Advantages Great day out, great cars
Disadvantages Not One!
|Is it worth visiting?|
I don?t quite know what it is, but there is a really nice smell about engineering, this museum did not disappoint me, you knew you were looking at real working machines rather than stuffed pieces which sit in sterile cabinets never to be touched. This is an ideal place to visit, if you are a bit nostalgic, maybe some relations had one of the cars here, or if you really appreciate good solid engineering, then this is certainly the place to visit, I think there is something for everyone here.As nearly everything is under cover, it is an ideal wet weather attraction.
Haynes International Motor Museum is located at Sparkford, which is near Yeovil in Somerset, it is just off the A303, you may well have driven past it without realising. It is well signposted with the standard brown tourist signs.It is open every day except 24th-26th December and 1st January, times are 10:00 ? 4:30 in the winter, 09:30 ? 5:30 in the summer, again check the web site for the latest information.
This is a museum of motoring; there are around 400 cars & motor bikes on display, as well as the road side signage from a bygone era. Cars from an 1896 Daimler, right through to a modern Jaguar XJ220.Outside the museum there are a few military vehicles, which you can look at, but not climb on!
This could just turn into a list of all the cars at the museum, I will however just highlight my particular favourites, or ones that stood out for me. A point to note, that all the cars have signage alongside them giving a potted history, I found these to be really informative. Some areas have audio & interactive boards, so you can press the button, and hear about the particular car, or event.
There are low rope barriers separating you from the cars, so you can get really close.
.Another thing to look out for when going around, are the enamelled road signs covering various walls, some of the older road signs are displayed too.
A 1900s street scene greets you, with 4 vintage cars, lined up looking as they were built only yesterday. This is really where the history of motoring started off.
From here you move on to Hall 3, you can also access Hall 10
The International Hall
This contains various cars from around the World, from the humble old Trabant & 2CV, up to Rolls Royces and a BIG US Lincoln Continental (19 feet long and 2 tons) I liked this one, as when I was in Saudi, I drove one around ? everyone got out of your way! Even an Indian motorised Rickshaw made an appearance as well as a Russian motorbike & sidecar! Just looking at the sheer size of the American cars here is quite shocking, in this day and age of fuel conservation, there were outrageous! But then, have a good look at the completely over-engineered Russian GAZ 13 ? from right out of a 1960s James Bond film! The line up of Corvettes is pretty impressive too.
British, American & Specialist (the hall of contrasts)Aston Martins, Cadillac and the Mini to name but a few! The car I really liked here was the 1968 Pontiac Superior Ambulance, only in that when I was little I had a Dinky toy of one! Also some custom cars are here, check out the hot rod!
Veteran, Vintage, Edwardian & ClassicsThis hall features what is called The USA Timeline ? from the Model T Ford to the might of the 1931 6816cc Duesenberg (which is awesome, such a beautiful car, and the most valuable in the collection) through to the Thunderbird (think Beach Boys song!)
Also in this hall, near the Duesenberg is where you can get married! Yes the museum is licensed for Civil ceremonies, and can seat 120! The reception can be held in the Merlin Suite!
This is accessed from Hall 5, and contains some 31 different speedway bikes, lots of historic photos, riders jackets and so on. Speedway is something I know nothing about, so it was interesting reading the information boards here.=== Hall 7 ===
Hall of MotorsportAgain accessed Hall 5, this part of the museum is all about motor sport, a fantastic 1926 Bugatti right up to Michael Schumachers 1996 Ferrari Formula 1 car ? apparently you can have photos taken of you in the car, but this was not happening when I was going there.
The British Hall, contains the humble British cars that generations of people drove, perhaps your parents or grand parents, Austin A40, Ford Popular, Sunbeams, Morris, a veritable who?s who of British Cars, this hall covers some 60 years of British motoring from the 1917 Morris Bullnose to a 1977 Rover 3.5.Somehow to me the older cars had more character, I?ve always said put a few blocks of wood in a wind tunnel, they all come out the same shape in the end, and this is true for me, cars don?t have that distinctive character they once had.
Pick of the crop for me here was the 1930 MG, that is what a sports car should look like.
Millennium HallIn this hall the museum undertook the task to create an exhibition of 25 cars which had been produced in the 25 years up to 2000 which are to be future motoring icons, an interesting task for someone ? From the humble Golf GTi of 1981 through to 2000s Bentley Turbo R, with Jaguars, Ferraris and the Dodge Viper in between, it is certainly an eclectic mix ? They now also have a Ferrari 460 Spider once owned by Ross Brawn (of Formula 1) he gave the car to the museum!
From here you make your way back to the Red Room, and the exit, where find yourself in the shop!
There are plenty of toilets dotted around the buildings, so you are never really far from one. The one I visited was very clean.
Lighting I found to be very good, not too dark, and not too bright as can sometimes happen in museums. All the cars were well displayed, and you could see everything.
As with all places such as this, there is a shop, being Haynes (of the manual fame) you can pick up many of the manuals here, there are also a vast selection of car related books and toys, pens and pencils and some Somerset related bits & bobs.
Price wise the books are normal book prices for niche books, so around £20, but the rest of the items seemed to be quite reasonable priced.
The on-site restaurant is very pleasant, prices again are reasonable £2.85 for a cream tea (which was very nice thanks you very much) £4.50 for a jacket potato, with various fillings. They do meals, but I went in at the end of the day, so can?t really vouch for what was on offer. Look above the counter! All the blackboards are framed with old radiator grills. There are lots of old enamel signs around the walls, which are interesting to see. The restaurant area looked really clean, and there were certainly several staff working in there.
The prices did seem very reasonable, and the entrance to this is away from the museum, so even if you don?t want to go in to the museum you could always stop off for a cuppa when passing!
You can also book driving experience days
There are also family deals, best check the web site for the latest.When I paid, the lady serving me said that if as a Tax payer, I did Gift Aid (the museum is a charitable trust), my ticket lasted for 1 year, and I could return for nothing ? that sounded a great idea, so now I have a ticket, which allows me re-admission within the next 12 months. Living about 25 miles away, I will certainly be back
I also picked up a Souvenir Catalogue when I paid, this cost £3.95, and I though it was one the best museum catalogue I have ever got, lots of great photos, and lots of really useful information. Reading the catalogue, it tells me that nearly every car in the museum is driven at least once a year, and that they believe in having all vehicles properly maintained in full working order, again none were running when I was there!I would say that this is really a living museum, knowing that all the cars can have the key put in, and started gave me quite a kick ? perhaps I will get to go in the AC Cobra after all!
Haynes International Motor Museum
All in all a great day out, if you go, I hope you enjoy it. They also do group visits ? how about a ciao meeting here!
Thanks for reading thisLarry
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