In a fast-paced world that never seems to slow down, there’s a special destination right on my doorstep here in Chichester. Here, time takes on a different rhythm, offering a luxurious day out that whisks you away to the vibrant spirit of yesteryear. Welcome to the Goodwood Revival, an extraordinary annual event that’s more than just historic motorsport; it’s a luxury time-travel experience that takes participants and spectators on an amazing journey back to a bygone era. The Revival offers an incredibly luxurious experience, and when combined with a stay in the charming and historic city of Chichester, it’s a winning combination that’s hard to beat.
Held at the renowned Goodwood Motor Circuit in West Sussex, England, this event goes beyond classic racing; it provides an immersive experience that invites you to embrace the past, a captivating mixture of nostalgia, speed, and style. As I delve into the history, highlights, and timeless allure of the Goodwood Revival, you’ll discover why it’s a luxury day out that appeals to those seeking a taste of the golden age of motor racing and aviation.
First of all, the “Revival” is in Chichester, a captivating gem nestled on the south coast of England, boasting a rich history and modern charm. This picturesque city offers an array of interesting experiences for visitors. The center piece is Chichester Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that stands as a testament to the city’s historical significance. Stroll through the cobbled streets of the town centre and discover charming boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. The Pallant House Gallery is a cultural treasure trove, housing an impressive collection of modern British art. For nature enthusiasts, the South Downs National Park is just a stone’s throw away, offering breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails. Chichester Festival Theatre promises world-class performances, and the Goodwood Estate hosts thrilling events, from motorsport races to the renowned Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival. With its perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Chichester is a captivating destination for travellers seeking a diverse and delightful experience.
Revive and thrive
Back to the “Revival”. The driving force behind the “Revival” movement is what Goodwood refer to as the Revive & Thrive Community who inspire all participants with innovative ideas for reimagining, refurbishing, and reusing, fostering a sustainable and thoughtful connection to the past.
The Goodwood Revival is an exquisite celebration of vintage style, offering attendees the opportunity to revel in the glamour and aesthetics of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. From the moment you step onto the grounds, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of grace and refinement. At the Goodwood Revival, one thing is certain – you’ll never be overdressed and if you don’t dress up, you’ll feel positively “out of place”. Attendees embrace the vintage fashion of the past with enthusiasm, donning classic attire that’s both stylish and authentic. Swing dresses, pinstripe suits, and elegant hats are all part of the experience. It’s an opportunity to express your personal style while paying homage to the timeless fashion of the mid-20th century.
The vintage style extends beyond clothing. It’s also reflected in the classic and historic cars on display and in action. These exquisite vehicles are lovingly restored to their former glory, and their presence adds to the overall ambiance of the event. Whether you’re an automotive enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of these classic cars, you’ll be in awe of the attention to detail.
Looking back at the fashion years, in the 1940s, the world was gripped by World War II, but that didn’t mean fashion took a back seat. Women’s attire featured utility and practicality with puffed sleeves, tailored suits, and A-line skirts. Military-inspired styles made their mark with trench coats and ankle boots. For men, the 1940s meant dapper suits with wide lapels and fedora hats. At the Goodwood Revival, you’ll find attendees donning these wartime looks, paying tribute to an era marked by resilience and style.
The 1950s were a time of post-war optimism and Hollywood-inspired glamour. Women embraced hourglass silhouettes with cinched waistlines, full skirts, and cat-eye sunglasses. Men favored well-fitted suits and slicked-back hair. It was a decade of elegance and grace. At the Revival, you’ll encounter attendees dressed in 1950s fashion, complete with petticoats, polka dots, and perfectly coiffed hair. It’s an era of unbridled glamour and if you haven’t “Coiffed up” your own hair, you may be tempted for next year.
The 1960s ushered in a new wave of fashion and cultural revolution. Mini skirts, bold patterns, and mod styles were all the rage. Women embraced the freedom of short hemlines and bold geometric designs, while men donned slim-cut suits and colorful, bold ties. Expect to see attendees at the Goodwood Revival embracing the spirit of the Swinging Sixties with their Mary Quant-inspired ensembles and retro accessories. One year at the “Revival”, I stumbled upon a staged confrontation between 1960s greasy bikers and mods on fancy scooters. It was a captivating spectacle, adding a touch of vintage charm and nostalgia to the overall experience.
Revival food and beverage experience
The Revival High Street is a unique experience that recreates a 1940s-60s shopping street, and it’s not just about shopping; it’s a culinary journey as well. Here, you can savor a variety of classic British treats and hearty comfort food.
