Weekending: The Goodwood Revival
With classic sports cars screeching around the race circuit, land girls in a 1950s jeep, Dad’s Army marching past, and women in Betty Draper-style circle dresses… Goodwood Revival is more than just a weekend away to a different place, its a trip to a whole different time period. For a weekend in September each year, the Goodwood classic motor racing circuit near Chichester steps 50 years back in time. Almost nothing has changed since then – from the tractor trailers which get you onto the site to the 1950s newspapers wrapping your fish and chips, the attention to detail is amazing.
Most visitors get into the spirit by dressing vintage-style, with a huge range of fantastic outfits on show – from WWII military uniforms and Grease-style twin sets and capri pants, to Grace Kelly-inspired belted dresses and red lipstick. If you want to join in, you can scour the charity shops or eBay, or check out Vivien of Holloway‘s fab 50s-style dresses. There are also plenty of stalls in the Revival Market at the event, where you can stock up on seamed stockings or long gloves. There’s also a vintage hair and make up salon where you can get some help with your beehive or winged eyeliner.
Motor racing takes place on the circuit over the whole weekend, with the kind of cars and motorbikes that you would’ve seen in action here between 1948–1966. You might recognise a few of the drivers, with famous faces from all eras in the world of motorsport taking part – from Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham to Damon Hill and David Coulthard. Goodwood also shows off its heritage as a Battle of Britain airport with a display of pre-1966 aircraft, including flyovers from Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs.
As well as the racing, you can also try your hand (or rather feet…) at a jive or jitterbug with dance classes and demonstations, have a go on the vintage fairground, or listen to some live jazz and swing. New for 2012 are the Victory Street Party and the Chap Olympiad – a gentleman’s Olympics featuring events such as umbrella jousting and cucumber sandwich discus throwing. As there’s nothing modern allowed on the site, even the food and drink stalls look like they belong in the 1950s, so its the perfect place to indulge your Mad Men fantasies with a glass of champagne on the lawn.
The 2014 Goodwood Revival will take place on Friday 12–Sunday 14 September. General admission adult tickets cost £145 for the weekend, or £65 per day, plus an extra cost for grandstand seats.
Getting there… Travelling by car can be snail-paced with the Revival traffic and narrow winding country roads. Chichester train station links it to London (1.5 hours) and the rest of the UK, and from there you can get a taxi or take the vintage shuttle bus to Goodwood. Or if you’re coming from further afield, the nearest airports are in London or Southampton. And if you’re feeling really flash then you can arrive in style by private plane or helicopter to Goodwood’s airfield.
Sleeping… If you want to be right in the middle of the action, you can stay at the estate’s Goodwood Hotel, though be prepared to splash out and book super early. Slightly less glam but even closer is the on-site campsite, costing £160 per pitch for four nights, not including entry to the event. Further afield, try Chichester and Arudel – I like the Ship Hotel, an elegant townhouse within Chichester’s Roman city walls, or The Fox Goes Free, a seventeenth-century pub on the peaceful South Downs.
Eating and drinking… On-site you can eat and drink 1950s-style at theSpitfire Café, grab a pint from the ‘Oily Rag’ pub or a tin mug of tea from one of the tea wagons. You can also bring in your own picnic, with some impressive vintage picnic baskets on show. Away from the event, the George and Dragon in the village of Burpham does gastropub-style food using local ingredients, along with Arundel Breweries’ real ales, and is walkable along a pretty riverside path from Arundel. Also in Arundel, the Bay Tree Restaurant is a good spot for a special meal, with award-winning seasonal food and locally-caught fish.