Last year I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to try out the family camping at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and this year I was lucky enough to get to try out the family camping at the Goodwood Revival and also attend the show itself.
We’re no strangers to Goodwood Events, having attended the Revival once before and Festival of Speed several times over the past 10 years. Safe to say, we’re already big fans! It’s been a while since we’ve been to the Revival, and never with the children in tow, but they coped so marvellously at the Festival of Speed we thought they’d love it, and we weren’t wrong.
If you’ve never been to Goodwood Revival then let me tell you a little about it’s history. During the WWII, RAF Westhampnett was a key Battle of Britain airfield and home to several Spitfire squadrons. When the RAF closed the base after the war, the landowner – Freddie March, grandfather of the current Earl of March – turned the perimeter road in the Goodwood Motor Circuit and Britains first post-war motor racing meeting took place at Goodwood in 1948 and the circuit closed to contemporary motor racing in 1966. Exactly 50 years after that first meet, Goodwood Motor Circuit reopened with every detail recreated and so the Goodwood Revival was born!
Since 1998, the circuit comes back to life ever September for a fantastic weekend that recreates the golden era of it’s glorious heyday. What this means is that this is a truly unforgettable weekend which is as much about the fashion and culture of the era as it is about the wonderful historic racing cars. People are actively encouraged to dress the part – it used to be more about the 1940s and early 1950s however it’s evolved somewhat, I am guessing with the popularity of repro vintage styles and I saw people in 60s get-ups as well as 70s (which makes no sense to me at all since the circuit closed in the mid-60s!).
I’m going to start with a negative but please, this is probably the only negative of the whole weekend so bear with me, but it does need mentioning and I’ll be brief. The signage and the traffic management when we arrived on the Friday night was shocking. It took us an hour to do a journey which should have taken less than 10 minutes and involved a lot of tooing and froing as the contractor employed to manage the traffic and car parks etc didn’t have a clue. Access to the campsites were near impossible due to road closures put in place when it was kick out time at the event and all this confusion (not helped by NO signs for the campsites until you were at the campsite itself) was the difference between putting the tent up in the daylight or the dark. You can imagine after a 4 hr drive we weren’t very happy about it. At this point I have to say a big thank you to Sara who manages the family campsite as she was extremely helpful giving us mobile phone directions, her inside local knowledge is priceless.
Anyhow…shaking that negativity off, we had a good nights sleep and were able to see the family campsite a bit better in the daylight!
Sara had done a wonderful job of making the campsite a pleasant and safe place for children with gated entry and an abundance of toys, sports and games available. There was electric hook-up available and the toilets and showers, whilst temporary, were what I would call luxury and not the normal festival style offering. Always clean with lovely hot water in the showers. There was even a beautifully bedecked baby changing hut that Sara had managed to make look like a mini baby spa!
This time there was no catering on site, we did miss that a little as we’d enjoyed that at Festival of Speed however we had been told about this in advance – there was only 17 pitched so it probably wasn’t viable – and had prepared for this. There was however morning deliveries from a local deli, The Hungry Guest, who came to the campsite each day with beautiful breakfast pastries. Sara was always on hand from early morning until late at night and you always got the feeling that you could ‘bother’ her at any time and she wouldn’t have minded.
Transport between campsite and event was provided in the form of fantastic military trucks. This was a good novelty for the children and whilst it really wasn’t that far to walk (20 mins maybe?) after a long day it was a welcome relief to get in for the ride back to the campsite, especially as the people operating these vehicles clearly love them and were happy to talk about how they are used and the history.
On the Saturday night Sara had organised AAA Coaching to come to site and run some organised activities with the children which I thought was a really nice touch. We decided to head ‘Over the Road’ on the Saturday night – an area at Goodwood Revival which is open later with bars, food, fairground etc and thus ensued another battle with the car parking management people who clearly didn’t know what they were doing. I felt a little sorry for the bus driver who collected us, who was told to go this way, then that way, then you can’t come this way, then go that way. He was very patient considering!
All-in-all we really enjoyed the camping aspect of this trip, bar the traffic management chaos, though I have to say I probably preferred the set-up at the Festival of Speed which was situated on the racecourse. I don’t think there was anything lacking, bar perhaps the ability to buy some hot food or an alcoholic beverage and the whole weekend was beautifully managed by Sara. You couldn’t wish for a more helpful or friendlier host!
I’ll leave it there for today as I think that got longer than I expected! Tomorrow, will come Part 2, the event itself!
PS I completely forgot to take photos of the campsite in all the excitement so I’ve borrowed these snaps from Sara’s Facebook page “Alliss in Wonderland”.