Fish and chips: The quintessential British dish, fish and chips, is a crowd favourite. Crispy, battered fish served with chunky chips and a side of mushy peas is a nostalgic delight.
Traditional pies: Meat pies, from steak and kidney to savoury minced beef, are classic
British comfort food. The Revival High Street offers a chance to sample these hearty classics.
Cream teas: Take a break from the excitement with a cream tea. Delicate scones served with clotted cream and jam, along with a steaming cup of tea, harken back to a time of elegance and refinement.
Sweets: Satisfy your sweet tooth with a trip to a traditional sweet shop. From colourful sweets to old-fashioned toffees, there’s something to please every palate.
Burgers and hot dogs: Classic American fare, like burgers and hot dogs, are available for those craving a taste of the 1950s and 60s.
Street food: Discover a world of international flavours with street food stalls offering dishes from around the globe. From Thai noodles to wood-fired pizza, there’s a diverse range to choose from.
Ice cream vans: On a sunny day, cool off with a scoop of classic ice cream from vintage ice cream vans, adding a touch of nostalgia to your treat. It’s not just about the food; the Goodwood Revival offers a variety of drinks to quench your thirst and elevate your experience.
Classic cocktails: Step up to a retro cocktail bar and savor timeless classics like the Negroni, Martini, or Old Fashioned. It’s a chance to sip on sophistication from a bygone era.
Pimm’s: A quintessential British summer drink, Pimm’s is synonymous with relaxation and outdoor gatherings. It’s a refreshing choice that captures the spirit of the 1950s.
Local ales: The Goodwood Estate boasts its own brewery, which means you can enjoy a selection of local ales that are brewed with passion and precision.
Champagne tents: If you’re looking for a touch of luxury (and we’re talking Veuve Cliquot here), head to the Champagne tents. Sip on exquisite bubbly amidst the vintage elegance of the event. A lot of guests don’t go anywhere else and certainly look the worse for wear from it!
One of the most captivating aspects of the Goodwood Revival is the incredible array of classic and historic cars on display. From the sleek curves of vintage Ferraris to the raw power of iconic Jaguars, the event is a paradise for automotive enthusiasts. These magnificent machines, often painstakingly restored to their former glory, are a testament to the enduring appeal of classic cars.
The Goodwood Revival features a lineup of thrilling classic races that keep the adrenaline pumping. From high-speed showdowns to endurance challenges, there’s something for everyone. The races often include rare and valuable cars, driven by skilled competitors who push the limits of these vintage vehicles. In the absence of the modern monocoque found in today’s Formula 1 racing cars, the drivers at the “Revival” event genuinely put life and limb on the line. This stark reality further amplifies the event’s authentic, bygone-era atmosphere, where the risks of racing are as real as the nostalgia it embodies.
The March Motor Works at the Goodwood Revival is a tribute to the artistry and craftsmanship of the motorsport world. It’s a showcase of the beauty beneath the bonnet, where engines and mechanics take centre stage. Attendees can admire the meticulous work that goes into restoring and maintaining these magnificent racing cars.
One of the standout features of the Goodwood Revival is the remarkable vintage aircraft display. The event often showcases an impressive lineup of aircraft from the 1940s and 1950s, including legendary planes like the Spitfire and Mustang. These aircraft not only grace the skies with awe-inspiring aerobatic displays but also allow visitors to get up close and personal with these marvels of engineering. The chance to watch these magnificent machines take flight and hear the roar of their engines is a treat for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Where to stay
As you prepare to step back in time at the Goodwood Revival, you might be wondering where to rest your head after a thrilling day at the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit. Fortunately, the Chichester area offers a variety of charming and convenient accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to cosy bed and breakfasts. If you’re looking to fully immerse yourself in the Goodwood experience, The Goodwood Hotel is the epitome of luxury and convenience. Located on the Goodwood Estate itself, the hotel offers stunning views of the South Downs and the motor circuit. You’ll be just steps away from the action, making it an ideal choice for those who want to be in the heart of the Revival. Enjoy elegant rooms, exquisite dining, and easy access to the estate’s many attractions
If you’re drawn to the charm of a traditional English inn, The Fox Goes Free is an inviting option. Located in the village of Charlton, just a short drive from the Goodwood Motor Circuit, this historic inn offers cozy rooms, hearty pub fare, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It’s an ideal choice for those who appreciate the character and hospitality of a country inn.
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