The Goodwood Revival is a three-day festival held each September at Goodwood Circuit near Chichester and showcases the types of racing cars and motorcycles that would have been competing during the circuit’s original period (1948–1966). The first Revival took place in 1998, 50 years after the 9th Duke of Richmond and Gordon (their family have been in residence for over 300 years) first opened the track, and is now one of the world’s most popular motor race meetings and the only event in the UK which recreates the golden era of motor racing from the 1950s and 1960s where nearly everyone dresses in period clothing.
I first heard of the Goodwood Revival about 15 years ago when a friend told me he’d been and how much he’d loved it. Ever since then we’ve always wanted to go but never quite got around to it. Some years we remembered about it but then found it had already been and gone! So this year, we made a point of booking our tickets early, and we went for the very first time. We were so excited!
We had lots of fun scouring the charity and vintage shops for our outfits (it’s not obligatory to dress up, but out of the thousands of people there, I probably only saw about 3 people who hadn’t dressed up!). There’s a fashion show and if you really put some effort into dressing up you might even get scouted for ‘Best Dressed’ and get to appear in the show!
On the morning we all got dressed up and looked rather dapper! We stayed at a nearby campsite and I thought I’d feel a bit conspicuous getting dressed up at a campsite but there were lots of other people doing the same so it was fine!
My husband and son are more into the motor racing aspect than me, although even I was in awe of the vintage racing cars on show. I do love the smell of petrol so it was very exciting to visit Gasoline Alley and to watch the cars racing round the track!! There were vintage air displays throughout the day which was fun to watch too.
There’s a whole other side to the Revival (which appealed to me the most) called ‘Over The Road’, which is where you’ll find the traditional funfair (with old school big wheel, helter skelter and carousel), singing and dancing, live bands, Butlins roller-skating ballroom, Revival High Street (loads of pop up vintage shops, beauty salons etc), street food stalls etc.
Another highlight was the Sky Outdoor Cinema, with a few vintage cars for the lucky few who got there in time to bag one to sit in, and retro deckchairs for the rest of us! They showed The Aristocats, Grease and The Sound of Music throughout the day and came round with free popcorn too!
Some tips to help you survive your first time at the Goodwood Revival :
- Ear defenders (especially for children but I’ll also be taking some next time) as the racing is SO noisy!
- Folding chairs/blanket to sit on.
- A Radio Flyer type cart to carry your stuff around (you quickly get bored of carrying bags).
- A vintage coat (as I got chilly and had to wear a modern coat over my vintage outfit….oh the shame).
- Umbrella in case of rain.
- Flat shoes for the amount of walking you’ll do, maybe some 50’s pumps/plimsolls.
- Do your research before you go and prioritise what you want to see, it’s hard to get around everything in one day.
- Put some effort into dressing up and doing your hair and makeup because if you don’t you’ll feel left out. It’s around £35 to have your hair ‘put up’ in one of the salons.
- Get there EARLY (gates open at 7:30am) to avoid queues and get a better parking spot (nearer to gates).
- There’s free ATM’s so you can withdraw cash – you’ll spend quite a bit on food, drinks, fair rides etc. Unless you bring a picnic but then that’s more to carry.
- Remember to take your tickets!!!
We will definitely go back next year and have already signed up for a ticket alert so we don’t forget or miss out!
Adult tickets start from £78/day, young people between 13-21 are half price and children under 12 go free