Goodwood bank holiday festival promises racing and much more

Action from last year's August Festival at Goodwood / Picture by Matt Sills
Action from last year's August Festival at Goodwood / Picture by Matt Sills

A heady mixture of top-class flat racing and family fun is promised at Goodwood over the bank holiday weekend.

From Friday 25 to Sunday 27, an enchanting long weekend that celebrates the Great British summer holidays of yesteryear will also feature top-quality horse-racing, fireworks and a host of nostalgic activities for the whole family.

The fixture opens with racing and entertainment on the Friday evening, the highlight of which is a dramatic fireworks display set to music – put on by the team that produced the display for the Queen’s Jubilee. Quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting displays on the south coast, the fireworks are expected to take guests’ breath away once again.

Preceding the fireworks, six races will be accompanied by live music from jazz bands, a string quartet and a rock ‘n’ roll band, as well as activities for children such as a traditional fairground and coconut shy. As the racing concludes and the sun goes down, fire performers and stilt walkers will make their way around the grandstands, as a band of Batala drummers set a hypnotic beat.

On the Saturday the action on track hots up, with the Group 2 Celebration Mile being the feature race of seven during the afternoon, with Sussex Stakes winner Here Comes When among a healthy field of early entries, while on Sunday the Group 3 Supreme Stakes leads another enthralling card.

For those wanting to take to the saddle themselves, albeit at a slightly slower pace, donkey rides will be a new attraction throughout the weekend. A petting zoo is adds to the family entertainment, while complimentary rides on various traditional attractions, such as a helter skelter, carousel and big wheel, will also make a welcome return. A replica beach front, complete with sun loungers, ice cream, fish and chips and jazz bands will be the perfect place to relax away from the action.

The little ones will no doubt be keen to visit the circus tent, with circus tutors teaching tricks and skills, regular Punch and Judy shows and face painting. The popular Goodwood Actors Guild will return, playing games of ‘invisible cricket’ and entertaining guests with a pantomime horse.

Tickets to the August Bank Holiday Weekend start from just £10 per day, with under 18s going free. All of the additional entertainment and activities are free on entry. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.goodwood.com

See the Observer on August 24 for a full preview of the racing programme.