Brands Hatch is quickly becoming one of my favourite tracks and plenty of great series visit it. There are two different layouts for the track, here’s what you need to know for both of them.
Entry into the circuit can get a little queued up onto London Road at bigger events, but generally, it’s not too bad, though I would always recommend leaving slightly earlier to compensate. When arriving you have the option of free parking or Southbank parking for £5 on Saturday and £10 on Sunday. Southbank is within the track and over two bridges, you can park either at the top of Druids or alongside the Cooper Straight, which if it’s raining means you can watch the track action from your car.
Leaving the track can be a bit of an issue as well since a lot of people will be leaving at once through one exit. However, despite the number of cars, it’s never too bad, especially compared to other tracks I’ve visited. There are staff guiding people out onto the road and they will stop passing traffic. Most of the time there is a consistent moving flow, you shouldn’t be stationary for too long.
Food options change depending on the event, but the locations they are in tend to remain the same. Brands Hatch has several permanent buildings serving food, there are two MSV fast food buildings; one nearby the main entrance and the other further down the pit straight towards Paddock Hill Bend. I’ve always found the one closer to the main entrance to have shorter queues, as fewer people tend to be in that area. Brands Hatch has two restaurants; The Kentagon, just before Paddock Hill Bend, and Hailwoods Restaurant, just after Paddock Hill Bend, though those are not my personal choice of place to go.
Vans selling food are also found around, generally in many places along the pit straight, nearby Hailwoods Restaurant, and sometimes at the top of Druids. Multiple toilets are around the circuit – both restaurants have some but are smaller, so often have queues out of the doors. There are no toilets at all around the GP loop section of the circuit, the closest would be the semi-permanent ones at the top of Druids. Brands Hatch has a kart-track, which is a much smaller and flatter version of the Indy layout, nearby The Kentagon, and an adventure playground nearby as well, perfect for any children that aren’t that interested in the cars.
Paddock Hill Bend and Druids are where most of the action and people are, and they are amazing spots to be in. You can get on the inside of Druids for some great up-close and unobstructed views of the cars, and through certain points on the inside of Druids, you can see Paddock Hill Bend, Druids and Graham Hill Bend. The outside of the circuit between Druids and Graham Hill Bend is also a great spot, with views of both of those corners as well as the exit of Paddock Hill Bend. At the other end of the circuit, Clark Curve can be a good spot, particularly on the Indy layout of the circuit, and if it’s an event with TV screens, there is a screen at Southbank that can be viewed from Clark Curve.
I would always recommend taking the walk over to the GP Loop, there are certain parts on the inside where you can completely forget you’re at a race track, it’s a great little walk, and views at the inside of Hawthorns are great, and without too many other people. For photographers, and only if the GP Loop is being used, both sides of the bridge by Pilgrims Drop and Hawthorn Hill have some amazing photo opportunities.
Paddock Hill is steep, really, really, steep, wear comfortable shoes if you plan on walking up and down it a few times, the inside of the GP Loop can be dirty/muddy in places too, so don’t wear anything you don’t mind getting a bit dirty.
Brands Hatch has an app. It has the timetable, live timing and track commentary on it. I would absolutely recommend downloading it.
There are two paddocks, the inside of the circuit has the GP paddock, which is closed to the public at larger events, and the support paddock on the outside of Paddock Hill Bend, which opens to everyone and has multiple entrances. At events where the GP paddock is open, or you have access, there is a pedestrian tunnel at the pit straight, and a pedestrian/vehicle tunnel inside the support paddock.
If you can afford it, hospitality at Brands Hatch has incredible views, you can see the entire Indy circuit from a single spot. You cannot get a better view of a track.
Brands Hatch is great for hotels, London Road is a very long road and has a lot of hotels on it, something for everyone is there. You can camp at the circuit, but it is not a campsite I have personally stayed at so I cannot comment on how it is.
I’ve stayed at three different hotels for Brands Hatch, all down the same road, the first I stayed at was the Larkfield Priory Hotel, it’s about 10 miles from the track and a decent enough price, with a small Morrisons very close by. The second hotel I stayed at was the Holiday Inn at Maidstone – Sevenoaks, closer to the circuit, about 6 miles away, a bit more secluded, fancier and more expensive, but you will need to drive out of the hotel to get food and the entrance can be very easily missed.
The hotel I always use now is the Premier Inn at Maidstone Allington, while it is a bit further from the circuit. At 13 miles away, it’s still not a particularly long drive, and it is cheap. There is a McDonald’s very close by, perfect for breakfasts en-route to the track, and a large Sainsbury’s nearby as well, perfect for all snacks and drinks to bring to the track with you. While not accommodation, I will absolutely recommend Italiano Pizza in Maidstone, they deliver to the Premier Inn, and do an amazing garlicy margherita pizza and it is beautiful, greasy and cheap.
The Track in Pictures: