Coworth Park, England’s Haven for Polo and Horse Fans
It was Her Majesty The Queen who first planted the idea of using the lawn at Coworth Park as a polo ground. This was 1954, years before the Dorchester Collection turned the 18th-century country house into a 70-room boutique hotel (that wouldn’t happen until 2010). Today, its world-class polo grounds near Ascot, in the English county of Berkshire, host more than 600 matches each season, from late April to mid-September. Prince William and Prince Harry have both hit balls across its vibrant lawns, and the club is home to Adolfo Cambiaso, the world’s top-ranked player. The breathtaking property is one of the most well equipped equestrian enclaves in the country.
But Coworth Park is not just for professionals and princes—mere mortals can play on the 300-yard green or take a lesson organized by the hotel. The stables are on the hotel’s 240 acres of rolling hills and meandering pathways, located but a five-minute golf-cart drive from the hotel (one of the can-do team members will pick you up and drop you off with an acre-wide smile).
If you’re not certain about polo, you can still lace up your field boots and go on a hike through the trails; there’s also the hotel’s award-winning eco-spa, with a heated pool fitted with a rooftop herb garden. And if you want to ride your own mare through the fields, Coworth even offers a horse hotel—from $77 per night, board your horse at the hotel’s stables and she’ll be pampered from head-to-hoof, getting a massage, a bubble bath, and special handmade treats created by Coworth’s chefs.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious equestrian experience, there’s always the option of a champagne ride. Toward the end of it, guests ride their horses onto the cobblestoned terrace of the more informal, and aptly named, Barn restaurant, and pluck a glass of fizz directly from a waiter’s tray waiting below. Winston Churchill’s belief that “No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle” is used across the property’s marketing strategy, and at Coworth Park, it rings true (doubles from $547; polo lessons from $270; riding lessons from $92).
Bridget Arsenault is the associate editor, print and digital at Vanity Fair UK. and the co-director of the Bright Young Things Film Club. She covers the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure; follow her on Twitter at @bridget_ruth.