The Goodwood Estate
“So much more than just a racecourse and a must-go for foodies”
Two weeks ago I went on a behind the scenes tour of Goodwood, which is just outside of Chichester in West Sussex. Before my visit I knew Goodwood was host to world-renowned racing and motoring events but the tour really opened my eyes to how much more is going on – particularly where food is concerned.
Goodwood House is set within 12,000 acres of Sussex countryside and it’s one of the finest stately homes in England. To help you visualise how vast this is, just imagine a football pitch and times it by 12,000!
It’s also the ancestral home of the Dukes of Richmond and Gordon, direct descendants of King Charles II. What’s more, it’s still lived in by the present Duke’s son and heir, the Earl of March and Kinrara, with his wife and family – what a life!
So what is there to do and most importantly, eat, at Goodwood…
1. Afternoon tea at Goodwood House
Not only does Goodwood put on an excellent, traditional afternoon tea, you get to enjoy it within the magnificent ballroom at Goodwood House, amongst some of England’s finest historic paintings. Select one of six loose-leaf teas (all Goodwood’s own blends) or upgrade to the Champagne Afternoon Tea for a truly decadent afternoon. All the usual suspects are there; freshly made finger sandwiches with a choice of four fillings; the Goodwood ham & pickle (from Goodwood’s own farm) and the chicken, pesto and rocket are my recommendations. Crusts are trimmed, tea leaves are served in a warmed silver teapot, and there’s an assortment of homemade cakes and pastries that change day-by-day depending on what takes the pastry chef’s fancy. All this, plus a guided tour of the house is just £25pp. More info here.
2. Dine at Goodwood’s sustainable restaurant
“Farmer, Butcher, Chef” is Goodwood’s field to fork, sustainable restaurant located just yards from Home Farm. The restaurant offers seasonally changing dishes, which showcase the quality, flavour and provenance of the meat produced on the farm. Farmed by the family for over three hundred years, Goodwood Home Farm is one of the only self-sustaining organic farms in Europe and was the first 100% organically fed dairy in the country. It produces cheeses, milk, cream, beef, lamb, pork as well as lager and ales. If you’re on a budget the pre-theatre and lunch menus are the way to go with 2 courses for £15 and 3 courses for £20. If you’re able to splash out, a couple of “The Butchers Boards” (£20 – £25 each) showcase a selection of cuts of Goodwood’s beef, lamb or pork and would be my choice. I’m planning to visit the restaurant in June so look out for my review of the experience next month. More info here.
3. Go to The Festival of Food & Racing
Horseracing has been held at Goodwood for over 200 years, with royalty, celebrities, sporting heroes, statesmen, artists and diplomats all attending at one time or another. Over 19 days (and commencing on May 9th) there are a flurry of races and events to attend, including one that’s most relevant to me: The Festival of Food & Racing – coming up this month on Saturday 26th May. I’ll be attending this with full access passes, which you can follow through my Instagram stories on the day and afterwards in my follow-up post. Expect lots of tastings, chef demonstrations, a farmer’s market and a gin garden – ooo er! More info here.
4. Order the “gin trolley” at The Kennels
As a Kennels clubhouse member you have access to an exclusive calendar of events and perks, for both you and a partner or spouse. These events include wine tastings on the Putting Green, outdoor movie evenings and after parties with the likes of Rudimental headlining. Membership also gives you access to eat in one of the two dining rooms at The Kennels, the main restaurant or the bar and to try more than 10 variations of gins with the gin trolley gin tasting experience. From what I tasted here at lunch the food will blow you away. Membership for the year is £180 and also allows you to invite up to seven guests to entertain at The Kennels per visit. More info here.
5. Go clay pigeon shooting
Until my visit to Goodwood, I’d never held a gun or imagined I’d be any good at shooting, but with some expert guidance and to my surprise, I hit 10 targets (clay pigeons not live animals!) I’m not a very sporty person but I got really into this activity and the hour we spent at the shooting range went far too quickly. If you fancy the experience too, shooting parties can be booked just for fun or for corporate away days from £144pp. All equipment is included in the price along with a professional instructor. More info here.
