Silverstone Classic

Best 9 classic car shows and events in the UK for 2021

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

WITH A Covid-19 vaccination programme now in full-scale roll-out across the UK, it looks like public events could make a return at some point this year. Extra precautions are still guaranteed (will on-the-spot testing be required, for example?), but this is reason to be cheerful so we’ve made a list of the best 9 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? TBC
Find out more at Goodwood website

The event that is to many the gem in the calendar of British motoring events has a date for 2021 (July 8-11) and a theme that was supposed to be celebrated at the 2020 Festival of Speed (before it was cancelled and replaced by the Goodwood Speedweek, that 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.”

Tickets for the event will go on sale on February 1, 2021. Get them quick — social distancing may still be in effect, and many people have carried their cancelled 2020 tickets over to 2021, so they’ll be limited. If you want a better chance of getting a ticket, you can join the Goodwood Road Racing Club fellowship for early access (among other perks including entry to the Member’s Meeting in May). Membership costs £39.

Update, January 28:: Goodwood has reiterated its intention to hold its trio of events as planned, with the Members’ Meeting taking place on May 15-16, the Festival of Speed occurring from July 8-11, and the Revival (see below) scheduled for September 18-19. Tickets will still become available on February 1, and a Ticket Guarantee means that if an event is cancelled, you can either roll your tickets over to 2022 or receive a full refund.

2. Goodwood Revival

Goodwood Revival

When? September 17-19
Where? Goodwood Motor Circuit, Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0PH
How much? TBC
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 go on sale February 1, 2021, and don’t delay as they’ll be 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 — all very British.

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.

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, £25 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 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.

And if you’ve got a few million to splash out on a new classic, there’s always a classic car 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

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. Tickets for the 2021 event are available now.

6. London Classic Car Show

London Classic Car Show

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 aren’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 this year’s planned events, the Silverstone Classic was one of the most unlucky. This 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. Donington Historic Festival

Donington Historic

When? May 1-2, 2021
Where? Donington Park, Castle Donington, Derby, DE74 2BN
How much?  Day admission with early bird discount (until March 1): £35 for adults (16+), £21 for teenagers (aged 13-15), children 12 and under free
Find out more at Donington Historic website

The 2021 Donington Historic Festival, at the famous Donington circuit near Derby, of course, marks the 10th anniversary of the event. This year will see hundreds of cars from 1920-1980 taking part.

The festival has been praised for the quality of its grids, with some amazing classics racing one another, and expect this year to be no different. Tickets are available now, and refunds will be given out in the event that it’s cancelled.

9. Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional

Festival of the Unexceptional

When? Summer 2021
Where? TBC
How much? TBC
Find out more at Festival of the Unexceptional 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’s aim is to celebrate 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, hopes to bring it back for Summer 2021, and says that it will “review the situation closer to the time” pending government advice. We will update this page when that happens.

If you enjoyed our list of the best 9 classic car shows and events in the UK for 2021, you might want to read the eight cars you can get for under £5,000 chosen by the designer of the McLaren P1.