Silverstone Classic

Best eight classic car shows and events in the UK for 2021

Including just-revealed dates for Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival

PUBLIC events have been given the go-ahead for summer this year according to the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Extra precautions are still likely, but we’re excited, so we’ve made a list of the best eight classic car shows and events in the UK for 2021.

1. Goodwood Festival of Speed

Goodwood Festival of Speed

  • When? July 8-11
  • Where? Goodwood Motor Circuit, Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0PH
  • How much? Day admission: £47 Thursday, £62 Friday, £73 Sunday, weekend and Saturday tickets sold out (at time of publication)
  • Find out more at Goodwood website

The event that is to many the gem in the calendar of British motoring events will take place July 8-11. Its theme, carried over from the ill-fated 2020 Festival of Spee (which was cancelled and replaced by the Goodwood Speedweek), is “Maestros — Motorsport’s Great All-Rounders”. It’s a celebration of teams, drivers and marques that have succeeded across several disciplines.

Big names already confirmed to attend include Mario Andretti, who competed in F1, IndyCar and Nascar throughout his incredibly successful career. He said: “Goodwood in July sounds wonderful to me right now.  I welcome the invitation and look forward to being there for the third time.  It is truly one of the most fan-friendly motorsports events.  A very unique jewel.  There is simply nothing like it on the planet.”

Lewis Hamilton is not confirmed, though no doubt he’d have a few words to say to Andretti, as last year the American, 81, described Hamilton’s Black Lives Matter support as pretentious, adding: “he is creating a problem that does not exist.”

We do know that highly entertaining McLaren F1 duo Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo are also scheduled to make an appearance. It will be interesting to see if their bromance is still intact by July, as their on-track rivalry begins to heat up.

Tickets are available now; in fact, many have already sold out. It’s no longer possible to buy a weekend ticket or a Saturday day pass, but there is still availability for Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

2. Goodwood Revival

Goodwood Revival

  • When? September 17-19
  • Where? Goodwood Motor Circuit, Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0PH
  • How much? 3-day admission (without grandstand access): £195 for adults, £97.50 for ages 13-21, free for ages 12 and under. Day entry: £62 Friday, £82 Saturday, £82 Sunday (half price for ages 13-21 and free for ages 12 and under)
  • Find out more at Goodwood website

Many enthusiasts, especially classic car lovers, prefer the Goodwood Revival to the Festival of Speed. The 1950s and 1960s fancy dress and music, classic air displays and period buildings help transport visitors back in time as much as the cars themselves.

For that reason we’re delighted it is slated to return on September 17-19, celebrating as ever the golden age of Goodwood motor circuit. Beautiful classic cars will rocket their way round the high-speed track in much-loved races including the St Mary’s Trophy, Sussex Trophy, RAC TT and the newly renamed Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy (which replaces the Kinrara Trophy and is for pre-1963 GT cars).

As with the Festival of Speed, tickets are already available, but unlike the FoS, it’s still possible to get a full-weekend ticket, and at the time of writing there’s still day tickets available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday — although tickets for Saturday are limited.

3. Salon Privé

Salon Prive

  • When? September 1-4, 2021
  • Where? Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PS
  • How much? Day admission to Salon Privé (all include hospitality): £325 for adults, £162.50 for children (aged 5-16), hospitality upgrades starting at £460. Day admission to Salon Privé Classic & Supercar: £37.50 for adults, £26 for children (aged 5-16) and £89.50 for a family (2x adult & 2x children)
  • Find out more at Salon Privé website

As the tres chic name would suggest, Salon Privé is one of the most well-to-do events on the motoring calendar. People get dressed up in their loveliest finery, head to a palace in Oxfordshire and discuss their love of classic cars.

The 2020 event was squeezed into the period when lockdown restrictions had eased slightly, so a number of lucky attendants took to Blenheim — in a socially distanced manner, of course — in September to see a number of beautiful cars that spanned more than a century of automotive history. Best in show went to a stunning 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider.

Tickets for admission to Salon Privé are available now. Tickets for Salon Privé Classic & Supercar go on sale on May 28.

4. Concours of Elegance

Concours of Elegance

When? September 3-5, 2021
Where? Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT8 9AU
How much? Day admission: £45 for adults, £30 for over 60s, £20 for children aged 5-18 or students with valid ID, Free for children under 5 years old, £288.00 for hospitality
Find out more at Concours of Elegance website

The Concours of Elegance was another one lucky enough to go ahead in 2020 — again with social distancing very much in place. editor Will Dron‘s pint-sized entry won an award, in fact. There weren’t as many cars as in recent years, which is to be expected, but there were a number of stunners, including a Le Mans-winning Porsche 917K, the first ever Land Rover, and the extraordinary Leycat Helica.

