Forget Barnum and Bailey; this is the greatest show on Earth if you want to be transported to a bygone era of classic cars, style and glamour.
This unique annual motor racing event is held in the spectacular grounds of Lord March’s 12,000-acre Goodwood House estate in West Sussex. In the words of F1 racing legend Jackie Stewart, “There’s nothing close to this in the world. It has the biggest selection of cars and the biggest crowds of spectators too.” Each year crowds come out in droves to witness the action with celebrities such as David Gandy, Rowan Atkinson, Zara Tindall, David Coultard, and Stirling Moss, amongst others mingling with the masses.
Even if you’re not into cars and motorcycles, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Attendees are encouraged to get into the spirit of things by dressing in vintage attire to herald the golden days of motoring, which often featured a leisurely picnic with fine champagne - all while taking in the countryside views.
Arrive in Style
To ensure a grand entrance, many attendees arrive in their prized automobiles. For those who really want to make an impression, there’s even the option to arrive by helicopter, thanks to Goodwood’s private airfield.
Upon arrival, the first thing guests will notice is the car park, which is usually an experience in itself given the wide variety of jaw-dropping wheels that are typically on display such as a Ferrari Dino, a vintage Rolls Royce or a James Bond style Aston Martin.
Racing at Goodwood
The overall site is huge and it’s easy to get distracted and miss the racing. For those interested in watching the racing in all its glory, there are information points at various locations with staff on hand to provide advice.
The car racing takes place on a 2.5 mile track, which has viewing areas around its complete circumference. Apart from car racing, there is also vintage motorcycle racing with bikes such as Manx Nortons, Dominators, Triumphs and German BMW’s, which were being serviced by mechanics in lederhosen - a sight worth seeing! The track side atmosphere is sensational as spectators can get close to the participating vehicles in the race preparation areas.
Another highlight for many people is the Settrington Cup, a children’s race featuring vintage pedal cars. With a bit of luck, one of the participating children might become the next Lewis Hamilton!
What to see and do at Goodwood
Obviously, the vintage vehicles are the main attraction at Goodwood Revival, but there are also plenty of other vintage installations and activities taking place throughout the site to celebrate the era.
Flight displays at Goodwood
Goodwood is renowned for its flight displays, which feature WW2 era Spitfires being put through their acrobatic paces. Flight enthusiasts will also love the Mustang on display - one of the most iconic American airplanes used during WW2. For those who want to get up close to the participating vintage planes, there is a viewing area, which provides ample photo opportunities.
Music at Goodwood
For a non-music event there is a lot of great live music on offer. There are stages scattered around the site including a traditional ballroom with dancing, a band stand, and a fabulous converted 1950s airstream trailer stage. Gasoline Alley, which was designed as an homage to the American surf era, was one of my favourite areas and was definitely the most ‘kicking’ place all day. It featured diner-style catering, rockabilly tunes from the Ding Dong Daddios, and a bevy of spinning dancers in drape suits and big skirts jiving to the infectious beats.
Shopping at Goodwood
Located near the car park, Over the Road is an area that features multiple clothing and accessories shops and, of course, everything for the car enthusiast.
The Fairground at Goodwood
Families will love the impressive fairground that will keep the kids happy as they experience the various attractions and rides.
Dining at Goodwood
When it comes to good food, you’re spoilt for choice. There are many premium food vendors on site as well as fine dining options. Alternatively, you can pre-book a Goodwood picnic (complete with a bottle of cold bubbly) for collection.
What to wear
Nearly everyone dresses in period costume; it’s one of those places where you’ll actually look more ridiculous if you don’t make an effort. Think woollen waistcoats and tweed flat caps for the men, and slinky Sixties shifts for the women. For guests who’ve really made an effort with their attire, there is a daily ‘best dressed’ catwalk show.
Top tips for visiting Goodwood
Buy Goodwood 2018 tickets
Although the festival doesn’t take place until September (7-9), the event always sells out, so now’s the time to start making your enquiries for 2018!
To book tickets, visit www.goodwood.com.
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