Steve's Rough Guide to the British Grand Prix

Main Entrance

For Formula 1 one of the biggest names is Silverstone where the British Grand Prix it first hosted back in 1948. As a bit of a fan, I have always wanted to attend the GP and, as I am living in England, thought I would finally buck up the money and attend in 2008 where I had a non-seat ticket to a section then again in 2023 where I splashed out with a grandstand ticket (Club Corner C) opposite the podium, right on the start/finish straight…So, this page has some information I gathered over my experience that may be helpful…

General Notes

It can be very loud being close to the track so ear protection is definitely recommended as is rain gear (regardless of what the sky looks like). Days can be very long with events often going from 9:00 am to about 6:00 pm (if you want to stay for the whole thing).

It is probably a good idea to pick up one of the (shudder) disposable radios or, better, listen in to the track radio on your phone if you want to pick up the commentary as the cars do make quite a racket and you will not hear the tannoy. Otherwise all you will get out of it is a never ending parade of fast moving cars passing in front of you with no idea of context or, at least, knowing what is going on elsewhere on the track.


Entering the Site

Tickets are for sale generally a year ahead of the GP which is held in June/July every year from the Silverstone web site Be prepared to spend well into the £100s for a ticket. Tickets are on sale for just a single day (e.g. Sunday) or all days of the event.

Grandstand - A seat that may even be covered with great views of the track which, obviously, is the most expensive option but probably the most comfortable. While you are assigned a seat on all days EXCEPT race day you can sit wherever you like in your assigned section.

Terrace - A “terrace” seat (for those people that may not be familiar with the term) is an area beside the track where no seating is provided. Often concrete portable seating is a must. This is one of the cheapest options for ticket and can provide a VERY close view of the action…

General Admission - The cheapest ticket but does not provide any reserved area for seating. You have to take your chances here…be prepared to run when the doors open in the morning…

Of course, anything is available for a price. If you want to have a trip to the pits, pit passes are available for sale (if you have purchased tickets watch out for an email detailing how to purchase these passes) as well as prizes offered by some groups on the grounds.

Tickets are scanned as you enter the site and any bags you have will be subject to search, as you might expect. They are pretty lenient as to what they allow in, including food and drink, just don't bring any glass with you. DO, however bring raincoats and sun cream if it is sunny.

The Timetable

The three day weekend is composed of the following:

  • Friday - Practice sessions for the Formula 1 race. This day is “free seating” meaning that any ticket to the grounds allows access to any seating or area around the track. This is a good chance to have a look around the place and see what there is to see…
  • Saturday - Qualifiers for the Formula 1 race. Assigned seating areas only today. Generally more people than on Friday…
  • Sunday - Race day. Assigned seats/seating area only today. VERY busy and expect a lot of time to get in and out of the track.

It should be noted that throughout the weekend there are various other races (qualifiers, practice sessions, Porsche Supercup, classic car racing, Formula 2, Formula 3, etc.) as well as other displays on offer.

Where is the Best View?

Behind the Stands

This is the perennial question. Which section of the track offers the best view of the race? If you want to experience the sheer speed and exhilaration of the race then Becketts is definitely a place to be while Stowe tends to see a lot of accidents. If you want to get really close to the cars then the final corners at Stowe, Vale or Club is the place to be. Though they are not travelling fast you are not much more than 40 feet from the cars…

Of course, there is always “Copse” which offers a great view of both the stretch leading to (the corners) Maggotts and Becketts. A lot of action happens here, particularly early in the race…

Club Corner Stand View from Club Corner Full Grandstand Final Corners

I found our seats in Club Corner were well worth the money - Covered but with an angle that allowed you take in the action all the way from Stowe, the final corners, then the start/finish straight to the first corner at Abbey. You could also see the podium and see the action in the pits as well. These seats are also quite a ways up in the air so you really can take it all in quite easily no matter where you sit in this section.

Track Invasion - 2023

In recent years the track seems to be invaded at the end of every race despite a number of pleas by the management not to do so. If you do go onto the track after the race be aware that you are taking a risk and if something happens I am not sure how much sympathy you will get from the volunteers. Personally I was happy to sit back and watch the podium ceremony.


TIP: Be sure to pick up a map of the site which are generally handed out for free or there is a map in the show guide. The show guide, though expensive, may be useful to buy as it has information on all of the drivers, not just Formula 1, as well as timings for all of the events as well as articles you can read between action on the track. You can buy the guide on site, no need to pre-purchase as the voucher is more an annoyance than anything.

There are lots of places to buy souvenirs throughout the grounds as well as very good and, surprisingly, not TERRIBLY expensive food though not the cheapest. Everyone now accepts plastic so no need for cash. Do not expect haute-cuisine but it is quite good, really…Gourmet burgers and the like. Expect to queue particularly on race day. There are toilets everywhere but, again, expect to queue during peak times.

Team Exhibit

Expect that cap that you want from your favourite team to be VERY expensive as well as any shirts or what-not that you would like. Bargain shopping is not possible here…


A big thing in recent years is the fan zone which is located on part of the old Silverstone track between Abbey and Brooklands - Trust me, you can't miss it. It is massive and features a huge stage, Ferris wheel, food, grass to picnic on (if you don't mind getting stepped on), etc. This is where the drivers will occasionally appear on stage to talk about the race.

Ferris Wheel Fan Zone

Terrace Etiquette

Due to the nature of the terrace seating things can get a bit fraught.

  • On race day be prepared to be amongst the first onto the circuit when the doors open to secure your place in the terraces. The terraces will also be VERY crowded.
  • Be aware that umbrellas can obstruct other people's view.
  • Terraces can be loud places – Not just the cars, the people!
  • Terraces are NOT covered…If the rain comes…
  • Be kind to your neighbours – It is very crowded.

Terrace Fun

Getting There

The Silverstone circuit is located just outside of Northampton off of the M1 motorway north of London or half an hour east of the M40 just north of Oxford, just south of the A43. There are some huge parking lots on site with tickets purchasable along with your tickets though expect it to take a while to get out on race day (oddly, getting in never seems to be a problem).

Car Park...and Mel

There is also the well-known option of taking a helicopter to the circuit which avoids the traffic situation entirely (though even the helicopters can be VERY busy). Several groups offer packages that will fly you in and out of the track.


Expect at least some rain during the course of the weekend. Though there were problems in past years with car parks turning into oceans this situation has been improved over the years and is MUCH better now.


Though Silverstone itself does not offer any accommodation a number of local farmers (and land owners) do provide camping on their land. This is actually a reasonable option as you can walk to and from the circuit every day – Walking past the queues of traffic as you go. Of course, you need to consider the above, namely, “Weather”.

Lewis Hamilton Cruising to Victory 2008