Review: Goodwood Revival 2021 makes a triumphant return

The Goodwood Revival was a fabulous triumph

The Goodwood Revival was a fabulous triumph - Credit: Eve Smallman

Classic cars, fabulous frocks and an amazing atmosphere Goodwood Revival was back in true style. Here's the scoop on our day of vintage thrills...

‘There’s nothing out there like this, is there?’ I said to my other half as we strolled along the vintage promenades, our smiles wide with excitement. Goodwood Revival is famous in Sussex and beyond for its wonderful way of transporting visitors through time, with vintage cars racing throughout the day and eye-catching vintage fashion. 

Discovering the boutiques, garages, stalls and décor was almost like being in Disneyland, albeit with a touch of refined vintage elegance. Everyone is encouraged to dress in 40s/50s/60s fashion to match the cars on display, and there was even a best dressed competition running throughout the day (if you didn’t dress up, you stuck out like a sore thumb, believe me!). 

Dressing up in vintage style is a must at the Goodwood Revival

Dressing up in vintage style is a must at the Goodwood Revival - Credit: Eve Smallman


This year's theme was sustainability, with all Revival-goers encouraged to source their outfits from second hand stores. Apart from my shoes and petticoat, I did just that and was quite pleased to be able to give a new lease of life to these pieces. The dress was a £15 steal from Depop, as was the bag, and the gloves were from Vinted. When buying my hat and pearls at a Sue Ryder store in the midlands, I mentioned to the assistant that I was heading to the Revival, and they keenly told me that they send stock to the event. This was interesting as it showed the event casting a wider net to make sure people were able to pick out second hand vintage goods that are wonderfully authentic.

Sustainability was a key initiative of the Goodwood Revival

Sustainability was a key initiative of the Goodwood Revival - Credit: Eve Smallman


The theme was also nodded to with the Make Do and Mend section, featuring a tent filled with sewing machines and trinkets to help people learn to make their garments last – an important message especially in the fast fashion world we live in. The area also hosted talks with experts on stage chatting about how they do this. The car boot sale and the reusable cup initiative were also great examples of the event promoting conscious buying. 

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To finish off my look I booked in at the on-site Betty’s hair and beauty salon for a proper 50s do. Unfortunately I got caught in the rain 10 minutes before my appointment and had to go and run my hair under the hand dryer so it was dry enough to style, but luckily we got there eventually. The ladies singing and chatting in the salon felt like how it would have been back in the day, and my hair was soon fit to match, with a decorative flower and coiffed curls to boot. It made me feel even more in the moment, and I would certainly recommend getting your booking in ASAP if you’re planning on going next year.

The Goodwood Revival was filled with vintage shops and stalls

The Goodwood Revival was filled with vintage shops and stalls - Credit: Eve Smallman


The main promenade was filled with fun shopfronts with different activities to partake in. My boyfriend and I were invited to have our pictures taken at the Randox store, with a proper vintage camera. I also span the Motul Racing Lab wheel, where oil testing was being carried out throughout the day – and bagged us an iron-on patch on the process. Jukeboxes, pubs, and Betty’s all also featured in this area.

The Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses at the Goodwood Revival were varied and exciting in make and taste

The Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses at the Goodwood Revival were varied and exciting in make and taste - Credit: Eve Smallman


I also sampled the cheese at Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, which were absolutely delicious. Fourth generation farmer Matthew Hall told me how they still used his grandma’s recipe as well as traditional curding techniques that are still used today. It is also one of the only cheesemakers that produce all the cheeseboard staples – a soft, hard and a blue. Supporting the UK cheese scene is a lovely way to populate your fridge with exciting flavours – and Matt tips cheese to be the next big foodie craze (following the likes of artisan coffee and craft beer).

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The other food and drink selections on offer were hugely varied, with something for everyone’s tastes, from fish and chips to chicken to pizza. We opted for the latter from The Tin Van Pizza (hot, fresh and vibrant), and turned around only to see Chris Barrie of Red Dwarf fame tucking into the same. We wondered whether so many celebrities go partially to enjoy the anonymity that being in costume allows (so you didn’t hear it from us, but other stars spotted throughout the weekend included Aquaman Jason Momoa, Rowan Atkinson and Bill Bailey).

The Goodwood Revival was filled with vintage shops and stalls

The Goodwood Revival was filled with vintage shops and stalls - Credit: Eve Smallman


On the back of a year when everything felt dystopian and unknown, being able to escape for a day to the gloriously fun Goodwood Revival was an absolute treat. No matter who we spoke to and saw, everyone was clearly living in the Goodwood moment and enjoying every second. It was full of joy, and was a triumphant return for the iconic festival.
Find out more about the Goodwood Revival at goodwood.com