Step back in time to a bygone age of style and sophistication
We set off really early to try and avoid the traffic as we’d heard it can take some time to get on site. Arriving around 8:30 we had a short delay of around 15 minutes – nothing in terms of some of the festivals we’ve been to. Even the kids were surprised we got in to the festival so quickly. We’d prepared them for a wait and packed breakfast and plenty of things to keep them busy.
Walking through the car park itself is a treat for car enthusiasts. Not your regular festival car park and I had to hurry my husband along several times. As you get closer to the festival the cars seem to get more and valuable.
The Goodwood Revival Site
The event is held over three days at Goodwood Motor circuit in Sussex. Weekend camping is available but we could only make one day as the kids had just gone back to school. By total fluke we picked the sunniest day of the weekend, which is very unlike us. Saturday had seen heavy rain and we met some weekend guests who said the racing had been tough in the wet conditions. The ground was wet in places but the organisers had laid track in both the carpark and main site so even those in their finest high heels could cope.
The race track is around 2 and a half miles long with a path all the way around the outside. There are free passenger tractors going all day with various bus stops around the track, so you can hop on and off and watch different races from different spots. Inside the track you can view all the vintage vehicles from the revival period (1948-1966) including airplanes, cars, motorcycles, scooters and some fantastic buses.
For me, the non-car enthusiast, it was all about the vintage darling! You arrive from the car park to an area called Over The Road which is a mini festival in itself and could have kept me busy all day.
Meticulous detail is put in to this festival to give the feeling of the vintage period. You can walk through parades of shop fronts from a Shell garage forecourt to a 1950’s barber who will do a traditional shave or cut for £20. I loved the 1950’s Kenwood kitchen appliance demo and the kids got a slice of chocolate cake at the end!
The main event
I was amazed how much my daughters got in to the racing. On arrival we were given ear pieces to listen to commentary and vintage music anywhere on site. This is a nice touch, if like us, you have no idea what is going on. We felt somewhat lost when we first arrived, not knowing where to go or what to see.
The overall site is huge and it’s easy to just wander and miss all of the racing. There were info points at various locations so we sought some advice from the experts. If you are really in to the racing and want to secure a seat in the grandstands then you need to buy an extra ticket for the best views. Probably not worth it for kids that don’t sit still. Far too much fun to be had for ours too.
Considering I have absolutely no interest or knowledge in cars I enjoyed the atmosphere of being track side. The kids thought is was fab. They’ve never been to a big sports event and thought it was ace. Seeing all the iconic vintage vehicles drive by in the track parade was lovely. We even got a personal wave from Sir Stirling Moss!
We caught a few of the races, but by the time the roaring trophy bikes started in the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy, my youngest couldn’t handle the noise. Ear defenders or ear plugs are a really good idea for kids at Goodwood Revival.
Highlight of the racing for me was seeing the kids race vintage pedal cars in the Settrington Cup. Really cute, and GIRL POWER to the few girls racing, one of who totally romped it and took the trophy! All the kids looked very proud, and what a great thing to be part of.
Food and Drink
Champagne seems to be the favoured drink at Goodwood and you are never more than a few steps from a bottle of bubbles. The bars are plentiful and for those (like us) not on a champagne budget the drinks are regular festival prices. £4.80 for a pint of Goodwood ale.
Unlike many festivals we’ve been to recently, there is no door policy at Goodwood so you are able to take your own food and drink for the kids if you wish. In fact, many guests seem to make picnicking a big part of the event with very elaborate set ups. There is a walk from the car park though so keep this in mind if you intend to take your supplies. There are so many premium food vendors on site at Goodwood, if you do opt to eat out, you wont be waiting long. We also saw fine dining sit down options. Or you can prebook a Goodwood picnic for collection and enjoy it with a bottle of cold bubbly.
Music and Entertainment
For a non-music event we saw a fair bit of great live music in just one day. There are a few stages scattered around the site including a traditional ballroom with dancing, a band stand, and a fabulous converted 1950’s airstream trailer stage. This area, Gasoline Alley, was my favourite. It was a shame it was squeezed in to a small area behind a hedge as it was pretty busy. Definitely the most kicking place all day though. Set up to celebrate the American surf era with diner style caterers, rockabilly tunes from the Ding Dong Daddios, and plenty of spinning dancers in big skirts.
Obviously, the vintage vehicles are the main attraction at Goodwood Revival, but there are also plenty of other vintage installations around the site to celebrate the era.
Over the Road
Over the road has grown over the last few years from a few fun fair rides to a mini event in itself. The free Butlins roller disco was a massive hit with us.
The Doom Bar stage is host to some great music over the road at Goodwood Revival. Unfortunately, it’s within a tent, so although this was probably a welcome escape on the rainy Saturday, it was a shame not to be an open stage in the sunshine. It was quite easy to miss the live music here as none of it started till 5ish each day. I guess this was so it didn’t take the attention away from the racing, but some extra tunes in the day would have been great. We caught the fabulous Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer who couldn’t have been more at home amongst all the tweed and moustaches. Another great band were The Zoots who did some great 60’s covers.
Also over the road was a vintage fun fair with rides costing around £2.50 and lots of vintage shopping and a vintage hair salon. Pack your wallet if you like a spot of retro clothing – you will be spoilt for choice!
At the end of the day we were exhausted. We managed to catch the completely amazing Demon Drome wall of deaths last show. There was an extra charge but it was awesome. It’s great to see the dedication that’s gone it to restoring such a tremendous attraction. Catch them if you can!
Well… it would be rude not to! It’s not a requirement, but it does make it all so much more fun. The majority of guests at Goodwood Revival make some kind of a dressing up effort. Some go to huge lengths to look the part. There is a daily ‘best dressed’ catwalk show. Unfortunately, we missed this due to one of the races.
All excellent. This is a premium festival and the site is kept spotless. There is certainly no chance of finding a blue box toilet at Goodwood Revival. Unless you count this one!
We had a fantastic 12 hours at Goodwood Revival and the kids loved it.
For more info on Goodwood Revivial visit our factsheet
Review by Sarah and family @afieldsomewhere