My friend Jen and I decided to flee the north for the day, to catch some southern sun at our first ever polo experience. We are both big horse lovers, so we can both appreciate the sport! We were lucky enough to get tickets to one of the most highly anticipated and prestigious events in the country, the Royal Salute Coronation Cup. England vs. Commonwealth, held at The Guards Polo Club, Windsor.
We couldn’t wait to see what the day had in store, so on went our frocks and we were off to Windsor Park. The grounds were stunning. We found ourselves surrounded by lakes, bridges, horse and carriages and perfectly presented flower beds, like something out of a fairy tale.
We arrived at noon and the main game wasn’t until 3pm, so we wandered the stalls and grabbed some drinks – Pimms was a must on a hot summers day! It hit 30° and we were sweltering, so we moved to the shade and watched the world go by, it was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday. When it came to gluten free food, there wasn’t a huge amount of choice but I got a bowl of corn nachos with guacamole / salsa, which helped put me on (but I have to admit you didn’t get much for your money!).
Just before 3pm we went to take our seats, we were in the ‘Clubhouse Grandstand’ which was the next step up from the general admission tickets. To get to our seats we had to walk through what appeared to be a secret garden walkway, with what was believed to be the Queens favourite flowers lining the walls and ceiling. At the end it suddenly opened out onto the field, it was quite surreal. We looked back and saw a small red carpet, which was obviously where the celebrities had their photos taken beforehand. Thom Evans (rugby player) and Naomi Harris (Actress – James Bond) both made an appearance. They were the only faces I recognised, but it was likely others were lurking in the crowds. In the centre of the seating was the Royal Box, where HRH, Duke of Edinburgh was positioned, he founded the club in 1955 so it was only appropriate that he was present!
We sat in the grandstand and it began. It was amazing to watch. The sheer speed and precision, it was very impressive. We were so engrossed with the game that the first half flew by, and all of a sudden everyone was up and out of their chairs again. It is tradition that at half time the women go onto the field and ‘push in the divets’, so the entire crowd poured onto the grass and the atmosphere was fantastic. We were also told that there was a pound coin somewhere on the field, and whoever found it would win a bottle of 21 year old Royal Salute Whiskey! I think that may have been my favourite moment of the day, it was such a unique experience.
It remained a tight game into the second half, both teams drawing and leading at an equal pace but in the end, the Commonwealth took home the trophy with a 12-11 win. Then came the presentation. Prince Phillip made his way down to congratulate the players and present the cup to the winning teams captain. We went onto the field for this and stood on the sidelines whilst the presentation took place.
What a day! We finished off by relaxing in the sun on the complementary picnic blankets and deck chairs by the club house. If I was to go again, I would probably just purchase a general admin ticket and take a blanket and homemade picnic, as to be honest I don’t think there was a bad seat in the house! If you don’t want to spend money to get into the additional bars etc or get super dressed up, then you really don’t have to. If you are as lucky as we were with the weather, you will have a spectacular day no matter what.