9 tips for families at Polo in the Park

high fives crop

 

The official signs are iris-purple, the Champagne Lanson tent is a dashing pink, the women’s dresses and children’s outfits turn them into a sea of peonies, bluebells and bright honeysuckle. Even the gents stride round in trousers the colour of spearmint, lemon meringue and coral.

This was our second year to attend Chesterton’s Polo in the Park in London as a guest of the event. Once again it turned out to be a brilliant day out for the grown-ups as well as our 12-year-old and her friend.

Polo in the Park is a 3-day tournament at the private Hurlingham Club in Fulham. The game is a modified version with a smaller pitch, a larger inflated ball and teams of three — all to make the game faster and more accessible. And let me tell you, it works.

 

Watch out for flying polo ball at Polo in the Park

 

Closeup of flowers at Polo in the Park on Jenography

 

On the day we visited, the girls stood with other spectators at the edge of the arena, as the riders entered and galloped by, dispensing high fives. Then the match was on — fast and furious action up and down the field with a goal scored almost immediately. I particularly enjoyed the announcer, who providing a running patter or narration, describing the rules and lending insight into the tactics and the players — perfect for people new to the sport.

Here, my top tips for attending Polo in the Park with kids:

1. Take the family on Sunday. Friday is typically the day for corporate entertainment. Saturday is the party day, so expect lots of young revellers. Sunday is especially family-friendly, with special activities before the matches kick off. (See number 2.)

 

family at Polo in the Park on Jenography
2. Go early for family fun. This year for the second year children’s entertainers Sharky & George staged a Sunday “pitch invasion”, setting up bouncy slides, games and activities on the field before the polo begins. I’m a huge fan of Sharky & George and have hired them for parties & family gatherings. They combine active fun with silliness — waterbomb catapults and 100-a-side tug-of-war — that engages kids like no other entertainers I’ve seen. There is also a Little Hooves Kids Club (Friday and Sunday), where younger kids can play supervised.

 

Kids on spacehoppers at Polo in the Park on jenography

 

3. Arrive hungry. There are loads of food stalls. Our young guests made a beeline for the pizza stand. There was also burgers and fries, quinoa salads and raw slaw, sushi, barbecue, ice cream, and cakes.

Food at Polo in the Park on Jenography.net

 

4. Enjoy the stylish drinking. There are cocktails by Mahiki, a double-decker Pimm’s bus, Champagne Lanson, and more. If you fancy it, leave the car at home, take public transport and enjoy a tipple or two.

 

At the Pimms bus at Polo in the Park on jenography.net

 

5. Don’t forget the pooch. Dogs are allowed at Hurlingham Park (but not in the Club) and must be kept on a lead the entire time. But my how they love the game, don’t they?

 

Dogs at Polo in the Park on jenography.net

6. Do some window (or actual) shopping. Besides the vendor stalls with jewelry, polo gear and other luxury items, some provide experiences like the chance to pose with polo helmets and mallets, or experience the action from the back of a horse with virtual reality goggles.

 

Posing at Polo in the Park

 

7. Take a picnic blanket. There is some seating in food and drink areas, but a blanket spread on the ground is the perfect spot for kids to relax, play cards and otherwise loll. Or possibly LOL.

 

picnicking at Polo in the Park crop

 

8. Look the part. It doesn’t require your Sunday best, but everyone makes an effort to celebrate a colourful summer chic. Think sundresses and heels (wedges rather than spikes), sports coats and shorts the colour of ice cream flavours. Don’t forget the sunglasses.

Stylish couple at Polo in the Park

 

Jennifer Howze at Polo in the Park

Jenography enjoys the match

 

9. Actually WATCH the polo. This version of the game is fast-paced, easy to follow, interesting and fun. There are lots of distractions but when the matches are on, grab a seat on the grandstand and cheer on the teams.

Polo ponies at Polo in the Park
Mark your calendar for next year to enjoy a quintessential London summer event.

