London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

The Royal Windsor Horse Show

24/04/2004, By Candy Burnyeat

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 668 votes


As spring evolves from the dark days of winter, our thoughts tend to turn to the great outdoors and the many sporting and social events that make the English landscape so unique and special.

One of the sure signs that summer is upon us is Royal Windsor Horse Show. This is the first big event of the social season when the horse world comes alive amidst a general buzz of excitement, champagne and friends.

Royal Windsor presents a great, traditional, very British scene and, leaving nothing to chance, the experienced Royal Windsor Team spends hundreds of thousands to ensure the comfort and entertainment of visitors to this exceptional event.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show is, of course, an extraordinary equestrian spectacle with jumping competitions, an international carriage driving grand prix, the pride of the showing world, Pony Club mounted games, the Horse Whisperer himself, Monty Roberts, and thrilling displays such as the Shetland Pony Grand National, to mention just a few.

But it is more than that. It is an event with dozens of shops offering an enormous variety of retail opportunities, from art and antiques to jewellery and watches, from beds and books to clothing and china, from toys to wine and a great deal more. In addition there are, naturally, a variety of equestrian shops selling anything you could want for horse and carriage.

At the same time, this is a family affair - a part of the Show, which is illustrated by encouraging 12 or unders to come in for free. The events themselves are for all age groups but should the childrenís attention begin to wander there is even a funfair for them to enjoy. Whether they are participating or watching, children have a wonderful, engrossing time and, it surely follows, if they are enjoying themselves, so will you.

If you are a Member of the 62-year-old Royal Windsor Horse Show Club, then an incredible amount of effort will have been spent on giving you a truly excellent day. The Memberís Enclosure provides sumptuous food and champagne in the marquees, your own lawn, and unreserved seating in the grandstand, which enjoys unparalleled views of the action in the Castle Arena. Similarly, the areas set aside for Royal Windsor hospitality carry their own degree of luxury.

The most extraordinary aspect of the Royal Windsor Horse Show is that these are the only days of the year when the public is allowed into Home Park Private. These are, so to speak, the private grounds of Windsor Castle, which run down through beautiful parkland to the River Thames.

The last day culminates with a programme of events and a magnificent firework display to music, set against the floodlit Windsor Castle. And if all these elements of the Royal Windsor Horse Show arenít enough for you, there is much, much more to see and do. It may take more than one day to truly appreciate the equine feast set before you.

Royal Windsor is one of the last major sporting and social events where you can move around without feeling that you are part of a commercial jamboree. There is a refreshing lack of the claustrophobic atmosphere witnessed at other spectacles. It is sedate and reassuring, without losing that ability to entertain, excite and, above all, charm.

Ask the audience that comes back year, after year. The comments are always the same and are complimentary about one of our great, yet in some ways gloriously undiscovered, English institutions.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show takes places between the 13th and 16th of May, at Home Park, Windsor Castle, Berkshire SL4 1DP. For further information see the Royal Windsor Horse Show website or call +44 (0)1753 860633. For Private Entertainment facilities ring the same number and ask for Jane Charley.

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