Pick up your pen or open your smartphone calendar now. Because below, is your definitive guide to the best classic car events in and around the UK, for the year ahead. We’ve cherry-picked two events per month, so you’re spoilt for choice of things to do see and do. No matter how hectic your social life is, you should be able to visit at least one of these incredible classic car shows.
Top tip: September is without doubt ‘the month of the classic car show’, so that’s the month to keep your diary clear if you want to visit the biggest and arguably best of the bunch.
When: New Year's Day
Where: Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Drive, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 0UN
Why go: If your New Year’s resolution is to go to more Classic Car Shows, this is a great way to start. Billed as the largest New Year’s Day gathering in the UK and with over 1,000 vintage vehicles on display, it also boasts displays, food stalls (including a BBQ) and live music.
Know before you go: If you’re not exhibiting, make sure you park at the visitor car park in ‘The Heights’, off Wellington Way.
When: First Sunday in January
Where: Bicester Heritage, Buckingham Road, Bicester, Oxon OX27 8AL
Why go? Held at the Former WW2 RAF bomber station, the Bicester Heritage is set within 348 acres of land and is bursting with just about every classic car and racing car you can think of. More than your average classic car show, the Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble offers entertainment including a mobile cinema, Home Guard re-enactment, vintage vehicles, displays and live restoration projects.
Know before you go: Book your car parking ticket in advance, as they’ve been known to sell out. Food and drink is available but popular, so make sure you go early or take a picnic.
When: Mid February
Where: Excel London
Why go? Well for starters, this event is indoors, which makes it the ideal day out in February. But being indoors doesn’t make it tame. Far from it. It boasts an indoor runway so you can see the cars in action. And you REALLY can hear them roar. You’ll see thousands of cars and products on display, from all over the world.
The show has a different focus each year. In 2019, the it celebrated the career of Jaguar’s Design Director; Ian Callum.
Know before you go: Buy your ticket in advance to save £5
When: Mid - late February
Where: Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, CV8 2LZ
Why go? Over 250 exhibitors, a motorsport live stage for talks from legends of the motorsports industry, ‘arrive and drive’ experiences, iconic race and rally cars, the chance to bid and buy your own dream car at the Silverstone auction… there are so many reasons to visit this great show. This list is just the beginning.
Know before you go: Buy your tickets in advance to save £5
When: Late March
Where: Birmingham NEC
Why go? Thousands of classic cars, as well as car auctions, cars for sale, quirky features such as the top 20 barn finds from across the UK and the Practical Classics Live stage where you can watch a restoration in action.
TV motoring celebrities are a regular feature too. Previous popular petrol heads have included Paul Cowland from Salvage Hunters and The Car Years' Vicki Butler-Henderson.
Know before you go: Restoring a classic car to it’s former glory? Come prepared with any questions you have and expert help will be at hand.
Where: Isle of Man
Why go? The Isle of Man is the perfect place for rallying. It may be only 33 miles long and 13 miles wide, but it has over 600 miles of rural roads. Whether you want to take part, or spectate, it’s a great excuse for a long weekend away with some of the friendliest classic car enthusiasts you could ever meet.
Know before you go: Pack for four seasons. The weather can be notoriously unpredictable.
When: Early April
Where: Kent Showground, Detling, Maidstone, ME14 3JF
Why go? This one’s a bit niche but if you like buses, you’ll love it. There are over 100 vintage buses on display. However, don’t be tricked into thinking it’s a one trick pony, the Kent Heritage transport show also boasts classic cars built from 1900-1989, model displays, a miniature railway, an autojumble and of course the obligatory food and drink stalls.
Know before you go: Make sure you book a ride on one of the vintage vehicles
When: Easter Weekend
Where: Weston Park, Shropshire, TF11 8LE
Why go? Over 600 classic cars will be on show alongside vintage motorbikes and an extra special ‘classic commercials’ section. A tempting autojumble and craft tent will also be on site.
The event is built around an arena which features interviews with vehicle owners about how they were restored, their history and what drives their passion for classic cars, motorbikes and commercial vehicles.
Know before you go: Planning on exhibiting? Make sure you book your ticket in advance
Where: Llandudno, North Wales
Why go? It’s only the biggest and best vintage festival in Wales! It combines with the Victorian Extravaganza which features an old fashioned fairground, fancy dress and lots more heritage attractions, which makes it ideal for families or convincing your other half to join you at a car show.
There are over 450 classic cars to admire, alongside around 100 motorbikes.
Know before you go: The two events are on at the same time, but not in exactly the same place. Catch the free shuttle bus between them.
