Home  //  Circuit Guides Formula 1 Great Britain (Silverstone)
Written by @Damien_Marquez   
Thursday, 02 January 2014 00:00

Silverstone is the flagship circuit of British motor racing, and to some extent, Formula 1. The feeling there can only be rivalled by the tifosi at Monza. Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Lotus, McLaren, Force India, Williams, Marussia and Caterham all call this race home and many of their fans make the journey to support the teams. Motorsport and F1 in particular are very well followed in the UK. The knowledgeable sell-out crowd usually makes this event a 'must-attend' for any Formula 1 enthusiast.

2014 marks the 50th running of the event which takes place on the 4-5-6 July. The anniversary celebrations kick off with a performance of the Kaiser Chiefs on Thursday 3rd July (tickets sold separately) and carries on during Friday with a 40's to 80's vintage fashion competition a la Goodwood Revival to win grid passes. Throughout the weekend there will also be parade laps of heritage grand prix cars. So bring on your best attire and join the festival mood!


Silverstone Wing - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

In case you're wondering between attending the British or another grand prix, it is worth noting that Silverstone is one of the few Formula 1 venues that does not receive government funding and relies almost entirely on some 120,000 spectators on the Sunday to keep the event going. The support bill features round 5 of the GP2 Series, round 3 of the GP3 Series and round 4 of the Porsche Supercup.

 

CONTENTS

1 // Location and accommodation
2 // Money matters
3 // Ticket prices
4 // Which grandstand to choose
5 // Tips and recommendations
6 // How spectators rate the event
7 // Useful links to prepare your trip to Silverstone

 

1 // LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATION

The Silverstone Circuit is located between Milton Keynes, Northampton and Banbury. By car, it takes just under two hours to drive the 70 miles from Central London and about 90 minutes for the 60 miles separating Birmingham from the track.

Directions:
From London, exit the M1 at Junction 15a and take the A43 in the direction of Oxford. The circuit is about 4 miles down the road and well indicated from Towcester onwards. If coming from Birmingham, exit the M40 at Junction 10 and take the A43 towards Northampton. Brown tourist signage is posted from Brackley onwards.

Parking:
Depending on your budget, you can either purchase a permit to park at the circuit or book a spot at one of the two Park & Ride locations, situated at the Northampton Sixfields Stadium by the M1 or the Turweston Aerodrome off the M40. If you're camping, car parking is included in the price. Bike park for free at the Silverstone Circuit.

Public transport:
The journey by train from London Euston to Milton Keynes Central is much faster and only takes 30 minutes. From there, you can take a shuttle bus to the track, which takes another 45 minutes. If coming from Manchester Piccadilly, add 1 hour and 15 minutes reach Milton Keynes. Northampton is the closest train station if you're heading to Silverstone from Birmingham. The journey takes approximately an hour from New Street station and you'll need another 30 minutes by bus to get to the circuit. Megabus also offer a number of direct coach services from many cities across England, Wales and Scotland. Whilst it takes a bit longer to reach the Silverstone Circuit, it takes away the hassle of connecting while travelling with like-minded spectators. For example, from London (Victoria Coach Station), the coach leaves at 7.30am and arrives at the circuit for 10am. This service also stops in Luton (Railway Station). It is worth noting taxis require a parking permit to enter the precinct and that because the A43 becomes a one-way road for the grand prix, you'd also need to pay the cab for the whole. If you have that kind of budget, you may want to consider a helicopter ride instead.

Accommodation:
One of the great things with Silverstone is that you can tailor your budget or comfort requirements. This ranges from the simplest form of camping at Woodlands or Litchlake Farm to the extravagant Snoozebox Hotel behind the National Pits. Between these two extremes, there is more comfortable camping at Whittlebury Park (including the IntentsGP pre-erected campsite) and hotel stays in the vicinity of Milton Keynes or Northampton. Check Booking.com, our hotel partner, for their genuine room reviews in the area.


