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As the Goodwood Festival of Speed (4-7 July 2019) casts the spotlight on classic cars and motorsport generally, it’s a reminder that Britain is packed full of thrilling vintage experiences. From fashionable afternoon teas to car shows and literary walks, there’s ample opportunity to experience the delights of the past, in the present.
Goodwood Festival of Speed
A global celebration of car culture, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is renowned for showcasing the best of the glamour that accompanies motorsport. From the Hillclimb event – the centrepiece of the festival where fans can get up close to the cars and bikes in action – to the showgrounds and arenas, the motoring garden party has something for everyone. The FOS Future Lab provides a glimpse into the future of the automotive industry, while the First Glance Paddock showcases the latest from the production line. Visitors can be wowed by motorsport displays in the Arena, see thrilling extreme sports in the Goodwood Action Sports area and watch as drivers hurtle their way around the Forest Rally Stage.
When? 4-7 July
Pret-a-Portea: Afternoon Tea at The Berkeley
Sit back and relax with a vintage afternoon tea, inspired by the iconic designs of Christian Dior. This season’s Pret-a-Portea offering from The Berkeley enables guests to tuck into the Dior Coutre Collection, where landmark pieces have been transformed into delicious biscuits, bakes and fancies. Expect to see the iconic Bar Jacket from the 1947 catwalk show that formed a ‘New Look’ in biscuit form, as well as a reference to the Junon Dress worn by Theo Graham at Le Pre Catalan in Paris in 1949. The afternoon tea includes an array of elegant canapés, sandwiches and tasters, as well as a loose leaf tea from the hotel’s extensive collection. Pret-a-Portea is priced at £60 per person, while a range of champagne options are also available at additional cost.
When? Until 29 September
An action-packed weekend of historic motor racing at the renowned Silverstone circuit awaits those attending the Silverstone Classic. The world’s biggest classic motor racing festival includes more than 20 races and demonstrations, featuring more than 1,000 vehicles, and is accompanied by an eclectic mix of music and entertainment. The family-friendly event includes Rocking and Racing, a set of musical performances from tribute acts to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous Woodstock festival, as well as a vintage funfair, crazy golf and Street Car Shootout drag racing. There’s also a shopping village crammed with vintage clothing and memorabilia and football coaching from the Chelsea FC Foundation.
When? 26-28 July
Dive into a world of classic cars and retro music at Atomic Festival, a 1950s weekend of fun at the Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire. As well as a line-up of bands and DJs playing rock and roll and dance floor fillers in four venues, expect to witness drag racing involving hot rods, classic trucks and motorcycles, an array of classic car displays and even a hotly-contested soap-box derby. Enjoy fairground rides and crazy golf by day, as well as jive classes, burlesque shows, films in a ‘vintage’ cinema, and much more. Saturday tickets for Atomic cost from £45 and Sunday tickets from £40. Weekend, camping and glamping options are also available.
When? 27-28 July
Passion for Power
Hundreds of exotic supercars converge on Tatton Park, in Knutsford, for the Passion for Power Classic Motor Show, offering an exciting day out for all the family. The show encourages classic and supercar owners to attend, while the Dream Cars Pavilion showcases some of the rarest, fastest and most spectacular vehicles on the planet. Alongside a variety of trade stalls and car clubs that are attending, there’s an abundance of food and drink options on site. Tickets for Passion for Power cost £9 for adults and £6 for children, while those under 10 go free. All visitors will need to pay for entry to Tatton Park in addition to the costs of the show.
When? 17-18 August
A buzzing celebration of vintage music, dance and fashion, Twinwood Festival, near Bedford, is spread over four days of the August Bank Holiday weekend. The Main Arena will take people on a musical journey from the 1920s through to the 1960s, while more than 100 vintage acts are set to perform at 16 different venues across the site. The fashion of that era is also the keystone of the festival, and with more than 100 traders and boutiques on site, selling everything from vintage clothing to homewares, there’s ample opportunity to get into the retro spirit. A set of vintage salons and a barbershop only adds to the festival’s charm. A three-day adult ticket costs £109, with adult day tickets priced at £49 each for Saturday and Sunday and £29 for Monday. Child tickets cost £8 per day, or £15 for a three-day ticket. Those with three-day tickets can access the festival on Friday for free, while non-campers can purchase a Friday ticket for £25, or £5 for children, provided they have purchased another day ticket as well.
When? 23-26 August
The Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show
Welcoming motorcycles from the 1960s, 70s and 80s to the Staffordshire County Showground, the Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show is one of two annual Stafford Classic Bike Shows. The 26th edition of the show in October is set to feature more than 900 traders, dealers and autojumble stands, with parts and products to help enthusiasts. Visit the Off-road Hall and Grand Prix Paddock to discover rare bikes and see some of the machines in action. Tickets are priced from £12 for adults, while children under 15 go free. The other show – the Carole Nash International Classic Motorcycle Show – takes place on the weekend of 25-26 April 2020.
When? 19-20 October
Vintage Adventure Tours
Experience the picturesque beauty of the Lake District from high up in a 1929 vintage car with Vintage Adventure Tours. In addition to eight carefully designed tours that take in different parts of the incredible landscape, guests get sole use of the 1929 Model A Ford Phaeton, meaning they can create their own trips and touring routes too. Zip along country lanes in the only vintage car in Britain that is registered for private hire – tours are priced from £195 for up to four people, while bespoke route costs vary based on time and distance travelled. Advance booking is a must.
When? All-year-round, dependent on availability
Sail on a Traditional Wherry
Experience sailing along the waters of the Broads National Park the traditional way aboard an Edwardian wherry yacht. As one of only three surviving vessels from the period, each more than 100 years old, a range of trips are available to experience the rivers as in Edwardian times, taking in the changing scenery and rare wildlife within the National Park. Part of the English National Park Experience Collection, scheduled trips are available for booking – lengths and prices vary.
When? Trips on selected dates
Literary footsteps in Exmoor
Discover the ancient traditions of Exmoor National Park and follow in the footsteps of literary greats, including poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and author R.D Blackmore on a Literary Footsteps tour. The vintage walking trail explores the lands that provided inspiration for their work, before the day is rounded off with a delicious Devonshire Cream Tea or a drink in a traditional pub. Tours are priced from £50 to £80, with half-day and full-day walking options available, and must be booked in advance.
When? Trips on selected dates
Jane Austen - The Dancing Years
Be transported back to the Regency Period and imagine Hampshire life for celebrated author Jane Austen in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Jane Austen’s Dancing Years Tour explores the picturesque villages, many that are largely unchanged from Victorian times, before taking in the Jane Austen House Museum at Chowton where she spent her last years. Tours are priced on a per person basis and vary dependent on the size of the tour party.
When? All-year-round, dependent on availability
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