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WEST SUSSEX’S COWDRAY IS SET FOR SUMMER

The most anticipated polo tournament in the UK calendar begins at Cowdray today with the start of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup. Players and spectators from around the world will head to Cowdray’s famous polo lawns – on the edge of the market town of Midhurst in West Sussex – over the course of the tournament that concludes with Sunday 17th July’s final. 

As the buzz of excitement builds, a great variety of attractions will also take summer in its grip, across the 16,500 acre Cowdray Estate (www.cowdray.co.uk), with food, exclusive-use celebrations, sport, art & heritage, wellbeing and cottage staycationing highlights offering something for everyone.

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FOOD: Cowdray Farm Shop & Café (www.cowdray.co.uk/farm-shop-and-cafe/)

The perfect polo picnic? Rupert Titchmarsh, Manager of the Cowdray Farm Shop & Café reels off just some of his favourite essentials:  “Springs’ Smokery Salmon on rye bread, a Cowdray pork pie with piccalilli, fresh local watercress, goat’s cheese on Peter’s Yard biscuits, a lemon tart with raspberries and cream, truffles by Noble and Stace ……and, of course, Louis Roederer Champagne!”

The Cowdray Farm Shop & Cafe’s ‘Lawn Hamper’ (£40.00 for two people/£55.00 for four) and ‘Luxury Hamper’ (£65.00 & £110.00 – with Louis Roederer Champagne among the added items) can be pre-ordered ahead of time (three days’ notice required) and then collected en route to the polo. Simply download a booking form at: www.cowdray.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Polo-Picnic-Booking-Form-2016-1.pdf or call 01730 815152 to chat through your particular preferences. Alternatively, pack up your own picnic in a classic wicker hamper, available from the Farm Shop at £35.

New Juice Bar opens on Monday 27th June – the shared vision of Lady Cowdray and her daughter, Emily, the new Juice Bar will champion take-away raw, organic, cold-pressed juices, Breakfast snacks and lunchtime salads and sandwiches will also be on sale as take-away items from the kiosk-style bar – opposite the entrance to the Farm Shop & Café.

Summer Tasting Day: Saturday 2nd July. Springs’ Smokery Salmon, Ouse Valley Preserves, Neal’s Yard Dairy, Langham Brewery, Upperton Sparkling Wine and Noble and Stace Chocolatiers will be among the local suppliers adding their summery flavours to the tasting day, as the courtyard in front of the Cowdray Farm Shop & Café adopts a market-style energy. Cowdray’s Deer Manager, Jason Griffin will showcase the Estate’s venison as one of the treats being barbecued at the event. Open to all from 10am-3pm,  free entry.

Weekend Barbecuing – instead of the Café’s regular roasts being served, the charcoal will be lit every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday over the summer months for barbecue lunching with salad selections and a takeaway option too.

…for those then seeking to upgrade their own home barbecuing, step inside the Farm Shop to be inspired by its butchery section and range of exotic marinades and rubs. Indeed, why not go the whole hog and purchase your own Kadai fire bowl? Recycled oil drums have been riveted together, by Kadai specialists in India who follow traditional practices, to create these strong and durable fire bowls which are sold in the Farm Shop, priced at £245.

HOUSE PARTY CELEBRATIONS & OTHER PRIVATE EVENTS

Cowdray House adds more bedrooms. Previously the home of the 4th Viscount and Viscountess of Cowdray and their children, Cowdray House was launched a year ago for exclusive-use hire. With expansive views of the South Downs National Park and set in its own 110 acres of private gardens and grounds, the House has become increasingly popular for special family and friend celebrations, weddings and corporate events as well as photographic shoots and filming opportunities. Unveiled with 11-bedrooms, a further four will be added by the end of August to sleep 30 guests in total. Among the new additions, a special family suite comes with its own sitting room and sofa bed alongside its main double bedroom.  With indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a croquet lawn and a bowling alley, the House can adapt to the season just as it can rise to the most formal occasion and ease into a more relaxed mood as required. (www.cowdrayhouse.co.uk)

SPORTING

Polo Master Classes – for the very first time, anywhere. The Cowdray Park Polo Club Academy (www.poloschool.uk) has returned for a second year, providing lessons for all levels – including those who have never previously been on a horse! At the opposite end of the scale, however, a series of Master Classes by three international players – James Beim, Agustin Merlos and Nic Roldan – has been announced by the Polo Academy.

Scheduled around their Gold Cup commitments and ahead of the final on July 17th, these three Cowdray-based professionals will lead group classes (with six places being individually sold to accomplished players).  Cowdray is the first ever location for this completely new Master Class opportunity in the polo world.

The Master Classes are priced from £300 (the one for 12-18 year olds at £250) with an element donated to equestrian charity, The Brooke www.thebrooke.org. For further details and advance booking of a place at a group lesson, please e-mail: charlotte.verdon@cowdraypolo.co.uk.

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