Club Corner and International Pits Straight grandstands - Image: Ferrari S.p.A

 

2 // MONEY MATTERS

The UK isn't exactly renowned for its cheap prices and chances are you are going to find the experience requires a much more significant budget than most other grands prix.

The overall average costs (per adult) of getting and staying there for the weekend, we would advise to plan for the following:
- £200 for transport/parking (if originating from the UK),
- £45-£265 for a campsite plot (Woodlands/Litchlake Farm/Whittlebury Park) or £25-£700 for hotel accommodation (the further the cheaper). New for 2012 is the Snoozebox (ensuite cabins with all mod cons behind the National Pits Straight) for £200 a night; and
- £65 for food and beverages. Although food prices inside the circuit are comparable to those in Central London, it is worth noting that Silverstone is one of those rare circuit organisations that allow food to be taken inside.

It is possible to spend far less than the above, however, the above figures are based on listed prices and the actual budget of 8 spectators who attended the 2011 event.

 

3 // TICKET PRICES

The funny thing with Silverstone is that, relative to other grands prix, the cheapest tickets are quite expensive and somehow the most expensive tickets are reasonably priced. Value for money is therefore found in the more expensive tickets.

The above figures include a £7 / $12 / €9 handling fee and have been rounded up to the nearest £/$/€10.

Click the circuit map below for a full size image.


Image: Silverstone Circuits Limited

 

4 // WHICH GRANDSTAND TO CHOOSE

Most grandstands offer a sizable view of the track, which is better than most other circuits.

The views from the International Pits Straight grandstand are no different to any other pit straight on the calendar. Great atmosphere at the start and finish. The view can be a bit disappointing when you compare these grandstands to others around the track.

Abbey has views on the start/finish line and the pit lane exit. Unfortunately, despite being located in front of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari pit garages, very little of the pit stops can be seen due to the pits being at a lower level than the main track obstructing the view. The TV screen is also quite far away and not directly opposite the grandstand.

Farm Curve is located after the first corner and pit lane exit. This allows to clearly see which driver is leaving the pits and a good spot for amateur photographers due to the slower speed of the cars leaving the pits. There is also a view into the Village corner and The Loop.

Village A has great views of the track through the Village Loop. You can also view across to Maggots and Becketts. The TV screen opposite is well positioned.

From Woodcote A, you can see the whole of Luffield Corner, Woodcote Corner, right down the National Pits Straight. The cars are very slow and twitchy through Brooklands and Luffield corners - a good spot to take pictures.

Copse is fantastic. The quick change of direction from the F1 cars taking this right-hander is very impressive. There is also a great view of the big screen.

Club Silverstone and Becketts are the only places where you can watch the cars on two different parts of the track, as cars can be seen on their way back through the Village complex. The change of direction of the Maggots and Becketts corners is a joy to watch and this grandstand also provides views of the cars going down the Hangar Straight towards Stowe Corner.

Opposite, Village B only offers views of the slow Village Loop - another great spot for taking pictures, although be aware that in the past it offered a poor view of the TV screen.

Stowe is a very fast corner where there is usually some overtaking induced by driver mistake. Always a favourite with the regulars. Stowe A is closer to the track but Stowe B offers a better overall view from Hangar Straight (also visible from Stowe A) down to Vale, the pit entry and Club (also visible from Stowe C). Stowe C is quite a bit away from the track due to the gravel trap in front of it. All three grandstands have a good view of the big TV screen there.

Whist great of knowing who comes into the pits, the Vale grandstands are quite far from the track. There is a General Admission area between the track and the stands. It is also far away from a large TV screen.

Club Corner offers exceptional views: from Stowe, down to Vale for pit entry, Club Corner and the International Pits Straight for the start/finish and pit stops. It is also the grandstand facing the podium.


View of the BRDC Clubhouse from Luffield - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

 

5 // TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

- Take a radio and tune in to BBC Radio Five Live.