Polo in the Park

Takes place in June at Hurlingham Club, London

Family tickets (2 adults, 2 children) available, kids under age 5 go free. Early bird rate for eager buyers.

Jenography received complimentary tickets to attend Polo in the Park. All opinions are my own.

 

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25 Comments

  1. June 12, 2016 / 9:13 am

    I love the start of the season in London. It’s something I haven’t done for many years now. I like the way they have divided the days up for guests.

    • June 12, 2016 / 4:48 pm

      Ness, I agree. Apparently Saturday can get really crazy — perfect for all those young, single and ready to mingle, but we’d rather have a more relaxed time with the kids. x

  2. June 12, 2016 / 11:46 am

    This really does look like a fantastic day out for the whole family

    • June 12, 2016 / 4:47 pm

      Angela, thanks so much for saying so. We do enjoy it. Highly recommended as an annual outing.

  3. June 12, 2016 / 11:54 am

    Ah, now this is something I’ve never experienced during my time in London. It looks like a very genteel affair. Quintessentially English! I like the fact that the food ranges from easy convenience food to mega-healthy.

    • June 13, 2016 / 3:33 pm

      Nell, you should have seen one of the booths — all raw food and crunchy slaw. Yum! Perfect to counteract all that Champagne!

  4. June 12, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    This looks like an awesome day out! I’ve always wanted to go to a polo match, ever since reading Polo by Jilly Cooper!

    • June 12, 2016 / 4:46 pm

      Ha. LOVE Jilly Cooper and all she does. This is a really nice introduction to the sport. I’ve been to a regular game and it was really interesting, but the field is large and you’re not very close to the action. As you can see from the pictures, all the action plays out just in front of you.

  5. June 12, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    It looks like a great day out – I’ll confess that I’ve never really understood Polo (well, only the Ralph Lauren variety) so wouldn’t have given this a second thought until reading your post. Great tips. Stephen

  6. June 12, 2016 / 9:13 pm

    Oh you had me at food and drink 😉 It looks amazing! What a wonderful day out x

    • June 13, 2016 / 3:34 pm

      Ha ha — Sonia, I like your style. Nevermind the polo, where’s the food?!? 🙂

  7. June 13, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    This is my kind of day – reminds me of going to Henley when I was younger.
    And you’re looking gorgeous, may I say.

    • June 13, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      I went to Henley for the first time last year. Really enjoyed that as well. These events are like nothing from America. Lovely!

  8. June 13, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    Quite a day out – would like to go to the polo some day. Always fancied it since Pretty Woman.

    • June 13, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Unfortunately I did not run into Richard Gere there…

  9. June 13, 2016 / 9:22 pm

    I have never been to a polo match but you make it sound such fun. We love horse racing so will have to add this to our to do list!

    • June 13, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      I didn’t know you liked horse racing. My father in law loves it. I’m more into jumping than racing but in all them you can appreciate these beautiful animals. See you at the races?

  10. June 13, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    I would have never considered taking my boys to the Polo. I used to go quite a lot to the corporate stuff with work!

    • July 3, 2016 / 1:36 pm

      It’s great to be hosted on a corporate do (I’m thinking of the lovely catered lunch and endless Champagne)! Just make sure the kids don’t hog the Lanson. 😉

  11. June 14, 2016 / 8:54 am

    Oh this looks like so much more fun than I would have expected – I think we’d love it x

    • July 3, 2016 / 1:34 pm

      Cass, we quite enjoy it. Mark your calendar for next year!

  12. June 20, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    This sounds really fun – I’ve never been to a polo match but hadn’t realised it was so family-friendly… too much Jilly Cooper, I suspect. And nice hat!

    • June 28, 2016 / 7:17 pm

      Hmm. Must check out the Jilly Cooper aspects next time I go. Maybe.

  13. June 28, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    I have never been to a polo match, but you have persuaded me! BTW, love your hat, so stylish!

    • June 28, 2016 / 7:18 pm

      Mirka, y’all would really love it. Thanks, re: the hat. Start planning your headwear now for next year!

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