The UK summer is packed full of big events, including plenty related to motorsport. Here’s our guide to the best things to do away from Silverstone for fans attending the 2016 British Formula 1 Grand Prix on July 8-10.
If you can make it to the UK one week ahead of the British Grand Prix, then you can also attend the season-ending Formula E races in London. The Wimbledon tennis tournament also coincides with the British Grand Prix, and there are plenty of other big events on during the English summer. We have also highlighted some attractions close to Silverstone, as well as the best places to eat and drink away from the track.
Goodwood Festival of Speed
A quintessential English garden party with all the high-octane motorsport you could wish for in a weekend, the Goodwood Festival of Speed sits high on the must-do lists for motor racing fans all over the world. Forward planning is essential if you want to go; this year’s festival takes place on June 23-26 and most tickets are already sold out. The weekend starts with the Moving Motor Show on Thursday, June 23 before the festival proper runs from Friday to Sunday. Friday tickets are still available on the Goodwood website for £55. Read our 2015 trip report.
Formula E racing in London
The last two rounds of the second season of the Formula E championship take place at Battersea Park in London on July 2-3, just a week before the British Grand Prix. Featuring a host of ex-Formula 1 stars, affordable ticket prices and city-center circuits, Formula E has proven a good draw for fans. This is your last opportunity to see Formula E in London for at least two years. Local opposition to racing in Battersea Park means that the organizers need to find an alternative venue, preferably in the city center.
There are feature races in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday, plus practice and qualifying. General admission tickets are priced at £25 for adults (free for children under 16) and standing platform tickets are £35. The organizers have promised better views from the standing platforms this year, as well as better signposting throughout the park. Click here for more information and to buy tickets. Read our 2015 trip report.
Why not spend a day or two at the most famous tennis tournament in the world? The Championships at Wimbledon are held this year between June 27 and July 10, so you have ample opportunity to catch the world’s best in action on the famous grass courts in South West London. Ground admission costs less than £20 each day and is cheaper after 5pm. Learn more and buy tickets on the Wimbledon website.
Jaguar Factory Tour
One of Britain’s most beloved marques is produced at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham, 60 miles from Silverstone. Find out how modern Jaguars are assembled by taking a tour of the state-of-the-art factory. Tickets cost £49 for adults and £39 for children. Click here to find out more and buy tickets.
Drive an Aston Martin
Aston Martin runs a regular one-day performance driving course at Millbrook Proving Ground, just 35 miles from Silverstone. It’s not cheap at £1500, but surely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll get the choice of driving a Vanquish, Vantage V12 or DB9 and benefit from expert tuition. Click here for more information.
Williams Conference Centre
Williams HQ in Oxfordshire is also home to the Williams Grand Prix Collection, the largest exhibition of F1 cars in the world. Doors only open to the public for guided tours on specific days throughout the year. Priced at £60 per person, the tour commences with refreshments before personal introductions and a guided wander through the extensive collection. There’s video footage to watch that covers the history of the team before a walk through the Williams trophy rooms and a buffet lunch. Click here for more information.
British Motor Museum
Less than 30 miles from Silverstone, the British Motor Museum is a great day out. It houses the world’s largest collection of historic British cars (currently around 300 of them), including marques such as Austin, Morris, Jaguar, Ford, Morgan and more. The museum is open 7 days a week from 10:00-17:00; adult tickets £14, children £9. Click here to learn more.
National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
About 2 hours drive from Silverstone (and a similar distance from London), Beaulieu is a stunning stately home in the New Forest, and the location of the National Motor Museum. Admission is £20 for adults and £12 for children. The McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 is here, as is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Delorean, and plenty of Astons and Bentleys. Click here to learn more.
One of the UK’s finest stately homes with an impressive 2000 acres of parks and gardens, Blenheim Palace is just 25 miles from Silverstone and is well worth a visit when you are in the area. Tickets to see the Palace, Park and Gardens cost 21.50 GBP for adults, 11.80 GBP for children and 57 GBP for a family . If you only visit the Park and Gardens, entry is discounted by around 40%. Learn more about Blenheim Palace by clicking here.
Shopping at Bicester Village
Fancy a bit of retail therapy? One of the UK’s best known designer retail shopping centres is located in Bicester, just 15 miles from Silverstone. With more than 130 outlets and a range of products available, Bicester Village is open seven days a week. Find out more here.
Eat and Drink
If you’re not camping trackside for the British Grand Prix, you’ll be spoilt for choice with places to eat, drink and pass the time, especially if you decide to stay in one of the larger centres nearby such as London, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Northampton or Oxford. Get hold of a good city guide and check out websites like Time Out for worthwhile places to head for during your time here. We’ve selected some of the best places to eat and drink near Silverstone.
The Hub & Xscape, Milton Keynes
If you’re staying in or near Milton Keynes, The Hub is a purpose-built gastronomy district made up entirely of bars, cafes and restaurants. Ideal for a post-quali burger or an all-out Indian feast to celebrate the end of the big weekend. You’ll find plenty of big names here, from Jamie’s Italian to Caribbean eatery Turtle Bay, plus Strada, Pizza Express, Brown’s, Loch Fyne and Café Rouge.
Milton Keynes also has a few big nightclubs if you fancy making a night of it. Head for the Xscape complex and grab a drink at SnoBar or go dancing at Revolution. The futuristic looking complex also boasts a casino, cinema complex, tenpin bowling, indoor snow slope and lots of pubs, bars and restaurants.
The Lamplighter, Northampton
A friendly pub with a great bar menu and a program of weekly events like open mic and quiz night. The Lamplighter does a mean Sunday roast, and they put on either live music or a DJ at the weekend if you fancy a bit of a post-race boogie.
Villiers Restaurant, Buckingham
One of the smartest places to eat in the area, Villiers Restaurant is part of the hotel where the McLaren team have been known to stay. Who knows, you could be rubbing shoulders with Jenson Button at the salad bar. Service is traditional and they do a reasonable set menu for lunches and dinners.
The Navigation, Towcester
An unpretentious English country pub just six miles from the racetrack. The Navigation does proper pub grub and a whole host of hearty grilled food in a pretty canalside setting. Perfect for whiling away a summer’s evening after a long day at the track.
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