Tradition and Glamour Combine at the British Grand Prix
Whilst Silverstone might not be the sunniest of the Grand Prix destinations, the quintessential British countryside, gorgeous stately homes and rich heritage make it a favorite on the racing calendar. The track itself is one of the most revered, having held the opening round of the first Formula 1 World Championship back in 1950 and now equipped with new, smart facilities to enhance the hospitality experience. Plus it’s close enough to London for a day trip, particularly if you travel by one of the private helicopter transfers that come, of course, with free flowing champagne.
First stop is Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa; the prime F1 institute in Northampton, located just 2 miles from the circuit. Though more modern than the nearby country mansions, the hotel features one of the country’s largest spas, a leisure club and three excellent, award winning restaurants as well as the legendary Silverstone Bar adorned with motor racing memorabilia. This year’s F1 guest package is particularly impressive, including access to private hospitality areas for champagne breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and a five course dinner, as well as an onsite host to ensure your day runs as smoothly as possible. Further down the road – 30 minutes to be precise – you’ll find Horwood House, a beautiful Edwardian manor set in 38 acres of landscaped gardens. This hotel is best for those looking for a calm retreat from which the hustle and bustle can be easily accessed and also escaped. The bedrooms are comfortable, cosy and inviting, and the service is first class. If the weather holds, the grounds are well worth exploring via the winding walking trails. As an alternative Villiers Hotel may not look like much, but this is the favoured hangout of the McLaren team and also home to a smart restaurant which draws a particularly glamorous crowd. The interiors are delightfully traditional: flagstone floors, ancient beams, log fires and tartan prints. Even better, the hotel sits in prime location near to the stunning estates of Bletchley Park, Blenheim Palace and Warwick Castle, as well as the famed designer outlet shopping village, Bicester.
Country pubs are the go to in Silverstone for good food. A ten minute walk from the circuit, The White Horse pub is one of the most popular post race. The pub has seen many famous feet walk through its ancient door who come for the impressive selection of real ales, traditional cider and unpretentious atmosphere. The Navigation is a great alternative 6 miles down the road, sitting prettily on the canalside in the nearby village of Stoke Bruerne. There’s no better place to sip an ice cold pimms on a warm summer’s day. On site, the Porsche Restaurant located on the first floor of the Porsche Experience Centre boasts floor to ceiling windows providing fantastic views of the circuit and an excellent three course set menu. Brooklands Restaurant also claims enviable trackside views with balconies looking down the Wellington Straight, and across Brooklands and Luffield Corners. Meanwhile, the new Driver’s Lounge in the Lakeside Marquees complex promises a more lively hospitality experience with simulators, huge video screens and an in-house DJ. Plus, dining is buffet style so you can graze all day from a feast of mouth watering dishes. The most exclusive place to be though is, as always, the Formula One Paddock at the top of the pit lane. Here you can rub shoulders with celebrities and drivers fresh from the race.
Alongside the cars, there’s a weekend long party going on too. The Young Guns opening reception invites six Grand Prix drivers onto the stage for a talk moderated by Niall Mackenzie followed by a charity auction and sumptuous dinner. Elsewhere catch the likes of Scouting For Girls on the venue’s main stage and The Feeling headlining at the legendary Grand Prix After Party on Sunday when F1 royalty will also make guest appearances.
- Whittlebury Hall Hotel
- Horwood House
- Villiers Hotel
- Bletchley Park
- Blenheim Palace
- Warwick Castle
- Porsche Restaurant Porsche Experience Centre
- White Horse Pub