When: Early May
Where: St. Roses School, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4AP
Why go? This show’s been running for over 15 years and it always attracts a great selection of classic cars and motorbikes - from the very earliest days of motoring, to some modern marvels. It also hosts an autojumble.
Know before you go: Proceeds from Wheel Nuts go towards St Rose’s School, which specialises in inspiring education, therapy and care for children with disabilities between 2 – 25 years old.
When: Father's Day
Where: Castle Howard, York, North Yorkshire, YO60 7DA
Why go? Men! If you have a family, this is the perfect excuse to do something you want on your special day. If you don’t have a family, it’s still a great day out.
The event takes place on the stunning grounds of Castle Howard and it attracts over 750 vintage, classic and modern vehicles. Including a number of electric cars. Each one joins a grand vehicle concour, where prizes for ‘car of the show’, ‘club of the show’ ‘pride of ownership’ and more are awarded.
A children’s entertainment zone hosts some great rides and an adventure playground too.
Know before you go: Castle Howard is a ‘treasure house’. In other words, it’s classified as one of the finest houses in England. It’s grounds are fully open to the public on the day, but you have to pay extra to explore the actual house.
When: Late June
Where: Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield, County Durham, TS21 2EH
Why go?A wide array of car clubs, judging and awards, an auto jumble, dealerships and over 400 vintage, classic and modern vehicles. It’s all set in the grounds of Hardwick Hall Hotel. Feel like treating yourself?
Why not make a proper weekend of it and book a night at the hotel. You could combine the car show with a trip to the world famous Beamish Museum.
Know before you go: Tickets available at classicshows.org
Where: Tankerton Slopes, Tankerton Road, Whitstable, CT5 2BE
When: Mid July
Why go? It’s free! Plus, there are over 6,000 cars on show, a retro market, music from the good old days, children’s entertainment and some tempting food stalls.
Know before you go: If you want to explore the area whilst you’re there, take the narrow alleys down to the famous beach – they were used by smugglers during the Napoleonic wars.
Where: Bolesworth, Cheshire
When: Late July
Why go: So many reasons! The brainchild of Chris Evan’s, Carfest features fantastic classic and vintage cars, alongside super trucks, historic F1 vehicles, cars from films, Hot Rods, historic rally cars and loads more. You can see most of them racing around the festival’s two paddocks.
Alongside the cars, there’s always a great music lineup. Previous headliners have included Tom Odell, Texas, Kaiser Chiefs, Hacienda Classical, Jools Holland, Ziggy Marley, Cast and All Saints.
Still want more? You can also explore the kids’ Zone and Vintage Carfest (featuring a wall of death, traditional funfair and circus). If all that sounds a little hectic, the Eden zone is a tranquil area where you can enjoy a massage, some relaxation and escape for some peace and quiet.
Know before you go: If you’re going as a family, under 6s are free. But remember you still need to select tickets for your under 6s when you buy your own.
Carfest South is held in late August, at Laverstoke Farm, Hampshire.
Where: Tatton park, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN
When: Mid August
Why go: This is a huge event in the midlands. One of the highlights is the Dream Car Pavillion. Here, you’ll find the most super of supercars, performance cars and one-of-a-kind cars.
You can also browse car club exhibitions, trade stands, the autojumble, beer stalls and kids’ rides and entertainment.
Know before you go: If your car was built pre-1990, you can exhibit it for free.
Why go? A traditional motoring heritage show set in beautiful grounds. You can take a civilised stroll amongst hundreds of vintage, classic and modern vehicles and feel like you’ve gone back in time.
There will be a full vehicle concours, alongside a an autojumble, trade stalls, and children’s adventure playground.
Know before you go: Tickets include entrance to the show, park grounds and Bowood House. Dogs are not allowed on site.
When: Early September
Where: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire UK
Why go? This four day event is arguably the most luxurious classic motor show in the country, if not the world.
Day 1. Dedicated to the ‘Concours d’Elegance, featuring rare classic cars and motorbikes.
Day 2. Ladies day – you definitely have to dress to impress. It’s as much about fine dining and shopping as it is about the cars.
Day 3. Salon Prive Masters. A celebration of one particular car maker. Previous years have featured Bentley, Ferraris and Porshe.
Day 4. Salon Prive Classic and Supercar day, featuring the Lockton Club Trophy. This is the most family-friendly day. Expect to see over 2,000 cars on display alongside yachts, helicopters and high-end brands. Be sure to visit the GT tour and Lockton performance supercar paddocks.
