by Gary / 0 comments - Orginally published:8th June 2018

That's right - A festival of speed at Goodwood House!

Every summer, the Duke of Richmond (formerly Lord March) holds a bit of a party at his place: That's the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It's a ticket-only event, but you're all invited. It helps if you're a bit of a petrolhead, but it's not essential.

Actually, it's quite a glamorous affair: well, it is hosted by a Duke no less.

Let me walk you through why this may interest you. It is a full day, or you can make a weekend of it.

This post is based on two visits from 2009 and 2011, which means we are very much overdue to return.

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Where is the Goodwood Festival?

How to get to the Goodwood Festival

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is run at the Duke of Richmond's ancestral home of Goodwood House, in the beautiful county of East Sussex, just 30 miles west of Brighton.

Goodwood House lies deep in the countryside, so unless you are staying really close you will be caught up in some traffic delays.

You can of course come by rail, to Chichester, and take a Taxi or a bus, however they are likely to experience the same traffic delays as those arriving by car.

The good news is that there's likely to be some automotive exotica to be seen arriving at the event along with you.

If you come by car, the event is extremely well organised, and you'll be placed into one of the car parks in next to no time. Just prepare yourself, enjoy the wait, smile at the Policemen and relax.

Of course you can improve the situation by staying somewhere closer. As you'd expect these places get booked up really quickly for the event weekend.

What to expect at Goodwood Festival

Glamour & Speed
As I said, it can be quite stylish; from the Cartier' Style et Luxe' concours d’élégance event, to some of the beasts that tackle the hill, you're free to wander around and admire these serious creations. It attracts the famous 'petrol-heads' too.
chris evans driving his black ferrari 250 gt spyder down the hill at the goodwood festival of speed
Chris Evans and one of his Ferraris

Some people want to be seen, others perhaps less so; the one thing they have in common is their love for the automobile. That's right, it attracts an international crowd.

So whether it's famous faces or famous cars, keep your eyes open.

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Highlights from the Goodwood Festival

Elegant Ladies
The cars that grace the Cartier 'Style et Luxe' are not the only beauties out there.
a close-up of the nose of a 1930's bugatti painted in french blue in the paddock at the goodwood festival of speed
A classic Bugatti
In the paddock are some of the most fantastic racing vehicles ever built.
a close-up of the nose of a 1936 auto union type c parked in the paddock of the goodwood festival of speed
An Auto Union
Priceless creations that you only ever see in a museum.
The Auto Union Streamliner being prepared for a run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the south-east of the UK
The Auto Union Streamliner

I spotted these Audis when we visited the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt, in Bavaria.

Now, I could hear and smell them as their nervous mechanics prepared these fickle ladies to once again stretch their legs and tackle the hill.

Where to stay near the Goodwood Festival

The Goodwood Hotel
The hotel is part of the Goodwood Estate. As you may expect this is at the higher end of the market and had extensive leisure facilities include an indoor pool and spa bath, a steam room, sauna and modern gym.


Famous Faces at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

And rubbing shoulders ...
... with your heroes and the stars from the world of motorsport. What I like is the accessibility, it’s true you might find it hard to get close to the likes of Lewis Hamilton; other icons from the world of motorsport do just wander freely or can be found settling into a car for a demonstration run.
a close-up of the formula one driver david coulthard signing autographs in the paddock of the goodwood festival of speed
David Coulthard at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

David Coulthard, 13 times Formula One race winner, was happy to sign programs as he walked the paddock.

Good folks, like Derek Bell, five times Le Mans winner, three times Daytona 24hrs winner, prepare to take on the hill.

derek bell sitting in the cockpit of a 1980 benetton formula one racing car as he prepares to drive it up the hill at goodwood festival of speed
Derek Bell preparing for a blast up the hill
Jesse James, US TV personality, and one-time husband of the actress Sandra Bullock, brought over his Trophy Truck from the USA.
the american tv personality jesse james at the back of his trophy truck in the paddock of the goodwood festival of speed
Jesse James

And anyone remember this guy?

The 1996 Formula 1 World Champion, Damon Hill wearing the crash helmet his father made famous, featuring a simple but effective design of white oar blades on a blue background, inspired by the colours of the London Rowing Club, of which Graham was a member.

damon hill seating in his 1996 formula 1 championship winning fw18 as it was wheeled back to the paddock at the goodwood festival of speed
Damon Hill in his FW18 Williams F1 car

Get your tickets early

It's a ticket only event and they sell out quickly. You can only buy them online, not on the gate.

Check out the Goodwood site for the latest on availability & pricing.

Exotic cars at the Goodwood Festival

But they're here to…
Blast up the hill climb. Some demonstrate some showboat, and some take it very seriously.
A close-up of lewis hamilton waving to the crowds as he is driving a papaya orange McLaren Mercedes SLR 722S Roadster up the hill at goodwood festival of speed
Lewis Hamilton at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Lewis Hamilton pleased the crowds who lined the hill in a papaya orange McLaren Mercedes SLR 722S Roadster.
lewis hamilton waving performing a burnout in a papaya orange mclaren mercedes slr 722s roadster as he makes his way up the hill at goodwood festival of speed
Givin' it some beans

Again, there are museum pieces here; we spotted the Mercedes SLA Stirling Moss at the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart.

But we saw it being driven by the magnificent, late, great Sir Stirling Moss.

The late sir stirling moss waving to the crowd as he drives a silver 2009 Mercedes slr stirling moss down the hill at goodwood festival of speed
Sir Striling Moss

Why not try Thursday or Friday?

The event runs over four days, with Thursday and Friday usually being the quietest days. If you can, these can be the best days to visit - why not start your weekend early?

A day at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

There is so much more though

Each year has a theme. In 2023, it was 'Goodwood 75', marking not just 30 years of the Festival but three-quarters of a century of motoring and motorsport at Goodwood, the Motor Circuit having opened back in 1948.

Weather depending, (remember it's held in the British Summer, after all), there will be an air display by the Red Arrows.

The red arrow display team flying formation above the goodwood festival of speed
The Red Arrows at Goodwood

There's a chance to climb (or take the transport provided) to the top of the hill and watch the rally cars of the past and present tackle the forest stage. You'll also catch the cars that have arrived at the top, before they make the return run.

There is generally the ability to look at some of the latest and greatest cars brought by motor manufacturers; there are family areas, action sports areas, places to eat and shops.

Remember, wear comfortable casual clothes; you're going to be out and about exploring a

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