So, you’re thinking of attending a car show? That’s great news. Not only are car shows perfect for petrol heads who enjoy lusting after classic, exotic and sporty cars, they’re also a fun day out for those with a more casual interest — or those who simply want to tuck into all the delicious food on offer.

The UK plays host to hundreds of car shows each year, and with events dedicated to every type of car imaginable, you’re bound to find one that suits you. If you haven’t been to a car show before, there are a few things you should know that will make your day more enjoyable.


Advice for Car Show Attendees

car show

Understand the Judging Criteria

At most car shows, particularly classic car events, the models on display will be graded out of 100. This score is then displayed on the car itself, giving you the chance to find out more about the condition and history of each car, and quiz the owner on what restoration and maintenance work they’ve carried out.

If you’re looking to get fully immersed in the spirit of the car show, it’s a good idea to swot up on the Show Car Judging Criteria before you go. Below, we’ve outlined the categories each car is judged on:


  • Exterior Quality — 15 Points
  • Interior Quality — 15 Points
  • Mechanical Quality — 15 Points
  • Suspension Quality — 15 Points
  • Cleanliness — 15 Points
  • Overall Concept and Integration — 20 Points
  • Display — 5 Points


To find out more about the Show Car Judging Criteria, we’d recommend this in-depth guide.


Keep Children and Pets Well Supervised

While we’d always encourage you to take your kids along to a car show, to nurture their love of cars from a young age, it’s important to make sure they’re well supervised. With thousands of pounds worth of cars and equipment on display, the potential for a costly accident is pretty high. We all know kids like to touch, but classic car owners won’t take kindly to grubby fingerprints on their perfectly polished paintwork.


And the same can be said for pets, too. While dogs are a regular fixture at car shows, they should be kept on a lead at all times to ensure they don’t “mark their territory” on someone’s pride and joy. Before turning up at a show, it’s a good idea to check the event’s website to make sure dogs are permitted.


Don’t Slate People’s Cars — They Won’t Thank You for It!

car show

Depending on the show in question, there’ll be some striking cars in attendance, and some not so striking. As you walk around, taking in the shiny bodywork on display, try not to be overly critical of any cars you think would be better on the scrapheap. Owners spend most of the day within earshot of their car so they’re on-hand to answer questions, and won’t take kindly to any offensive remarks levelled at their beloved wheels.

That’s not to say you can’t offer your opinion to the car’s owner, however. Many enthusiasts see showcasing their car as a way to get feedback on restoration and design changes they’ve carried out, and will be happy to hear your opinion — as long as you’re polite and enthusiastic about it.


Look, but Don’t Touch

We know what it’s like – you spot a Jaguar E-Type gleaming in the summer sun, and you’ve just got to go over and touch it. But while there’s a lot of temptation to stroke the bonnet or even get behind the wheel of your dream car at a motor show, we’d recommend keeping your hands to yourself. Owners spend a huge amount of time getting their cars spruced up and ready for show day, and the last thing they want is fingerprints from boot to bonnet at the end of the day.

If you really want to see how it feels to get behind the wheel of your favourite car, you could always ask the owner for a quick sit-in. Provided you haven’t got muddy shoes on, most exhibiting owners will be happy to let you get in the driver’s seat. Just remember to ask permission first.

car show


Be Careful with Food, Drink and Cigarettes Around Cars

Car shows are often celebrated for their food and drink offering, with most events boasting a great range of food stalls and pop-up bars. But while this is great news for attendees in need of light refreshment, it’s not so fun for the car owners who are left praying that no one spills a pint of lager or greasy burger on the bonnet of their £250K supercar.


Treat yourself to a midday snack or refreshing pint while exploring a car show, but you should always be careful to keep food and drink well away from the exhibits — unless you want an enraged Ferrari owner chasing you across the field.


What to Take to a Car Show

If you plan to spend the day looking at cars in the scorching summer sun, we’d recommend carrying the following:


  • Sun Protection: Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen — always keep yourself protected from the sun.
  • Camera: Don’t rely on your phone to take great pictures of your favourite cars; bring a camera to make sure you get the best shots.
  • Cash: From admission fees to food stalls, chances are you’ll need cash when attending a car show, and not many events accept card payments.
  • Pen and Paper: Never forget the makes and models you’ve admired by carrying a pen and paper to the car show.
  • Folding Chairs: With spare seats few and far between at car shows, we’d recommend carrying a couple of folding chairs so you can relax and eat lunch in peace.


Where to Find the Best Car Shows

car show 2

Now that you know how to survive your first car show, it’s time to find an upcoming event in your local area. Car shows vary from large, corporate events to small, local gatherings, and because so many take place each year, it all comes down to the cars you’re interested in and how far you’re willing to travel to attend the right event.


To find a car show in your area, head over to CARCAL, a UK-based car show calendar. This handy site lists all of the UK’s car shows by date and location, and also provides a little background on what’s going on at each event — making it easy to find the car show that’s right for you.

To make your search easier, we’ve provided some of the key dates for the UK’s favourite motor shows, all of which are coming up in the next month or so:


Car Fest

  • Where: Cheshire (North)/Hampshire (South)
  • When: 29-31 July 2016 (North)/26-28 August 2016 (South)
  • Info: org


Croft Nostalgia Festival

  • When: 6-7 August 2016
  • Where: Dalton On Tees, North Yorkshire
  • Info:


Rollhard: The Show

  • When: 14 August 2016
  • Where: Braintree, Essex
  • Info:


SXOC Weekend 2016

  • When: 19-21 August 2016
  • Where: Corby, Northamptonshire
  • Info: com


Total Retro Show

  • When: 24 August 2016
  • Where: Crooklands, Westmorland
  • Info:


Whether you’re passionate about cars or just want to keep yours clean, shiny and protected, Simoniz car care range is proven to offer great results from wash to wax. To find out more, visit the Simoniz homepage.

Image source: brando.n, Mazz Ghani, Fotolia