Last weekend we were kindly invited to visit the British Motor Museum in Gaydon near Banbury. Despite living less than an hour away I had never heard of this place until very recently so we were intrigued to see what it was like. With the weather being so miserable at the moment I think anywhere to visit that’s indoors is a bonus! On arriving at the British Motor Museum we were met by friendly reception staff who gave us our entry stickers. They pointed out the treasure trails for us to start our exploration. Cody was quick to spot the push along Minis for younger visitors to ride around the museum in. I have to say I think this is an absolute genius idea from the museum. It was totally unexpected and such a great detail. Cody didn’t get tired having to walk round but also I didn’t have to worry about him running about or touching things he shouldn’t because he was so content being driven round in his little car. Win, win!
In the reception area we picked up a treasure trail clipboard from the treasure chest and Lois took on the responsibility of trying to complete all the questions. She was so determined and it really made her look properly at the exhibits as well as read the information. This is a great way of keeping children engaged and interested. There were other trails as well, including one for younger children and some trail back packs. You could do a different one each time you visit to add some variety.
The British Motor Museum is split into different themed areas. The first is the design and concepts area which demonstrates how cars were designed in the past and present.
Next is the Time Road. Follow the road from start to finish to see how cars developed and changed over the years. The kids found this quite fascinating, especially when I pointed out the cars from the era I was born (apparently I am well old!).
There is an area displaying lots of different Jaguar cars including racing cars and trophy cabinets. The variety of cars from just one brand is quite remarkable. One of my particular favourites was the 1956 D Type pictured below.
Lois’s favourite car in the enitre museum was the Lego car which is made entirely of Lego bricks. It is certainly very cool, although I’m not sure quite how comfortable it would be!
As we moved around the museum it was great to see such a huge variety of cars. From very early cars in the 1910s right up until modern day sports cars. The detailing on some of the cars is really interesting – its a photographer’s dream as well as a car enthusiasts!!
There are several cars that you can sit in around the museum. These were very popular with the kids. They don’t usually get to sit behind the steering wheel! We particularly liked the Edwardian Austin car which is basically an early version of an MPV.
At this point Cody started to get hungry and rather grumpy. We decided to head to the museum cafe to see what was on the menu. There was an impressive range of light lunch options, including soup of the day, sandwiches and a lovely fresh salad bar. As well as this there was a specials menu of the day which included red thai curry and beef stroganoff.
For children they could chose from a variety of hot meals or a lunch box for £4.50. Lilian opted for pizza, chips and beans. Both Lois and Cody chose to have a lunch box. The lunch box included a full size sandwich (with crusts cut off!), pom bear crisps, chocolate freddo bar and a piece of fruit. All of the kids meals also included a drink and a colouring book with crayons. I think for £4.50 the meals were a really good price. I love that the lunch boxes included a little wet wipe for cleaning mucky hands. Such a thoughtful detail!
For my lunch I decided to try the beef stroganoff which came with garlic bread. The meal cost £7.50 and I have to say it was worth every single penny. It was absolutely delicious! I felt that all the meals were reasonably priced, the food very good quality and the staff were absolutely lovely. There is plenty of seating in the cafe and out on the mezzanine gallery area. They had loads of high chairs available and it was all kept very clean.
Continuing our tour around the museum after lunch we really enjoyed seeing a number of famous cars in their very own gallery. Lily loved the Lady Penelope car from Thunderbirds and seeing the DeLorean from Back To The Future 2. Me, Cody and Lois all liked the big yellow City Cab from Judge Dredd.
We also really enjoyed the learning area, especially trying out the suspension chair. It was great fun bouncing along in the seat to different types of suspension. Cody thought it was hilarious. It certainly made me appreciate modern day cars.
The museum has so much more to see that there really is too much for me to list here. There are tonnes of displays and loads of interactive features as well. With the trails and treasure maps to do on top of that you can easily spend all day here. There are kids craft activities in the reception foyer and a gift shop with a large variety of gifts.
But that isn’t all. Furthermore, on leaving the British Motor Museum (remembering to collect your all important sticker for completing the trails!) you head over to The Collection. The Collection is a separate building which houses all the cars which are not currently being used in displays in the museum. It is also where work is carried out on the vehicles and houses a large Jaguar collection too. It was really interesting to see the workshop area (which during the week you will be able to see in use from the balcony). The Jaguar collection was really fascinating. I found several cars I would rather like (in my dreams!). There were some very ‘cool’ cars too including the F1 Jaguar and BAD 1 pictured below.
All in all we spent 4-5 hours at the British Motor Museum yet we could easily have stayed longer. The best bit about visiting here is that once you’ve paid for your ticket it is valid for an entire year. That means you can visit again and again free of charge. Fantastic! I think it’s always great to have somewhere to go that’s indoors when the weather is poor. With different trails to have a go at and the fact that the displays change all the time it means there is always something different to see.
Address: Banbury Road, Gaydon, Warwickshire, CV35 0BJ
Price: ££ (tickets convert to annual passes)