asia before arriving in India, where the British encountered it in the 1850s. Today, polo is played all over the world in more than 80 different countries, and some of the sport’s most illustrious events can be found in the United Kingdom. One of the highlights of the annual polo calendar is Polo in the Park, only a short drive from the refined atmosphere of the Chesterfield Mayfair.
A three-day polo tournament, Polo in the Park is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Bringing international teams to the world’s oldest active polo club at Hurlingham Park, the rules of the game have been tweaked to make sure spectators can follow the game with ease – no matter how many Pimm’s they’ve had! Surrounding the manicured pitches are street food stands from Grazing Paddock, Bubbledogs and Kiru; plenty of bars serving Champagne Lanson and cocktails; Robusto cigar vendors; as well as a glamorous shopping village for some retail therapy between games.
Kicking off the proceedings are the International matches on 9th June. Taking on the might of India (led by HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh) under the City Polo Series Rules (which enable a faster-paced game), the England team returns to the spiritual home of polo for only the third time since 1939. Ladies Day will take place the following day, on 10th June, before Finals Day on Sunday 11th June. Make sure to arrive early on the Sunday if you’re attending with children, to take part in the “Pitch Invasion”. A true British tradition, this involves stomping down the divots in preparation for the afternoon games. A series of exhilarating games will follow, before the champions are finally crowned at close of play.
If this fast-paced polo event sound like your perfect afternoon, book a room at the Chesterfield Mayfair, which offers warm British hospitality at its best.
Image Credits: Chestertons Polo in the Park.