There’s nothing like an extended Bank Holiday weekend to put the nation in the mood for a summer of motoring fun.
And for fans of motor cars past, present and future, the Platinum Jubilee raises the curtain on a stretch of brilliant motoring events until early September.
And let’s not forget the myriad local events and fetes in towns, cities and villages, like my own, where a small car show of classics will be a focal point.
Glorious: Goodwood hosts the Festival of Speed (main) and the Revival (inset)
The Goodwood Festival of Speed taking place later this month (June 23 to 26) is by far the biggest motoring event in Britain.
Held in the Duke of Richmond’s stately home estate near Chichester, West Sussex, it began on June 19, 1993, when the then Earl of March followed his dream to revive the spirit of the post-war motor racing at Goodwood begun by his grandfather Freddie March from 1948 to 1966.
As the Duke says: ‘At the start of the 1990s, while immersing myself in the business of the estate, I envisaged how we could achieve the return of racing cars.’
Those early revivals were spirited, if a little ramshackle, with straw bales up the long drive past Goodwood House. But my how it’s grown, now attracting more than 210,000 spectators over four days.
The Duke’s recollection of the inaugural 1993 event gives a revealing insight: ‘That opening day passed in a blur.
‘Still so much to do, but we had a paddock full of stunning cars and, when I looked out my window first thing that morning, I saw people pouring in. This was happening, the fans had responded.’
Impressive: The Goodwood Festival of Speed is held in the Duke of Richmond’s (pictured) stately home estate near Chichester
But things have changed, he said: ‘Preparing the park for that first Festival was not the huge task we see today. Once Nick the shepherd had rounded up his sheep, we set about making the park ready for Goodwood’s first motorsport event since 1966.
‘Using our own people from the racecourse, farm and our repairs and maintenance crew, we built a rudimentary start-line gantry, lined the track with rope and straw bales, and brought in marquees in case of bad weather.’
But things moved fast. Five years later in 1998 motor racing did indeed return to the Goodwood Circuit with the inaugural late summer Goodwood Revival, with cars from the period and all visitors in period dress from the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.
One never-to -be -repeated highlight was the sight of a vintage Spitfire (piloted by Ray Hanna) barnstorming down the pit-lane starting and finishing straight below the height of the spectator stands, prompting a warning from air traffic controllers.
Preparations are now well in train for next year’s Goodwood events which mark three significant milestones; the 30th anniversary of the Festival of Speed, the 25th anniversary of the Revival, and 75 years of motorsport at Goodwood since 1948.
For this month’s Festival of Speed, highlights include visiting car firm stands with the latest models, watching cars race up the hill and drive off-road, visiting the Supercar Paddock, and ‘Electric Avenue: The Road To 2030’ with experts from BP Pulse and the AA.
There’s also the chance to road-test electric cars from manufacturers including BMW, Ford and Kia. British Volt’s Concept Paddock will showcase cutting-edge electric vehicles in pre-production.
For those who love dressing up, the Goodwood Revival follows from September 16 to 18, with real-life horsepower at the Qatar Goodwood Festival — popularly known as Glorious Goodwood — sandwiched between in late July.
The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire has exhibitions planned throughout the season and beyond, with more than 285 cars.
As well as a ‘Bond in Motion — No Time To Die’ exhibition running until November, there are features on the World Of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, and rides on a ‘skytrain’ monorail.
The estate also has grounds to explore, an adventure play area and the chance to discover life ‘upstairs and downstairs’ in Palace House.
The British Motor Show runs from August 18 to 21 at Farnborough International in Surrey. Last year’s was the first in 13 years and attracted more than 47,000 visitors.
This year’s will again feature new, used and classic cars, supercars, driving displays and marketplace sellers, with the halls and outdoor areas. Paul Swift’s stunt team will be performing amazing feats including two-wheel driving.
CarFest was set up in 2012 by TV and radio broadcaster Chris Evans and this year will again bridge the North-South divide with two events mixing cars, pop music, food and family fun.
CarFest North takes place at Bolesworth Estate, Cheshire, in July with music from Richard Ashcroft, Ronan Keating, McFly and Natalie Imbruglia. CarFest South at Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire, in August includes performances from Rag’n’Bone Man, James Blunt, Paloma Faith, and Kaiser Chiefs.
It is aiming to raise more than £3 million for UK children’s charities, having raised more than £20million over the past decade.
Bicester Heritage is organising a series of ticket-only Scrambles for car enthusiasts and owners across the year — the next one is on Sunday, June 19 — at this evocative former RAF base which is being rapidly revamped to become an innovative centre for specialist automotive firms and motoring events.
MotoFest Coventry over the weekend of September 10 and 11 gives Britain’s ‘motor city’ or Mo’town the chance to celebrate the car just after its year as UK City of Culture ends.
It also has the Coventry Transport Museum (transport-museum.com) and you can pop into the fabulous British Motor Museum (britishmotormuseum.co.uk) at Gaydon, Warwickshire.
Three of the poshest motor shows are also happening this summer.
The London Concours (londonconcours.co.uk) from June 28 to 30 will celebrate the UK’s glorious motoring past with a collection of carefully hand-picked pre-war cars assembled on the lawns of the Honourable Artillery Company in the heart of the City.
The sibling Concours of Elegance (concours of elegance.co.uk) at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, from September 2 to 4 features 60 rare cars from around the world — many never before been seen in the UK.
Salon Privé tickets (salonpriveconcours.com) went on sale this week for the upmarket automotive event at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, from August 31 to September 4.
Dates for your diary
A grand day out: Events are taking place across the country throughout the summer
Goodwood Festival of Speed
The annual jamboree of all things fast on four (and two and three) wheels is held at the Sussex estate from Thursday, June 23, to Sunday, June 26.
Friday September 16 to Sunday September 18 (goodwood.com).
National Motor Museum
Exhibitions and events through the summer at Beaulieu in Hampshire (beaulieu.co.uk).
CarFest North and CarFest South
The northern event takes place at Bolesworth Estate, Cheshire, from July 22 to 24. For the South, the event is being held at Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire, from August 26 to 28 (carfest.org).
Ticket only Scrambles across the year — the next on Sunday, June 19 (bicesterheritage.co.uk).
June 28 to 30, City of London (london concours.co.uk).
British Motor Show
August 18 to 21 in Farnborough, Hampshire (thebritishmotorshow.live).
Weekend September 10 and 11 (coventrymotofest.com).
Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional
Saturday July 30, Lincolnshire (hagerty.co.uk).
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