The Revival event is a thrilling classic car festival that takes place at the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit in the southern part of the United Kingdom. This three-day motor extravaganza has been a cherished tradition at the circuit since 1998, paying homage to the golden era of racing that spanned from 1948 to 1966. It serves as an immersive tribute to iconic automobiles and fashion of that era, with attendees commonly dressed in period-correct clothes from the 40s - 60s.
What sets the Goodwood Revival apart is its unique commitment to recreating the atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s motorsport era. It stands as the sole historic motor race gathering in the UK that is entirely focused on bringing visitors back to the golden days of motorsports. This year 2023, the organizers went all out to mark the event's 25th anniversary, celebrating the legacies of Carroll Shelby, Lotus's 75 years of racing, and the outstanding career of Sir Jackie Stewart.
Each year the excitement is so great that tickets for all three days were completely sold out.
Classic Motor Racing
In this year's festival, the essence of vintage motor racing was once again celebrated, offering enthusiasts and spectators alike a nostalgic journey back in time. The
event was filled with classic races that transported attendees into the thrilling past of motorsport. Among the highlight races were the prestigious Tourist Trophy for sports cars and the Glover Trophy for Grand Prix cars which roared around the 3.8-kilometer circuit.
However, the festival was not limited to four-wheeled racers alone. Classic motorcycles took centre stage during the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy, proving that the love for vintage racing extends beyond cars. These two-wheeled antiques of the past displayed their agility and speed, paying homage to the great Barry Sheene (1950 – 2003 British professional motorcycle racer) and his enduring legacy.
Goodwood is situated approximately two hours to the southwest of London. While parking on the estate's grounds is complimentary, securing accommodation in the surrounding countryside can be challenging. On a brighter note, Goodwood offers a separate camping area that can be reserved early in advance. Hotel rooms need to be booked as early as possible in order to secure close proximity and affordability. The event is visited by approximately 150'000 people each year making it one of the biggest classic car events in the world.
The Outfits at Revival
Revival also boasts a fantastic vintage fashion and costume spectacle. Every guest is encouraged to join in by wearing period-correct attire. The creativity, authenticity, and fashion flair on display are truly exceptional, as participants proudly showcase their collections of highly exclusive, rare, and authentic vintage garments. Each day of the festival features the "Best Dressed Competition," where both men and women are honoured for their exceptional clothing choices. When attending Goodwood Revival it's an absolute must to dress up, or else you will not enjoy the festival to its fullest. Planning well ahead of time is strongly recommended in order to have the right outfit options ready for the three-day vintage celebrations. When walking around on the grounds you will be witness to many extraordinary and outstanding costumes and people that you haven't seen anywhere else.
Legends and Stars
At Revival, you'll not only have the chance to enjoy rare classic cars but also to shake hands with an impressive list of racing legends. Revival attracts the presence of former and current racing stars, adding additional excitement to the event. Among them were the likes of Jackie Stewart, Jackie Ickx, Damon Hill, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, and Emerson Fittipaldi.
The absolute highlight of the event was when the legendary Jackie Stewart took a nostalgic spin around the track in his iconic F1-winning Tyrrell 006 from the year 1973. The same cars Sir Jackie won his final F1 championship and ended his racing career with.
Fairgrounds and Vintage Market
The festival isn't just a haven for motor enthusiasts and classic car aficionados; it's a family-oriented spectacle that caters to a wide range of interests. Spread across the historical fairgrounds, it offers many vintage highlights that captivate your imagination.
The festival grounds themselves are a nostalgic wonderland, boasting a charming old Ferris wheel, dodgems, a mirror cabinet, a galloper carousel, a pirate ship swing, and an array of other cool attractions. What sets these amusements apart is their authentic vintage appeal, as they continue to operate using original machinery, including antique steam boiler engines.
Complementing the fairground marvels are the vintage markets, where companies and retailers offer an expansive selection of treasures. Here, you can find an astonishing variety of items, from classic car parts to crafted diecast cars, from vintage apparel and accessories to nostalgic posters and art, and from specialized tools to uncountable memorabilia items.
Food & Drinks
Culinary delights are an important aspect and can't be missed at any festival. Revival hosts a remarkable amount of food stalls and options which caters to the diverse taste and preference of its attendees. The event boasts an impressive array of food stalls and dining options that are an absolute must-try. Visitors can find duck burgers, Angus steak, freshly made pizza, many ice cream stalls, fish and chips and even vegetarian and vegan options. The enormous choice of food is complemented by bars that offer beer, cocktails soft drinks, juice bars and much more.
Throughout the festival grounds, many shows are staged. One of the highlights was the vintage performances at the Earls Court Studios presented by Sky. There, visitors were entertained with a vintage Hollywood set that displayed a moon landing, a dancing performance, an alien encounter and much more. More noteworthy highlights were many different bands playing music and people showing off their dancing skills on the floor. Flash mobs and street performers randomly entertained and impressed the crowds with their stunts and shows throughout the festival grounds. Magicians pleased the young, walking elephant artworks walked through the alleys and a circus manege featured acrobats.
The airfield and military show
Revival is also heavily influenced by vintage military gear such as airplanes, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, uniforms and much more. If you are a fan of the old way armed forces looked and felt, this is the place for you! Many army clubs and veterans exhibit their weaponry and inventory on the Goodwood airfield. And if you wanted an experience that lifted your feet from the ground you could take a helicopter tour around the raceway and festival.
Revival didn't just stop there but was complimented with many more uncountable highlights and its almost impossible to see and experience them all. A vintage Drive-In Cinema played hits such as Grease, The Italian Job and Willy Wonka. Visitors could sit in old cars or deck chairs getting comfortable with free popcorn. And if you really saw everything on the festival grounds you could wander along the classic car park for hours discovering many unique and rare gems.
Goodwood Revival was once more a highlight of the year for every vintage enthusiast! 🏍️🏎️
Nils Willner is a classic car and vintage enthusiast who regularly visits the Goodwood Revival festival. He is the author of "The Ultimate Classic Car Guide - How to Buy, Maintain & Repair Classic Cars" and the founder of EVC. My passion has always been with old cars and everything that has wheels and an engine.