The best Christmas driving experience days in the UK

Many of us love driving, but travelling to work and back every day or taking a short trip at the weekend sometimes just doesn’t feel like enough for those who enjoy nothing more than getting up some speed on the open road.

With Christmas around the corner (no pun intended) we thought that now would be a good time to take a look at what festive treats are available for that person in your life who has always wanted to tear around a race track in a classic automobile or modern supercar.

There are many famous tracks around the UK which offering a variety of thrilling driving experiences, allowing you or your loved one to live the dream of navigating corners and bombing down straights in a truly special car – without any queues or traffic lights to slow you down!

We asked some of the best names in the business about the driving experience packages they have available, and what they had to say will leave you desperate to get behind the wheel right away.

Silverstone

Caterham Drift Experience at Silverstone

Widely regarded as the UK’s premier racing circuit, Silverstone is home to numerous professional motoring events of national and international standing. Most famously of all, it hosts the legendary British Grand Prix, which was first held at the circuit way back in 1948.

Here’s what the experiences team at Silverstone had to say about how you can emulate your heroes with a spin around the famous track:

“At the home of British Motor Racing we offer a range of driving experiences to suit all levels of adrenaline needs. Whether you’re looking to replicate your favourite Formula 1 driver in our Formula Single-Seaters, or scream out of Silverstone’s famous corners in our supercars, you won’t be disappointed!

“You can choose between our Ferrari F430 Coupe and our Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Or why not take them both out for a spin in our Head to Head Challenge, and pitch both cars against each other? You’ll be one of the lucky few who can genuinely settle the argument between the roaring Ferrari, and the British thoroughbred Aston Martin. 

Single seaters in garage at Silverstone

“If supercars aren’t your thing, get behind the wheel of a 165bhp Caterham and put your drifting skills to the test. You can go it alone and take on a challenger in a head-to-head race, after learning to control the car with one of our professional racing drivers. Don’t want to drive? Climb into the passenger seat of one of our Hot Rides, where you can experience our world-famous circuit in a Caterham driven by a pro instructor.

“The fun doesn’t stop there; welcome to the world of natural obstacles, mud, and shale on our Silverstone Rally Experience. Watch the grit fly from your first handbrake turn as you speed over the terrain of our unique course. You will learn all the techniques of rally driving, and set a time on the rally stage to see who has the fastest lap!

“For more information, please visit www.silverstone.co.uk.”

Goodwood Motor Circuit

Goodwood Motor Circuit entrance

Goodwood Motor Circuit is another true institution of British motorsport, located near the West Sussex city of Chichester and part of the iconic Goodwood estate. The circuit is home to the wonderful Goodwood Revival event, which every year takes spectators and drivers back in time over 50 years to the ‘golden era’ of racing.

You do not have to be a racer yourself to experience the wonders of this famous track, however, as the team at Goodwood took the time to explain. Read on to find out more about how you and your loved ones can drive around this legendary circuit, as well a brief introduction to what makes the estate such a special place to visit.

About Goodwood:

Goodwood Motor Circuit has a rich history, having first opened its gates to the public in 1948 to host Britain's first post-war motor race meeting at a permanent venue. Since that time, the circuit has hosted some of the most inspiring names in racing history - from Sir Stirling Moss and Bruce McLaren to Sir Jackie Stewart.

“Goodwood Motor Circuit is the only classic race track in the world to remain entirely in its original form. The historic two-and-a-half-mile circuit, with its famously long and demanding sweeps and curves, provides a real challenge and joy for any driver who loves the feeling of high speed. 

Classic cars racing at Goodwood Revival (Photographer: Jayson Fong)

Public driving experiences:

“A range of driving experiences are offered, from Hot Laps where you are driven at high speed by one of Goodwood’s professional racing drivers, to Spin and Slide, where you can master powerslides, J-turns and handbrake turns on a low grip area.

“Without doubt the most exhilarating experience, though, is Performance Track, where you can drive a number of different performance BMW cars from the M range, with expert guidance from Goodwood’s instructors. The experience includes two and half hours of tuition, three 15-minute sessions on track, refreshments and even a soft tissue massage.

Corporate driving experiences:

“The Circuit has become famous in recent years for hosting the Revival, with historic races over a weekend in September. The Revival is the only historic race meeting to be staged entirely to a period theme. It is an unabashed celebration of flat-out wheel-to-wheel racing.

“The recently launched Revival Racing Experience is a fully immersive and memorable day for corporate clients. Before driving you will be welcomed to the Jackie Stewart Pavilion for a fabulous lunch, surrounded by ‘60s inspired interiors. After lunch, you will get behind the wheel of several classic cars in the fleet, including a Ford Cortina, Porsche 912, Alfa Romeo GTV and MK2 Jaguar – none of which have ABS or traction control. Your skills will be put to the test as you drive these stripped back cars as hard as you dare.

“For more information, please visit www.goodwood.com

Castle Combe

Ford Focus ST at Castle Combe

Yet another historic motor racing location where you can follow in the tyre marks of your driving idols, the Castle Combe Circuit in Wiltshire opened on the site of a World War II airfield in 1950 and has hosted a wide variety of motoring events – catering for lovers of both four and two-wheeled vehicles – ever since.

Here’s some more information from the circuit about the experiences you can enjoy at Castle Combe, many of which feature some of our favourite sporty Fords:

“For as little as £110, you can drive around a real race circuit in one of Castle Combe Racing School’s Ford Fiesta Zetecs and a Ford Focus ST2 – an excellent taster course that will leave you wanting more. Or, if you’re feeling brave, take to the wheel in one of the famous Formula Ford 1600s! Single seaters are the closest you may ever get to driving an actual Formula 1 car! As you sit in the small cockpit, you look out towards the start line, start to build the revs, then drop the clutch and launch down the straight. In a matter of seconds you'll be taking the corners and barrelling along.

Single seater car at Castle Combe

“If you order from Castle Combe Circuit and spend more than £50, use code MAG17 for a free Christmas Gift box worth £30!”

Virgin Experience Days

Virgin Experience Days giftcard and wallet

Of course, you may not have a particular track in mind when it comes to finding the perfect driving experience. It may be the car itself that’s your most important consideration! If this is the case, why not browse the various driving experiences available from Virgin Experience Days?

Our pick of the experiences available from Virgin has to be one that features what is arguably Ford’s most intimidatingly powerful car – the GT40. Currently available at a discounted rate of £84.00 (reduced from £99.00), the Ford GT40 Blast experience will allow you to tear around three miles of track in a replica of the legendary model which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race four times in a row between 1966-1969. 

Ford GT40 Blast from Virgin Experience Days

This package will be perfect for the speed demon in your life, no matter where they are based, with the lucky recipient able to get behind the wheel at any of seven top quality circuits nationwide. The voucher is also valid for nine months, so there will be no need to rush to the track as quickly as you will be racing around it!

The GT40 Blast is just one of a wide range of fantastic driving experiences available from Virgin Experience Days, however, and the team behind these great packages are offering some top deals for the upcoming Christmas season. To find the ultimate stocking filler, take a look at this page.

Ford cars lined up at Castle Combe

You will have realised by now that there is certainly no shortage of amazing driving experiences available for car-lovers to enjoy across the UK, whether they are fans of classic vehicles or the latest models available at their local Ford dealership. A high quality track day is one of the most unique presents you could buy for someone, and it is one that will be remembered for the rest of their lives.

So, what are you waiting for? Take your pick from any one of the fantastic options listed above and make the year of the car fanatic in your life!

Image Credit: Virgin Experience Days, Silverstone, Castle Combe Circuit, Jayson Fong, Supermac1961