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The British Grand Prix at Silverstone

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The British Grand Prix held at Silverstone each year is one of the most prestigious events dedicated to motorsports in the UK. If you are a fan of motor racing or are just drawn to the high adrenaline and glamour of the event, you won’t be disappointed by the visit.

The Circuit’s History

The circuit is based near the village of Silverstone in Northamptonshire and it is one of the oldest continuously staged Grand Prix events in the world. Silverstone hosted its first international Grand Prix in 1948, and because of this, it then became home to the first ever Formula One Championship in 1950. That year, Guiseppe Farina won for the Alfa Romeo team and in 2016, Lewis Hamilton claimed his third successive home trophy for Mercedes.

The Grandstand

Over the years, the circuit and infrastructure at Silverstone have gradually been improved, and as it stands now, the track boasts world class facilities.  In recent years, more than £50 million has been spent upgrading the circuit and in 2012 two new grandstands were added, seating a capacity of 3,500 people.

The circuit also has its own campsite, which many visitors use over the course of the weekend whilst the track days take place. The good news for fans is that even if you aren’t in one of the grandstands, the 24 giant screens positioned around the track ensure you are unlikely to miss any of the action.

The Track

The track at Silverstone is 3.66 miles long and drivers compete over 52 laps, completing in total over 190 miles during the race. The lap record in a Grand Prix was set by Fernando Alonso in 2012, although Lewis Hamilton holds the fastest lap time, a second faster, but this was completed only in qualifying in 2013. The fastest corner is known as “Maggots” and drivers often take the bend at 188 mph experiencing almost 4.5g of force.

The Scale of the Operation

Over Grand Prix weekend there are around 900 volunteer marshalls on site whose responsibilities focus on spectators, incidents, and flags. There are also vast numbers of people on duty including track personnel; incident officers; pit marshalls; medical staff; and those taking care of hospitality in all its different forms.

The food and drink brought into Silverstone before Grand Prix weekend is estimated at around 20,000 bottles of mineral water, 10,000 bottles of wine and 6,000 bottles of champagne. As well as a variety of food outlets around the track, there is also hospitality offered at both the Brooklands and Woodcote Suites.

Besides those who camp at the site, it’s estimated that over 9,000 hotel beds are booked across Northamptonshire over the weekend of the Grand Prix, boosting the local economy.

Track Safety

Medical preparedness and safety is taken seriously at any Grand Prix event and the governing body of motorsport always looks to make improvements to keep the drivers as safe as possible in what is considered one of the most dangerous sports in the world. A huge medical team is always on hand including doctors, paramedics, nurses and radiographers.

Getting to Silverstone

If you are traveling by car, you can approach Silverstone from both the M1 and M40 and both are signed well. A three-day parking pass starts at £65. If you want to get to the track by rail, you will need to travel to the mainline stations of Northampton, Banbury or Milton Keynes and then take a bus or taxi to the circuit.

On F1 weekends it is best to be aware that the whole location gets hugely congested and there can be long queues at both arrival and departure times. If you want to avoid all that stress why not arrive and leave by air via a chartered helicopter flight.

Are You Ready for 2017?

If you are a seasoned F1 fan and you have never made it to Silverstone, maybe 2017 is the year for you. Tickets have already gone on sale and it’s vital to book early if you want to avoid disappointment. As well as purchasing tickets to the event it’s important to consider how you will travel and where you will stay, as accommodation will be pre-booked around a year in advance, so get thinking now!

The great thing about the Grand Prix weekend is that even if you can’t make race day on the Sunday, there are still opportunities to watch the practice laps and qualifying events on the Friday and Saturday and both are just as exhilarating as the race itself. However, if you are lucky enough to make it on the Sunday you will experience the thrill first-hand of seeing who lifts the trophy.

A Reveller’s Guide To Glastonbury

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Glastonbury Festival takes place in June and is held in Pilton, Somerset within walking distance of the iconic Glastonbury Tor. While Glastonbury is known throughout the world for its music, the festival also plays host to comedy, theatre, cabaret, circus, dance events and many more things that are best left to be discovered upon arrival.

The Early Days

Around 175,000 people now attend the festival annually which makes it the largest greenfield event in the world. This differs greatly from its beginnings in the early 1970s when around 12,000 people headed to a completely unknown commodity. The festival was an intermittent event until 1981 and then after that watershed year, it has only gained in popularity. Now it is held every year, except for a break every fifth year, so that the attendees, the organisers and even the land, can recover.

The Infrastructure

Glastonbury is a major undertaking in terms of infrastructure, with transport, water and electricity having to be put in place every year. With so many people on site, security is also a major concern. Many of the staff work on a voluntary basis which has meant that over the years the festival has raised millions of pounds for good causes. Most people camp at the site, in anything from a tiny tent they brought along with them through to luxury (glamping) yurts. A big part of the fun for many, however, is roughing it up for the best part of a week with their friends.