This year’s main Concours is based around the theme of Gulf vs Martini, meaning you’ll be guaranteed to see some of the most iconic racing cars ever made. Other themes include coachbuilt Rolls-Royces and European coachbuilt greats — expect bodywork so beautiful you’ll want to cry.

And if you’ve got six figures or more to splash out on a new classic car, there’s always the auction — highlights from the 2020 Concours of Elegance auction included a trio of 20s and 30s Bugattis, including a Type 59 Grand Prix car that sold for just shy of £10m, the highest a Bugatti has ever gone for at auction.

5. London Concours

London Concours show

  • When? June 8-10, 2021
  • Where? The Honourable Artillery Company, Armoury House, City Road, London, EC1Y 2BQ
  • How much? Day admission: £40 for adults, £20 for children aged 5-18 and students with valid ID
  • Find out more at London Concours website

The London Concours is organised by the same people as the Concours of Elegance, and is pitched as an “automotive garden party in the heart of the City of London”. It was the first classic car show to take place after the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020 (organisers of the two shows are either supremely talented or supremely lucky), and while it may have been a more subdued affair than usual due to social distancing, some excellent cars appeared, including a trio of Lancia 037 rally cars, a Ferrari F40 and the “Rambo Lambo” Lamborghini LM002.

This year’s iteration of the event includes celebrations of Lotus and Porsche, meaning appearances from rarities like the Eleven and Pre-A Speedster, as well as a flock of Italian Berlinettas and a celebration of the collection of Evo magazine founder and YouTuber Harry Metcalfe, who owns some belters including a Ferrari Testarossa, a Lamborghini Countach (as well as an Espada) and a collection of Dakar-winning motorbikes. Tickets are available now.

6. London Classic Car Show

The London Classic Car Show 2021, Syon House

  • When? June 25-27, 2021
  • Where? Syon Park, Brent Lea, Brentford, TW8 8JF
  • How much? Standard entry: £25 for adults, £20 for children aged 6-16, free for children under six years old
  • Find out more at London Classic Car Show website

The London Classic Car Show usually takes place indoors — originally at ExCeL London and more recently at Olympia in Kensington — but in the name of antiviral measures, 2021’s event will go al fresco, to Syon Park, on the banks of the Thames on the outer edges of West London. So that the Covid-secure preparations weren’t cancelled out by a bout of hypothermia, it’s also been pushed back (twice) from February to June.

There’ll be more than 500 cars attending, say the organisers, displayed according to an “evolution of design” theme that will attempt to show “the full spectrum of automotive history”. Tickets are available now.

7. Silverstone Classic

Silverstone Classic

  • When? July 30 – Aug 1, 2021
  • Where? Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire, NN12 8TN
  • How much? Weekend admission: £105 for adults, £16 for children under 16, free for children under 11. Day admission for adults from £39 on Friday, £67 on Saturday, £53 on Sunday
  • Find out more at Silverstone Classic website

Of all of 2020’s planned events, the Silverstone Classic was one of the most unlucky. The year marked its 30th anniversary, which organisers were presumably planning on celebrating in style but due to the coronavirus pandemic, had to settle for a weekend of virtual features. It was at least hosted by seasoned pros, Tiff Needell and Louise Goodman.

The in-person celebrations have been deferred to this year, with a number of high profile racing series confirmed including the FIA Masters Historic Formula One, Royal Automobile Club Woodcote & Stirling Moss Trophy and Historic Touring Car Challenge. Musical acts including Scouting for Girls will add to the celebratory atmosphere. Tickets are available now.

8. Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional

Festival of the Unexceptional

  • When? July 31, 2021
  • Where? Grimsthorpe Castle, Bourne, PE10 0LY
  • How much? £5.75
  • Find out more at Hagerty website

The Festival of the Unexceptional is definitely unlike any other event in this list, and it may not be for everyone: you’re more likely to see an old Vauxhall, Renault or Rover than a rare Ferrari, Lamborghini or Jaguar. The 2019 winner, for example, was a 1977 Morris Marina Estate, while runner up was 1978 Vauxhall Chevette E.

The event, which rather humorously refers to itself as the Concours De l’Ordinaire, celebrates cars that were the “workhorses of their day… that are now so rare” — mainly hatchbacks, saloons and estates sold between 1968 and 1996. It’s become a bit of a cult hit and will undoubtedly spark waves of nostalgia in any petrolhead of a certain generation, as they walk around saying either, “I used to own one of those” or “My dad used to own one of those”.

Hagerty, the organiser of the event, has recently confirmed that the event will return for 2021, and that the hordes of ordinary-looking cars will congregate on the grounds of the juxtaposingly beautiful Grimsthorpe Castle, a 16th century property in Lincolnshire.

Those arriving in a not-so-classic car from not-so-yesteryear might be allowed free access if it meets a certain set of criteria. Tickets for those in boring cars from the 21st century, rather than boring cars from the late 20th, pay the princely fee of £5.75.