paris-formula-e

Formula E with the family – why this car race is the perfect short break with kids

So much fun for the family

Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon

Fast cars, computer games, up-close action – there’s not much about Formula E that doesn’t appeal to kids. But while it’s a no-brainer to visit for the day if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities the electric car race descends upon each year, what about actually going abroad in order to watch a Formula E race with children?

Having experienced the fun of Formula E for the first time myself the year before, as part of a very cool adult-only experience in New York, I’d vowed to bring my boys back one day to watch a race, as I just knew they would love it. But while a weekend in New York was a lot of fun for me, throwing jetlag into a family travel equation is never a good idea for a short break. Which is how my my husband, our two sons, Finn, 13, Noah, 10, and I ended up on a Eurostar after school pick up one Friday afternoon, zooming off to Paris for a weekend of electric car races and croissants.

Where to stay on a Formula E weekend

The great thing about Formula E is that the locations are incredibly central. In Paris the track is situated a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, meaning we could stay slap bang in the centre of town and still only have a short walk to the action on Saturday morning. This also means you can really make the most of a quick hop to a foreign city – after a day’s racing, we grabbed dinner at a local bistro and went for a moonlit wander round the tower.

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On Sunday we managed to squeeze a quick sightseeing tour in, hopping onboard a boat to explore some other main attractions, before we dashed to the Gare du Nord, jumped on a train and polished off a bit of homework on the way home. Best weekend ever.

You can watch the racing and do a spot of sightseeing 

What is there for kids to do?

Formula E is really accessible which means you can get up close and personal to the drivers and the cars. In the E-Village there is loads of hands-on entertainment, from educational games that show you the science of electric cars, to simulator games and vehicles to look at, touch and pose in front of. But you can get even closer than this – kids can meet the drivers at autograph sessions, visit the garages on tours to see the mechanics at work - you can even arrange to go on a pit lane walk just before the race begins to see the drivers getting into their cars.

Kids can get so close to the action

Where can you go to see a Formula E race?

Paris is the shortest hop from the UK – although next year you won’t even have to leave the country to visit a race as the spectacle is returning to London for the first time since it hit Battersea Park in 2016. This time it will be tearing through the city’s Royal Docks and ExCel London with 30,000 spectators expected to come along and watch.

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In 2020 Formula E is coming to London

Other good family-friendly destinations include Berlin, Rome and Monaco.

Top Tips

  • Download the Ghost Racing app so you and the kids can race alongside the pros.
  • Turn up early – you’ll surprise yourself with how long you’ll want to spend in the E village. You can help your favourite team earn bonus points by taking part in competitions and there’s great food and a real festival atmosphere.
  • Bring a cushion. The grandstands are basic as they travel round the world so if you want a softer seat, bring your own.

For more information on the London E-Prix on 25th and 26th July 2020, and to be the first to hear about ticket offers, register your interest now. 

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