The frontal view of a 1953 Jaguar C-Type Le Mans car in a British Racing Green colour within the Jaguar Heritage collection at the British Motor Museum

A visit to the British Motor Museum

In Counties, Days Out, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel, Warwickshire by GaryLeave a Comment

British cars at their best

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 welcome board to the British Motor Museum, detailing the prices from 2018, plus a scene from the fish of a historic race.
Welcome to the British Motor Museum

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.

Quick Links

It's a great day out for anyone who has an interest in British motoring heritage.

Discovering the Britsh Motor Museum

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.
A front view of a bright red 1960's E-Type Jaguar in the entrance lobby of the British Motor Museum
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 rear view of a White 1971 Austin Max prepared for the Daily Mirror World Cup Rally in front of the information desk of the British Motor Museum
A rally prep' Austin Maxi

British Motoring Heritage

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
A mock of a period motor garage, from the 1930s, complete with a black Austin from the era.
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.

Memories of British Motoring

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 entrance to the Motoring Cinema at the British Motor Museum
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.

The story of the British Motor Industry

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.
Full size prototype British cars displayed on scaled-up toy boxes
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.
Cars parked on the Time Road at the British Museum, underneath a timeline of the era
Looking back on Time Road
A green Triumph Herald and a golden Alvis on the Time Road at the British Museum
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 side view of a green MG J type convertible sports car from the 1930s
A broad range in the British Motor Museum
Paddy Hopkirk's bright red Mini Cooper that won the Monte Carlo rally on display in the British motor museum.
The classic Mini Cooper
I found a personal favourite car of mine.
A dark green, almost black, Rover P5B, from the late '60s/early '70s, on display at the British Motor Museum

Image Caption

Then you find yourself in a section I love - Film & TV Car's.  There's stuff here I recognise straight away.
One of the Land Rover 90s from the James Bond movie 'Skyfall' featuring the scars of the chase sequence
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.

Have You?

Visited the British Motor Museum? Or do you have a favourite British car, it doesn't have to be flash, something from your childhood?

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 gunmetal grey 1960s Aston Martin DB6, as featured in the TV series Car S.O.S
A restored Aston Martin DB6 from Car S.O.S
The restoration work is outstanding, and the car is the star.
A powder blue For Capri 3100, as featured in the TV series Car S.O.S
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.

Getting there

The museum has ample parking on-site.  It's a car museum after all, but you can get trains to Warwick, Leamington Spa & Banbury, but then you'll need to get a taxi to the museum.

More at the British Motor Museum

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 from the first floor to the Restoration Workshop of the Collections Centre in a separate building from the main museum. Here Three cars from different periods are being restored to their former glory.
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.
The frontal view of a 1914 Austin 20hp Vitesse Phaeton in a deep red colour in the Collections Centre of the British Motor Museum
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.
The frontal view of a 1953 Jaguar C-Type Le Mans car in a British Racing Green colour within the Jaguar Heritage collection at the British Motor Museum
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.
A side profile of the leaping Jaguar bonnet ornament from a 1960s Jaguar car
All types of Jaguars

More info

For more information on the latest exhibition, prices and events, please check out the British Motor Museum site.

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Inspired to visit the British Motor Museum?

The museum is just outside the North end of the Cotswolds, or alternatively close by is BanburyWarwick. , Royal Leamington Spa or Stratford-upon-Avon.
The open roads await, pop in your location details then Rental Cars will search well-known car hire brands and discover the deals that suit you the best.
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