Pamela has been boasting about the trip she took to England to all who will listen at the golf club again… even the politest of friends roll their eyes as she turns and asks the waiter for a glass of Champers.
You’ve heard all about the ‘darling’ country house she stayed at and how Sam took her for a long drive in the country, but as much as you’d like to find an excuse to leave the table you find yourself asking about what she got up to. You have been eager to pop across the pond for a while, but you can’t quite make up your mind what to see or do when you get there.
Today on the Humphrey’s of Henley blog we are going to share with you the top 5 luxury country pursuits our clients enjoy when they visit England, because we think… in fact we know there will be something in the list that is just perfect for you!
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1. Having a go at flying – Flying across the English countryside is a magnificent experience and one we think you really should try! There
are lots of different aeroplanes you can learn to fly, but one that works well for our clients is experiencing flight in a vintage plane.
The plane our clients love the most is a vintage de Havilland Tiger Moth, which is a biplane from the nineteen thirties. It is truly exhilarating to experience the landscape from the air… with plenty of opportunity for photos you would never get on the ground.
2. Polo masterclass at Guards Polo Club – If you know anything about polo, you will know that the Guards Polo Club is the place
to watch the polo here in the UK. A masterclass here is going to outstrip any other experience you are likely to have in this sport, because, if timed
correctly, you can combine it with an afternoon of professional tournaments.
So, what can you expect in a polo masterclass? You will learn stick management on a wooden horse, before you get introduced to your pony to play and you will be trained by the finest coaches the club has to offer. If that’s not enough, for those of you who already have some experience you can take on a tailored training session to ensure maximum improvement.
Secondly, if you are hitting the UK at just the right time, in this case August, then you get to witness one of the most coveted trophy tournaments in the sport, The Cartier Queen’s Cup. This grand event will be the perfect excuse to buy a new outfit.
“What to wear to a polo match”, you ask. Over the years dressing up for polo has become more casual and you will even see young royals in more casual attire, from; straight cut trousers, fitted shirts and a blazer for the ladies, with loafers, or leather boots for cooler days and for the gentlemen jeans or chinos, with a good quality shirt, or polo shirt… trimmed with loafers, or a leather boot and a wax jacket
3. Clay shooting at a country manor – Clay pigeon shooting has become immensely popular over the last few years and if planned right can be the most magical of days. Classes and sessions can vary in what is on offer, but we usually find our clients have a broad mix of skill range and so we cater the whole day around that, making sure everyone has fun.
Clay shooting is available at lots of different types of venue, but for a more private experience we recommend combining it with a day at a country manor, somewhere were you can enjoy not only the sport, but also the grounds, the landscape and the wonderful dining opportunity.
4. A gentle river cruise – Boating is inextricably English and yes, there is plenty of opportunity to go punting in Oxford or Cambridge, but a private river cruise is quite special. An opportunity to be much more intimate with your surroundings and to cruise in a much more serene manner.
There are many options for river choice across the UK, but what we find clients enjoy the most is a Thames river cruise… because this iconic river is steeped in history and has some of the most wonderous views in the country.
If you go this route you simply must add a dining experience to your day, because there are some truly mouth-watering gastronomic hidey-holes along your route, including a three-star Michelin gem!
5. Hot Air Ballooning across the English countryside – Whist the first manned flight was in France, we have to recognise ballooning on this list of English countryside pursuits, because we Brits just love it!
Taking to the air to gently glide across the landscape is a euphoric experience. Imagine taking in some of the amazing sights that the English countryside has to offer, arm in arm with your man. Chatting away to the pilot as you take pictures and enjoy the view, you are passed a cold glass of bubbly… what a blissful moment.
Now you have some fresh ideas for your trip, which will you choose?
Sometimes when you are on a trip that includes lots of exciting excursions it can feel a little like you are being herded en masse with fellow travellers from site to site, experience to experience. Snap, snap goes the cameras from the family who are inducing your migraine and little Joe has been wiping his ice cream covered mitts on your favourite dress, despite his mother nagging at him as they leave every room, to ‘leave the nice lady alone’.
A bit claustrophobic.
So, how do you avoid that? You get your concierge to book you private tours! Bye bye little Joe and camera snappy family and ‘Hello’ a chance to breathe, to relax and truly be in the moment.