A day out to remember a proud heritage
I guess the heyday of the British car industry is over. Sure cars are still made in Britain, but the big names in the industry are under foreign ownership, but there was a day when there was a Great British car industry, and the British Motor Museum celebrates that.
The museum can be found just outside the village of Gaydon but is close to Stratford-upon-Avon (15 miles/27km).
You should give yourself a few hours to explore the history of a once great industry.
It's a great day out for anyone who has an interest in British motoring heritage.
Let's start at the beginning
Once you have bought your ticket at the main entrance, and you enter the lobby, you'll come across an exciting selection of cars — some icons: the original mini, the most beautiful E-Type Jaguar, the workhorse - the classic Land Rover and of course a Rolls-Royce.
The iconic E-Type Jaguar
However, there is then a rally Austin Maxi - who knew? I immediately recognised the museum was going to dish up a little more than the obvious.
A rally prep' Austin Maxi
The oh so familiar smell
Just off the entrance lobby is a mock-up of a 1930's garage, the smell of oil and grease is immediately familiar to anyone who has been around the workings of a car. We were reminded of days past when we'd maintain our own little Austin Mini.
The John Carter Garage
A reminder of how the world has moved on, no longer do I 'service' our car, nor can I. Now the work of specialists.
A touch of nostalgia
Next to the garage is a period cinema, showing films clips of the heyday of British motoring, it's also an excellent chance to take the weight off your feet.
We have only just begun, so we'll pop back a little later.
The Motoring Cinema
When we do, we're treated to the story of Triumph's success at the Le Man's 24hrs race in the mid-'60's with the brave little Spitfire.
Entering the main hall
The Design & Concepts section greets you. Now I pride myself on my knowledge of the British motor industry, but there were concepts here I was never aware of.
Prototypes on display
Around the back of the hall runs the Time Road. This takes you on a 100-year journey from 1896 through too 1996, with landmark vehicles on the road.
Looking back on Time Road
Step to the future on Time Road
Stepping past the exhibits, you come sections dedicated to Jaguar, Land Rover, our great British sports cars and accomplishments in Motorsports.
A broad range in the British Motor Museum
The classic Mini Cooper
I found a personal favourite car of mine.
The Rover P5B - a favourite of mine
Then you find yourself in a section I love - Film & TV Car's. There's stuff here I recognise straight away.
A Land Rover from James Bond - Skyfall
You have now swept the semi-circle that makes up the main entrance, but it's not over yet.
The Next Level
There's a further exhibition space on a small mezzanine floor - on our visit this was displaying some vehicles from the TV Show 'Car S.O.S', a collection of classic cars restored for owners who've hit troubles in life.
A restored Aston Martin DB6 from Car S.O.S
The restoration work is outstanding, and the car is the star.
Another Car S.O.S project
Also on this level is the café should you wish for a little refreshment. You may do because there's more to come.
The Collections Centre
Now, depending on the level of your inner geek, there's also a further warehouse of over 300 cars not in the main museum, along with the collection of the Jaguar Heritage Trust. You can even peek down on mechanics working in the Restoration Workshop.
Looking down on the workshop
The collection on the first floor is precisely that, there are limited descriptions, and the cars are closely parked together. However, there are some real gems in here.
A classic in the Collections Centre
One the ground floor is a collection of Jaguars that range from the brands foray into Formula 1, the Le Mans classics, the beauty of the E-Type plus so many more.
A Heritage Jaguar
Well, all things come to an end. It has been enjoyable, educational and a thoroughly enjoyable 3 hours, and I'm fully geeked out.
All types of Jaguars
Inspired to visit the British Motor Museum?
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