- The weather can be unpredictable and variable at the best of times. Bring both sun protection and rain gear as the weather can change in minutes. Avoid umbrellas, as they obstruct the view of the spectators behind.

- Make sure you get to the circuit really early if you hold a general admission ticket. Save a spot just before 6am (no typo there) as the best viewing area will be full after the hour.

- Take a camping (folding) chair if you are opting for a General Admission ticket. A good spot from where to watch qualifying and the race is at the exit of Becketts. Although you need to get there very early to mark your spot, you'll find out everyone is very friendly and will keep an eye on your chair if you want to go to get food or drinks. The only downside of Becketts is the shortage of toilets. Be prepared to queue for up to 30 minutes.

- Other recommended GA views are from Club/Vale and Luffield.

- A one way system is put in place around the weekend so it can be difficult to get in and out by car. No problems on Saturday apart from lack of signposts in the car park. In case you are not sure whether allowed to park in a spot when you arrive, ask a steward.  To leave, drive until you see an exit sign (not as easy this may sound).

- A lot of people choose to camp at Silverstone during the grand prix weekend, to avoid commuting to either Northampton or Milton Keynes. This is definitely the best option for those wishing to 'rough it out' as it removes the need to drive in and out of the circuit everyday. Most camp sites are within walking distance (at least 10 minutes) and the furthest out often offer shuttle buses.

- However, don't camp if you're not prepared for it to be a grim experience if it rains. Dismiss chances of showers in Silverstone at your perils. Katy Peach (@PeachyF1) recommends those going general admission to watch from Luffield and camp at Litchlake as it is great value for money: only £45 for the whole weekend (Thursday to Monday) and has lots of on site shops and entertainment.

- There was a campsite hosted by Marussia F1 Team in both 2010 and 2011. It is quite expensive but you get to meet their drivers and there are bands playing every night as well as a giant TV screen with reruns of practices, qualifying & race. A brilliant experience thoroughly recommended no matter which team you support. They also provide free shuttle buses to/from circuit every day.

 

6 // HOW SPECTATORS RATE THE EVENT

 

7 // USEFUL LINKS TO PREPARE YOUR SILVERSTONE TRIP

silverstone.co.uk - tickets and information
silverstonewoodlands.co.uk - Woodlands campsite information
whittlebury.com - Whittlebury Park campsite information and bookings
silverstone.co.uk/about/accommodation/snoozebox - Snoozebox (portable) Hotel
silverstone-camping.co.uk/ - Litchlake Farm campsite
booking.com - our reliable hotel reservation partner
thetrainline.com - train tickets

 

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following spectators who submitted their review of the 2012 edition:

Claire Louise (follow @little_bear85 on Twitter - General Admission)
@RedFive_F1 (no longer on Twitter - Farm Curve)
Mike Bertrais (follow @Mike1401 - General Admission)
CODGE (follow @Codge_r - General Admission)
Baer (Club)
Paul Taylor (follow @paultaylor747 - Club)
Rebecca (General Admission)
Gareth Richardson (General Admission)
Warwick Brown (Club Silverstone)
Katie S (follow Katiest1979 on Twitter - General Admission)
Bogdan Velica (Village B)
Tony Hill (International Pits Straight)
Ross Curtis (General Admission)
Two anonymous reviewers (Club Corner and Woodcote B)

and the 2011 edition:

Aaron Marsh (follow @VeedubGeezer on Twitter - Farm Curve)
Kathryn O'Leary (follow @Thrinne1 - General Admission)
Kayleigh (follow @kayels on Twitter - Brooklands corporate hospitality)
Katy Peach (follow @PeachyF1 - General Admission)
Lee Edgson (follow @edgsonimages - Club)

 

Have you been to the British Grand Prix? Leave your impression of your Silverstone experience in the 'Write a Review' section of this website.

If you would like to add further information or correct any of the above article, please leave your comments below.

British Grand Prix spectator guide
 

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