Goodwood Revival, the most unique event on the motor racing calendar, celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year. I was invited along by South Downs Water Co to soak up the nostalgia. I donned my retro frock, stepped back in time and immersed myself in this very special event.
‘Oh, do come in,’ snorts the officer his waxed moustache quivering slightly. ‘Welcome to Bletchley’. Two women dressed in tweed skirts, cardigans and semi-permanents work through columns of code on their notepads. Ancient Remington typewriters sit on desks littered with top-secret files. There are Bakelite telephones and tea in rosebud china cups. Maps and charts adorn the walls. At the back of the room Enigma looms, its cream and red dials pointing every which way. ‘Have you come to help us crack the code?’
We’re actually there for two home-grown Sussex traditions. Goodwood Revival, one of the UK’s most unusual events, and, natural mineral water from South Downs Water Co who distribute a natural mineral water from an ancient well near Chichester. South Downs Water Co are supplying water for the event and we’re headed to the Mess hospitality pavilion for a taste.
Mess Hospitality at Goodwood Revival
We make our way through the War Rooms to the Mess. It’s filled with trestle tables and draped with flags and bunting – just as you’d imagine the village hall to be decked out for VE Day celebrations. Everyone is dressed for the occasion. Think forties frocks, military uniforms, tweeds and Trilbies, Brylcreem and braces.
A trio of acapella singers set the scene by singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B. The girls are dressed in matching forties dresses with Victory Rolls in their hair.
The tables are beautifully decorated with flowers and plenty of South Downs mineral water but we start with champagne sipped from vintage-style glasses. Around us the walls are lined with retro posters. ‘Keep Calm and Drink Tea’ and ‘Your Country needs YOU’. The tea hut is busy but there’s also a bar.
The food is excellent with a choice of cold buffet or hot food. As it was Sunday we opted for the roast. We tucked into delicious beef reared on the Goodwood Estate accompanied by Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and lots of fresh vegetables. Dessert was a choice of Bakewell Tart, Rice pudding or cheese platter. It’s a long time since I dived into a rice pudding but I couldn’t say no to the cheese. Maybe it was something in the water…
About South Downs Water Company
As we eat we learn more about the mineral water. I had no idea that the South Downs has its own source of natural mineral water or that it tastes so exceptional. Natural mineral water is the Champagne of the water world because it originates from a natural and protected underground source.
South Downs Water Co is a family run business and draws water from 420ft underground near Kingley Vale in West Sussex. The chalk layers of the South Downs naturally filter the water to give a clean, pure taste.
The water has nothing added and nothing taken away and is naturally enriched with minerals. Unlike Spring Water it goes through no chemical or treatment processes and is naturally high in calcium and low in sodium. Basically, natural mineral water is the purest, most natural water you’ll ever drink and we’re blessed to have our very own source in West Sussex.
South Downs Water is committed to the environment and uses all UK-based suppliers for their bottles, caps and labels which helps to lower their carbon footprint. Their packaging and caps are 100% recyclable. Deliveries are made direct from the source across the South East of England.
The company gives back to the community by supporting local charities such as Children on the Edge, Stonepillow and Chestnut Tree House.
About Goodwood Revival
Goodwood Revival is one of the main events on the West Sussex Calendar and I love that this totally unique event takes place in our cool little county. The Mess hospitality tent opens up onto some staging right next to the track so we had brilliant views of the racing.
It’s also right next to the assembly area so we got a close up look of the cars before they hit the track. We were lucky enough to spot racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart hop into his car before one of the races. The paddock is great for getting a close look at some of the cars and many of the owners and mechanics are happy to chat about the history of the cars.
Goodwood is a former WWII airfield and was a Spitfire base during the Battle of Britain. In a nod to its aviation history there are air displays throughout the weekend. There are also a number of static pre-1966 aircraft on display.
Goodwood Revival Dress Code
At Goodwood Revival the cars are definitely the stars but it’s more than just motor racing. Revival weekend is all about recreating the glamour of motor racing as it used to be. It’s the only historic race meeting to be staged entirely in period dress. Goodwood Revival clothing isn’t fancy dress, like South Downs Water, it’s all done in the best possible taste.
Visitors, participants and staff are encouraged to dress in clothes from the 40s, 50s and 60s. It’s just like stepping back in time or walking onto a film set. I wasn’t sure what to wear for Goodwood Revival but I think I did okay. If you don’t have the right gear then you can’t go wrong just by dressing smartly.
I could have shopped for an outfit at the event itself. There’s a whole range of stalls and shops at the Revival High Street and Market which sell both new and vintage clothing. Browsing the vintage and retro stalls is entertainment itself. There’s also a hair salon where you can get your Victory Rolls done or a barber shop to perfect your quiff.
Over the Road
Over the road from Goodwood race track there’s whole other vintage world. Cross the road from the circuit and you’ll find yourself in a period fairground. Get your skates on at the roller rink, take in a drive-in movie or jive your way around Gasoline Alley to live music. There are food and drink outlets and an atmosphere of fun. It’s actually called ‘Over the Road’ and is well worth a visit.
The weather was glorious and we had a fabulous day. Whether you’re a motor enthusiast or not Goodwood Revival is a must-do day on the West Sussex calendar.
Pin it for later!
Goodwood Revival 2019
Goodwood Revival dates for 2019 are 13-15 September and tickets are available from 05 November 2018.
Many thanks to South Downs Water Co for hosting myself and Mr Jones at this wonderful event, however, all thoughts, opinions and love of a forties frock are entirely my own.
Suzanne Jones is co-founder of Hello Sussex and travel writer and content creator at The Travelbunny travel blog.
Monday 15th of October 2018
We went to Revival for the first time this year and had a fabulous time. So glad we dressed up as I think you'd feel rather left out if you didn't. Such a wonderful atmosphere. It isn't cheap but it's worth it!
Monday 15th of October 2018
I've been a couple of times before years ago but didn't dress up. It makes such a difference if you do and really adds a sense of occasion. We want to go every year now!