Dates: 6th - 14th September 2020
Location: Chichester, Sussex
Goodwood Revival was set up in 1998; exactly fifty years since the 9th Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon first opened the track in 1948. The event is an absolute magnet for car-lovers – the last festival attracted over 150,000 people. The three-day motor extravaganza is an entirely period-governed affair, showcasing cars and motorcycles that were originally raced there in the forties, fifties and sixties. The track remains unchanged, as do the vehicles and in some cases, the drivers themselves. It’s a phenomenal spectator experience with a huge following and marvellous level of participation from everyone: “a theatrical and sporting drama”.
After the Second World War, when a part of Goodwood Estate was developed as the Royal Air Force Westhampnett fighter base, the disused aerodrome perimeter became a rather promising site to develop as a racing track. With a bit of help, Freddie March convinced the government ministries to allow this to go ahead – leading to 18 glorious years of motor sports. In 1966 however, the current Duke decided cars had become too fast for his track, and closed it down. In its heyday, it had been one of the most prestigious circuits in the world.
For those who aren’t particularly into automobile history, there’s plenty more on offer. The entire area of the festival takes a step back in time – as do the attendees, who are encouraged, and willfully comply, to dress in relevant costumes of the age. By all accounts, turning up in modern gear is somewhat of an embarrassment. From tweeds to army uniforms to gorgeous sixties outfits, the effort made by guests is a joyful, educational display in itself.
The food and drink, too, often echo styles and creations from years gone by, and there are wonderful examples of packaging and advertising. Delightful wicker picnic baskets stuffed with champagne and scotch eggs, gourmet dining at fabulous pop-up restaurants and stalls, prime produce from the Estate itself – these are just a few examples of the gastronomic goodies in store.
Just next door, a vintage fair and festival (Over the Road) offers a range of fun and exciting entertainment; from fairground rides to musical performances to retro retail therapy. As evening descends, the dancing begins and live music keeps the party alive, with real ale on hand to keep you hydrated.
It’s a wonderful place to bring your children too; “the children at the Revival tend to look like they’ve stepped off the pages of Enid Blyton story”. With lots to do and see, plus the fun of dressing up and the thrill of cars speeding by on the tracks, they are sure to be amused all weekend. They even have a kids pedal car race – the Settrington Cup –, which sees the diminutive drivers whizz around the tracks in model Austin J40s. It is truly a sight to behold.
Boutique camping is a fabulous option for your Goodwood weekend – with lovely country fields rolling in every direction, what could be nicer than retreating to a luxurious bell tent with delightful rural views? What’s more, the combination of bucolic adventure combined with every comfort are reminiscent of holiday fun from bygone days – and making a definite comeback.