Headliners

Glastonbury headliners are always leading rock and pop bands but there are thousands of other artists who appear during the 5 days of the festival. The site itself is vast, covering over 1,100 acres, so while the Pyramid Stage is where all the main events take place, there are hundreds of different areas and arenas featuring all types of entertainment as well as bars, food courts and markets.

Headliners in 2016 on the Pyramid Stage were Adele, Muse and Coldplay, with special guest appearances from Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and Michael Eavis himself during Coldplay’s Sunday headline slot. Expect the unexpected is the unofficial motto at Glastonbury, and rightly so.

The Weather

Glastonbury is almost as famous for the weather as it is for music. With the notoriously changeable British Summer sometimes bringing sunshine and heatstroke to the attendees; but more often than not, bringing downpours which can turn the site into a mud bath. Whatever else you plan to take to Glastonbury, welly boots and a waterproof jacket are the first two items on your shopping list.

Getting There

By train, the closest station is Castle Cary. If bus is your preferred choice then you need to get to either Bristol or Bath and then you can take a local bus route from there. There is parking at the festival too, however this cannot be booked in advance and needs to be paid for in cash at the gate. Where possible they recommend car sharing to save on petrol and space. If you want to travel in style to the festival, why not charter a helicopter and travel stress-free. You can arrive cool, calm and unruffled, ready to enjoy the show.

Glastonbury is the type of event fans either go to year after year, never missing any of the big name acts, or it’s something that people have on their bucket list as a once in a lifetime experience. If it’s the latter for you, make sure you don’t miss out on such an amazing event. With this year’s event just over, you better start planning for 2017 in the coming months. Tickets generally go on sale around October time, with headline acts already confirmed as well, according to Mr Eavis (AC/DC and Daft Punk are the two rumoured names being mentioned most).Tickets cost around the £230 mark, but you get 5 days of camping for that, plus the thousands of artists and acts you get to see, as well as the memories that last a lifetime.

Royal Ascot: A Punter’s Guide

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Royal Ascot takes place over 5 days in mid-June every year and is a highlight of the racing calendar. While it is a social event, it is also the most valuable race meeting in Britain and many of the world’s finest racehorses, owners and jockeys gather to compete for more than £6.5 million in prize money. Horses which are now household names, such as Black Caviar, Yeats and Frankel, have been winners at past Royal Ascot meetings.

The most famous patron of Royal Ascot is Her Majesty The Queen and as a racehorse owner herself, this is an event she patently enjoys. The Queen always attends Royal Ascot and hasn’t missed a single Royal Procession during her reign. The Queen has also triumphed at the event when in 2013 her horse, Estimate, won the Gold Cup.

Fashion      

The fashion at Royal Ascot always makes a statement and you regularly see it featured in the media, particularly on Ladies Day. During 2016 Vogue ran a live timeline featuring the dress of the Royal party and race-goers.

Hats and fascinators are a big part of the event for ladies and often themed outfits make an appearance. Notable ones this year centred on the Referendum debate.

There is a strict dress-code depending on which enclosure you want to attend, however. The Royal Enclosure calls for formal daywear for ladies and either black or grey morning dress for gentlemen. Unfortunately, if you aren’t suitably attired, you won’t gain access. It is less strict in the Windsor Enclosure where, while no dress code is prescribed, attendees are still encouraged to wear smart clothes.

Food and Drink

Royal Ascot is at heart a social event and therefore food and drink play a big part in everyone’s enjoyment. When you think that more than 300,000 people attend the event over the five days it is perhaps unsurprising than 51,000 bottles of champagne and 160,000 glasses of Pimms are drunk.

Fine dining and private hospitality boxes are available at the event and the racecourse prides itself on the quality of the food and service on offer. You can choose from a wide range of Michelin-Starred and à la carte menus, the latter designed by an in-house award-winning team. With 5,000 kilos of salmon, 2,400 kilos of beef sirloin and 2,900 lobsters being consumed every year, you get an inkling of the scale involved.

The Racing

Racing is held every day during the 5 days of the event and there is a different highlight daily. Tuesday is opening day and the Queen Anne Stakes is run, named after Ascot racecourse’s founder who established the course in 1711. Thursday is Gold Cup Day and the finale on the Saturday is the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The most successful jockey to date in this race is Lester Piggott and Vincent O’Brien is its most successful trainer. It offers a prize of £600,000 for the winning owner.

Getting to Royal Ascot

Ascot is based in the heart of the Berkshire countryside and is accessible by road on the M3, M4, M40, and M25 depending on which direction you are coming from and there is extensive parking available at the event. If you think you will be enjoying a glass or two of Pimms the safer option is to book a limo or to travel by train direct to Ascot station, which is about 50 minutes from central London. If you want to arrive in style, then why not charter a helicopter. You won’t be alone as around 400 helicopters arrive at the event every year.

Royal Ascot is definitely worth booking into your diary as it is a highlight of the social calendar. Whether you want to attend for the racing or just to have a great day out, you won’t be disappointed.

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