What is a transport festival?
The English love to celebrate their history and this is no different when it comes to the history of transport. There is even a Transport Museum in London where you can explore the development of public transport in London and the UK. Transport museums are a few scales down from this and are held around the country annually. They give transport enthusiasts an opportunity to show off their old motor, steam or military vehicles. Not only do the owners get to show off their vehicles, patrons can watch them in action and if they are lucky hop on board or go for a ride.
Hellingly transport festival
The Hellingly Transport Festival is held in Broad Field, Tellingly (East Sussex) on the summer bank holiday, in late August every year. Costing £9 for adults and £2 for children under 14, it is a great day out for singles, couples or families. With over 1000 vehicles in attendance there is plenty to see. Vehicles range from old timer steam engines, vintage cars and motorbikes, military vehicles as well as my favourite vintage London buses. In addition to this there are lots of stalls to peruse as well as keen owners who are more than happy to chat and tell you about their vehicles.
The steam engines
The steam engines bring back the nostalgic Victorian era, where engine power vs people power was the way forwards. I find it fascinating to see the original concepts that people had for now modern ideas put into play and it is also interesting to see the love and attention that the owners put into keeping and maintaining these vintage engines. Some of my favourites were vintage steam rollers and farm equipment, including one owner who had a tame cat that rode on his shoulders as he showed his vehicle off in the show ring!
Vintage cars and bikes
More of a favourite of Pete’s than of mine, there were a huge variety of British and America cars from all eras. Whilst I can appreciate the time gone into these cars, I have a vintage car owner for a husband, dad and brother in law, I appreciate the styling more than the engine power itself! For me, I was more interested in the vintage motorbikes that in my mind tell stories of bygone eras.
By far my favourite were the vintage buses. We were lucky enough to be allowed in one that was in pristine condition, untouched since its last day in service. Many of these buses are owned by historical societies and maintained by volunteers. This allows them to be stored safely in large garages out of the weather, and for those who would not otherwise be able to afford such a vehicle to use their talents to keep them in good condition for all to enjoy. I particularly liked seeing all of the old signs on the buses, including bus fares as cheap as 35p!
Externally the buses are simply gorgeous. They are cleaned and polished with love and attention and were truly and sight to behold. When the trust that owns the buses have open days you are able to go on short journeys, which I would to join in with one day.
It was particularly nice to see vintage buses from our area in Eastbourne and learn more about the history of the area that we’ve chosen to live in.
In addition to the historic vehicles, local favourites such as the EastSussex Falconry group with their owls and birds of prey, vintage carousels and rides, yummy food vendors and of course a beer tent! If you are in the UK and you see one nearby, they are definitely worth a visit, particularly if you’re a nostalgic like us!