The summer months in the United Kingdom are a time of sporting fervour, with fans from all over the country eagerly anticipating some of the year’s most prestigious and iconic events. From the venerable traditions of golf, cricket and tennis to the thrill of horse racing, there is something for everyone as top-tier sporting spectacles gain the nation’s attention away from the demanding football schedule.
With that in mind, read on as we explore some of the biggest summer sporting events in the UK and delve a bit deeper into what makes them so unique and special — showcasing the passion, athleticism and rich heritage that make these occasions so special and sure to provide moments of unbridled excitement and lasting memories.
Where better to start than with Wimbledon? It’s tennis’ oldest tournament and holds a prominent place in the hearts of sports enthusiasts worldwide, let alone in the UK. Hosted at the prestigious All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in southwest London, Wimbledon is the perfect mix of tradition and modern-day athleticism.
From the royal patronage, A-list celebrity appearances and strawberries and cream to the hallowed turf of Centre Court — which has played host to some of the sport’s most iconic rivalries and has produced countless legends, including Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Bjorn Borg and Martina Navratilova — there’s no denying that Wimbledon is one of the summer’s most esteemed events.
This year, prodigy Carlos Alcaraz took another huge leap in his career by winning his maiden Wimbledon. The young Spaniard beat seven-time champion Novak Djokovic, who was gunning for a record-equalling eighth success and a five-straight win at The Championships, 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in a five-set thriller that lasted for almost five hours on Centre Court.
While it only comes around in the UK once every four years, it seems only right to include the Ashes as the 2023 Series is currently underway at grounds across the country. Dating back to 1882, the fierce battle between England and Australia has a long and storied history and tensions often reach boiling point as neither side want to lose the bi-annual contest.
The Ashes has witnessed many legendary performances and unforgettable moments that have captured the imagination of sports fans even outside of the two participating countries and made cricketers like Shane Warne and Andrew Flintoff household names.
The odds on England winning Ashes and regaining the urn on home soil for the first time since 2015 are not looking good though, as they trail Australia 2-1 in the Series. Australia need just a draw from the final two Tests to retain the Ashes for a fifth successive time, but it’s all still to play in the fourth Test at Old Trafford before the sides head to the Oval for the finale.
Another touch of royalty in the summer sporting activities, Royal Ascot is the UK flat racing season’s premier event and is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious horse racing meetings in the world — with runners from the likes of Australia, the United States and Asia shipped to Berkshire each and every year.
Royal Ascot combines the thrills of horse racing with elegance and pageantry, as the 70-odd thousand spectators that attend the course on a daily basis across the course of the five days are treated to top-class racing, exquisite fashion and the presence of royalty. The highlight of the week is the Gold Cup, which is a test of the world’s top stayers’ stamina and speed.
There was an added bonus for those lucky enough to be there this year as His Majesty Charles III enjoyed his first Royal Ascot winner as King in the King George V Stakes thanks to 18/1 shot Desert Crown.
The oldest golf tournament in the world, The Open dates back to 1860 and is arguably the most prestigious of the sport’s four major championships. Played on links-style courses all across the United Kingdom, including the iconic St Andrew’s in Scotland, Royal St George’s in England and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, the unpredictable weather conditions and incredibly challenging terrain make the Claret Jug one of the toughest prizes to win.
This year’s renewal is the 151st edition of The Open and it will be held at Royal Liverpool between 20-23 July. It’s the first time the Claret Jug has returned to the Merseyside course since Rory McIlroy won it in 2014 and he will be hoping he can finally end his unfathomable major drought back at Holylake this month.