So, where exactly is Silverstone?

As I carried out the school run this morning (on foot), I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of extra traffic in town today.  Then I realised it was due to the British Grand Prix, which is taking place in Silverstone this weekend.  The A43 is closed for non-event traffic, which puts pressure on the M1, which in turn pushes traffic onto other roads in the area, including the main road through our town.

It’s not really a problem – The A43 is only closed for 3 days a year and the knock-on effect of having the home of British Motor Racing on our doorstep is increased engineering jobs in the local area (it’s a shame that Aston Martin moved out of Newport Pagnell in favour of their new HQ at Gaydon) – indeed I’m pretty pleased that Donington Park couldn’t get it’s act together so the British Grand Prix has stayed at Silverstone!

What was interesting though was a local BBC news story last night… BBC East was covering a (non-) story about whether Silverstone is in Northamptonshire, or in Buckinghamshire.  It’s simple – Silverstone village is in Northamptonshire, but the circuit spans the county boundary.  Why that’s the cause of such controversy is, frankly, a mystery but, then again, I know what a big deal crossing the county boundary is to some locals (for reference, I was born in Northamptonshire and now live within the Milton Keynes unitary authority, in what was once Buckinghamshire… and it will take 3 generations to be accepted as a true local in the town where I now live!).

What amused me was one of the people that the BBC interviewed for its package on last night’s news – when asked which county Silverstone is in, one guy responded that it’s in Buckinghamshire because, when he googled for the weather, Buckingham was the nearest town!  I found it quite amusing that people today are happy to judge geographic boundaries by Google search results, rather than by a map…

So, if you’re at the British Grand Prix this weekend (I’d love to be there but will be watching on a television instead) it seems that the Grand Prix circuit from Becketts Corner to somewhere near Village Corner is in Buckinghamshire, otherwise you’re in Northamptonshire (Rose of the Shires).

Ordnance Survey Map showing Silverstone circuit spanning the county boundary between Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

6 thoughts on “So, where exactly is Silverstone?


  1. Sorry Harry but Milton Keynes is a unitary authority within the “ceremonial county” of Buckinghamshire. It’s been independent of Buckinghamshire County Council since 1997 and it still annoys my wife that our marriage certificate says we were married in the County of Milton Keynes! “Real” Buckinghamshire only starts once you travel south-west from MK and cross into Aylesbury Vale


  2. Hi It was me on the old BBC Look East. The whole debate started off when I spotted a sign saying Welcome to Bucks, home of Silverstone Circuit. It all started as tongue in cheek and it snowballed from there!!! :)
    regards Helen


  3. Hi Helen – good to hear from you. I know how these things go – the story was quite amusing really! I’d have thought that local government had better things to spend money on than roadsigns laying claim to a private race circuit!

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