With the sun shining, the temperature slowly starting to rise and the sales of after sun lotion starting to pick up, it can only mean one thing: summer will soon return to these usually sodden and windswept British Isles.
As such, plenty of big festivals will be springing up in various bits of the nations countryside, with perhaps the most prominent ones for the nations petrol heads being this years biggest car shows: the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power.
To help you all out in deciding which one you should attend theyre both, for want of a better word, awesome weve come up with a little guide on each event.
So, to kick this run-through off, where better to start than with the most high profile one of the lot?
Goodwood Festival of Speed
In the eyes of Lord March and the rest of the folk who organise and run the Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2013 is quite a special year for the event (often abbreviated as simply FoS) for one very important reason: it marks the Festivals 20th anniversary.
In commemoration of this major milestone, the UKs most popular motoring-themed garden party will, in essence, be a Greatest Hits collection of the best cars and drivers to ever make a star appearance at the Festival, whether it was a static display, tearing up the on-site mock rally stage or hurtling up Lord Marchs driveway.
This years FoS will also be celebrating the 50th birthday of that obscure German rear-engined sports car that some around the world refer to as the Porsche 911, and a whole series of world debuts have been planned.
For instance, not only will the McLaren P1 be making its inaugural public run at Goodwood this year, but Lexus, Peugeot and Skoda have all confirmed theyll be using the small snippet of Sussex countryside as a plinth to showcase some surprise reveals.
Not to mention the added perks that come with attending the Moving Motor Show on the opening Thursday get in early enough at the respective booths in the complex that is the MMS Hall, and you could find yourself test driving everything from a Renault Twizy and a Dacia Duster, right up to a Ferrari California and a Rolls-Royce Ghost on the as-fabled-as-it-is-narrow strip of tarmac that is the Goodwood hill climb route.
Perhaps the only big gripe with the FoS is that the tickets arent exactly the most affordable youre ever going to come across for over-22s, the cheapest day is Thursday 11 th July, with admission costing 25. In comparison, the price for Friday is bumped up to 41, which again is increased to 57 for Saturday and Sunday.
Based on previous jam-packed FoS schedules, though, its not like the event will be bad value for money.
Just remember that the complex is pretty large, so its best to keep to a tight schedule and prepare yourself for a helluva lot of walking if you plan on seeing everything the Festival of Speed has to offer...
- Dates: Thursday 11th Sunday 14th July
- Tickets: 25 (Thursday) 41 (Friday) 57 (Saturday, Sunday). Half price for 13-21 year olds. Free admission for under-12s.
- Must-see moments: The supercar display, the F1 paddock, the Forest Rally Stage, the new car debuts, the Moving Motor Show...
- Tips: No tickets sold at the gate, plan day ahead if you want to see everything there, prepare for a lot of walking!
- Website: www.goodwood.co.uk/festival-of-speed
Cholmondeley Pageant of Power
Known in circles as the Goodwood of The North, Cholmondeley has established itself in a remarkably short space of time (the Pageants only been running for six years) as one of the countrys most eclectic and diverse motoring shows.
Whilst it may lack the prestige of the Festival of Speed, Cholmondeley more than makes up for it in the attractions: not only is there the hill climb route (where could they have got that idea from?), but there are also amongst the mandatory motorbike and supercar stuff a showcase of helicopter and powerboat displays, alongside a celebration of Aston Martins centenary this year.
The Pageant of Power also incorporates an activity that you wouldnt necessarily see at Goodwood: head-to-head battles between supercars and rally cars.
For 2013, this extends to what the event organisers are referring to as noise-offs. As the title suggests, these events essentially consist of two-way contests against a pair of rather loud cars, and the ear plug-equipped Pageant attendants get to vote for the winner.
Which, given marvellous machinery like yesteryears F1 cars, full-on NASCAR stock cars and truly insane aero-engined racers have been confirmed to make an appearance at this years Pageant of Power, is a part of the schedule that we expect to be one of the events definitive crowd pleasers.
And, in these financially troubled times we live in, its also reassuring to know that price of entry for the Pageant are noticeably cheaper than it is for Goodwood: tickets for the Fridays Preview and the full-on dates during the weekend are 25 and 35 at the entry gate respectively, with discounts are being offered to those who pre-order theirs online.
So, if youve been to the Festival of Speed countless times before, or live somewhere in the top half of the UK and dont really feel like setting the alarm at 6.30 or so in the morning, perhaps its worth taking a trip to Cholmondeley this June...
- Dates: Friday 14th Sunday 16th June
- Tickets: 25 (Friday), 35 (Saturday, Sunday). Free admission for children.
- Must-see moments: Head-to-head duels, noise-offs, all the live-action displays.
- Tips: Cheaper to pre-order tickets online than buy at the gate, bring earplugs.
- Website: www.cpop.co.uk
All in all, thats a very quick summary of what each of this summers top car festivals have to offer: both are pretty similar in concept, but they do have their shining, contrasting merits when it comes to overall execution.
And we reckon, no matter which one you end up going to (or both, if youre so inclined), youre gonna have an absolute blast of a time!
(NASCAR image: NASCAR.com)