Know before you go: This event is a no jeans and trainers affair. Gentlemen are expected to dress in suits or chinos, ladies in smart, elegant dresses. Hats and fascinators are encouraged.
Where: Goodwood Racecourse, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0PS
When: Mid September
Why go? This three day festival celebrates the golden days of early motoring: the 1940s – 1960s. Witness priceless vintage cars roaring around the racetracks, dress in your finest 1940s-1960s fancy dress, do some plane spotting of pre-1966 aircraft, dance your socks off at the swing and jazz tents, have the ride of your life at the funfair and go to the Earl’s court marquee where legendary motorsport brands reveal their newest cars.
Know before you go: Many people make a weekend of it and decide to camp. If you thought camping was slumming it, think again.
You can rest your head in a pre-pitched Glamping site, and book a health pass at Goodwood House for a bit of pampering. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where: Bugatti Owners’ Club, Prescott Hill, Gotherington, Cheltenham, Glos. GL5 9RD
When: Early October
Why go? What better way to watch classic cars, than seeing them in action, careering around the glorious Cotswold countryside. The hill climb course is 1127 yards long and rises 200 ft via short straights and lots of twists and turns. Not to mention the hairpin bend.
A fantastic spectator event, there are lots of places to watch it with a picnic. There’s also a restaurant, complete with viewing terrace.
Know before you go: The lower part of the course and the surrounding estate is wheelchair accessible.
Parking is free. Under 14s go free.
Where: North York Moors Railway, Yorkshire, YO18 8DT
When: Three days, in mid-October
Why go? A slightly different take on your typical classic car show, but equally entertaining and still guaranteed to satisfy your hunger to admire classic cars (amongst other vehicles).
This event combines a trip back in time to World War Two with a ride on a steam railway. Each station is transformed into a different scene from WW2. You’ll visit a wartime street, the German-occupied French village of Le Visham and lots more. Sunday is usually the best day for vintage vehicles as it features a parade of classics including a 1930s Austin 10, Rolls Royce convertibles and army vehicles. The event also features big bands, re-enactment displays, stories, exhibitions and tea parties.
Know before you go: Tickets are £27 for adults, £13.50 for children. A family of four can go for £56 and there are discounts if you want to go for two or three day.
When: Early November
Where: Various location, from Hyde Park to Brighton Seafront
Why go: This event started in 1899, which officially makes it the oldest motoring event in the World!
The youngest car allowed to take part, was built in 1905, so you can expect to see some proper classics.
The 60 mile route starts in Hyde Park, then passes through areas including Brixton, Croydon, Coulsdon, Redhill, Gatwick, Cuckfield, Hassocks and finally finishes on Madeira drive, in Brighton.
Know before you go: Did you know you can follow the whole route on an open top bus? Tickets cost £100, which includes your return to London, the programme, and full access to view the cars in the paddock in Brighton.
Where: Birmingham NEC
When: Early November
Why go? This car show is huge. So what better way to escape the chilly Autumn weather than browsing over 3,000 gleaming classic cars. It features over 300 classic vehicle hubs, specialist traders, restoration project demos, interviews with motoring celebrities, car clubs, skills workshops, a car auction and much, much more.
Know before you go: Book your tickets online to save up to 15%. Tickets from £32.50 which includes a special addition Top Trumps pack.
What: Ace Cafe Classic Mini Meet
When: The first evening Thursday of every month
Where: Ace Cafe, North Circular Road, London
Why go? London’s legendary Ace Café originally opened in 1938. It’s been bombed, it’s been shut down, it’s re-opened and now, it reigns supreme amongst the most passionate of petrolheads.
The monthly Classic Mini Meet is a great opportunity to combine your love of the mighty mini, with rock ‘n’ roll music and drinks with fellow fans of arguable the most popular compact car ever made.
Know before you go: Did you know the Ace Café has opened up sister cafes around the world? The latest is in Orlando.
Where: Lakeland Motor Museum, Cumbria, LA12 8TA
When: Boxing Day
Why go? The perfect tonic after a day of Christmas indulgence. Get some fresh air and browse up to 150 classic cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles at this brilliant museum on the banks of Lake Windermere. Vehicles park in the car park, which makes this event free. However, you’re welcome to explore the actual museum too.
Know before you go: Exhibitors get free entry to the museum.
.... And that folks, is the end of your whistle-stop tour to the very best classic car events in and around the UK. We hope that at least one of them has caught your eye. Feel free to report back on any that you visit. We love a roaming reporter.