6. Play golf on a Championship course
More of the sporty type, or just fancy seeing whether golf is for you, Goodwood has two 18-hole Championship golf courses: The Downs Course, designed for those that enjoy more of a challenge and The Park Course, the gentler option. On Tuesday 5th June (International Women’s Day) Goodwood will offer complimentary ‘Get into Golf’ sessions for beginners alongside an 18-hole golf competition for women who already play. Membership to Goodwood Golf Course is £480 a year and includes access the The Kennels private members club and two complimentary tickets to The Festival of Speed. If that’s a bit much, you can just “pay & play” on The Park Course for as little as £20 a game. More info here.
7. Push yourself with a PT session
If you are the sort who likes to work up a sweat before you indulge ( not me – but I know others do), Goodwood Health Club is equipped with a state of the art gym and professional trainers. I did a work out with weights for the first time in my life with the help of PT and Olympic gold medal winner Sarah Ayton. The difference it made to how hard I pushed myself was felt later in the day, when my arms could barely lift a cocktail glass to my lips. More info here.
8. Take to the sky with a flying lesson
For a bird’s-eye view over the Solent and the Isle of Wight, Goodwood’s aviation experiences are just the ticket. A 45-minute lesson in a Cessna plane is £190 and a 60-minute lesson in a Piper Super Cub (classic aircraft) is £245. This is definitely one for my bucket list! More info here.
9. Admire the collections in Goodwood House
When visiting Goodwood you must take a tour of the house with James Peill, ‘The Curator‘, who is a fountain of knowledge, and deeply passionate about the history of the stately home. As you walk in the footsteps of aristocracy you will discover gilded rooms filled with fine furniture, Gobelins tapestries and Sèvres porcelain from the 18th century, as well as English Regency furniture in the Egyptian Dining Room. The jewels in the collection are two Canaletto oil paintings of London, which depict the view of the second Duke of Richmond’s London house, looking out to Whitehall and The Thames. A Venetian artist, Canaletto was very famous for painting scenes in Venice and in old master picture terms he’s what Damien Hirst or Jasper Johns is to contemporary art. The paintings can be found in the old main hall, over the fireplace. More info here.
10. Treat yourself with a spa day
Being the type of person who is prone to burnouts (I only have one-gear and that’s full pelt) I’m always on the hunt for places to recover and rejuvenate in. During my Goodwood day out, I had a heavenly back, neck and shoulders massage treatment at The Waterbeach spa and I can honestly say I can’t remember having such a soothing massage. (And I have them fairly regularly). Weekday packages (including 2 treatments) start from £125pp. More info here.
11. Stay at The Goodwood Hotel
If you are coming from Brighton or further afield, and planning to eat and drink a lot, you may want to make a weekend of it and stay at The Goodwood Hotel. The former 18th-century coaching inn is set within the acres of The Goodwood Estate and Bed & Breakfast board starts from £125pp. More info here.
12. Stay in Hound Lodge (if you’re rich enough!)
For a ‘mere’ £10,000 you can stay in the beautiful Hound Lodge and get up to whatever you fancy (make of that what you will…) The lodgings come complete with your own butler, a maid and a chef. With 10 bedrooms to share between 10 friends it’ll only set you back £1,000 each… ah well a girl can dream! More info here.
13. Travel back in time at The Goodwood Revival
Every September Goodwood goes back in time to the Golden era of the Goodwood Motor circuit (between 1948 and 1966). A period dress code is instated: tweeds and trilbies for men, furs and frocks for the ladies and a “classic cars only” policy is adopted on the track for the duration of the event. In addition to the vintage motors on show there’s also vintage fashion show and a pop up vintage high street complete with a salon, where you can book in for a hair and make-up appointment to complete your vintage look. One-day tickets for this year’s event which runs from 7-8th September, are £55 for the Friday or £78 on the weekend and £184 for the whole three days. More info here.
For more information about the goings on at Goodwood this year visit www.goodwood.com.
*Disclosure Goodwood invited me for a tour of the estate and to experience some of the recommendations mentioned above.
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