Whatever you plan to do over the Easter break, there is no excuse for being bored as we at Auto Express have found the perfect way to enjoy the long Easter weekend - by visiting some of Britain's best motoring museums. The UK is bursting with many great Easter activities for car fans, so we've put together a list of some of the best motor museums to visit.
From the historic Brooklands Museum just south of London to the Beaulieu National Motor Museum in the heart of the New Forest and from Coventry's Transport Museum to the newly revamped British Motor Museum at Gaydon, British car fans are spoiled for choice when it comes to great days out.
There's much, much more too, so look below for our pick of the best motor museums to visit this Easter weekend...
Where: Sparkford, somerset
Admission: £13.95 (adult), £8.25 (children, 4-15)
Contact: www.haynesmotormuseum.com, 01963 440804
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Tucked away next to the busy A303 in rural Somerset sits a collection of motoring prestige and history. The Haynes International Motor Museum at Sparkford, near Yeovil, is home to more than 400 cars and motorbikes, and is Britain’s biggest motor museum. The museum was originally opened in 1985 by John Haynes, founder of Haynes Publishing Group, who hoped it would run alongside his workshop manual business.
What’s on show is impressive, and represents motoring from the 1800s to the present day. The American Collection packs all the muscle cars from the early 20th century onwards, while the Vroom Room – part of the recent revamp – features a number of supercars, including a Lamborghini Countach. The Red Room needs no explanation, though: it’s a hall of red racers, including cars driven by Michael Schumacher and Sir Stirling Moss, while new exhibits include Mark Webber's RB6 Red Bull Formula One car.
Where: Brockenhurst, Hampshire
Admission: £24 (adults), £12 (children, 5-17)
Contact: www.beaulieu.co.uk, 01590 612345
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A name that will resonate with all motoring fans, Beaulieu is packed full of history. With over 250 historic cars and bikes telling the story of British motoring it's a must for any car fan. The ticket includes museum access, plus the famous Victorian Palace House and the surrounding grounds and gardens.
Key exhibits include everything from record-breakers to cars that have starred in films to race-bred machines from rallying, Formula One and motorbike championships. Plus you can peek into the future via the alternative technologies exhibit and explore vehicle design and construction. Beaulieu is open every day from 10am to 5pm, and until 6pm from June to September.
Where: Gaydon, Warwickshire
Admission: £14 (adults), £9 (children, 5-16)
Contact: www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk, 01926 641188
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The British Motor Museum, formerly known as the Heritage Centre, has re-opened following a £5million revamp. Set between the Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover sites near Gaydon, Warwickshire, the museum packs a huge collection of British cars with a big emphasis on domestically made vehicles, with marquee badge names sitting alongside brands made under licence on these shores.
The 'Collections Centre' offers a behind the scenes experience for visitors to see how the museum stores and restores many of the cars on display, while the mezzanine is used for a variety of temporary exhibitions. The museum is open seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm.
Where: Alford, Lincolnshire
Admission: £3 (adults), £1 (children, 5-16)
Contact: www.on-your-marques.co.uk, 01507 490066
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Although there are no real-life scale cars here, this museum is packed full of model cars many would have grown up with through childhood. Highlights include slot cars, models shored up in collectors’ plastic cases and even a Scalextric track.
Just bear in mind that it’s only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from April to October, from 11am to 4pm.
Where: Weybridge, Surrey
Admission: £11 (adult), £6 (children, 5-16)
Contact: www.brooklandsmuseum.com, 01932 857381
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Brooklands is where it all began for UK motorsport, and is host to the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit. The museum pays homage to this, displaying British engineering and technological marvels from throughout the 20th century. Alternative means of transportation are covered, too, with a Concorde exhibit and other pieces of aviation history, while there’s a host of specialist car days held throughout the year. Brooklands is open from 10am to 5pm during the summer.
Where: Coventry, West Midlands
Contact: www.transport-museum.com, 024 7623 4270
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This is home to land speed record holder Thrust SCC, and there is even a simulator to go with it, in which visitors can get a taste of what it’s like to go quicker than the speed of sound. Coventry also claims to be the home of the world’s biggest collection of British road transport, with a huge display of cars, commercial vehicles and bikes. It’s open from 10am to 5pm all year.
Where: Windermere, Cumbria
Admission: £8 (adult), £5 (Children, 5-15)
Contact: www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk, 01539 530400
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Set against rolling hills on the outer edges of the Lake District, the easy-on-the-eye attractions don’t stop with the surroundings at Lakeland Motor Museum, as a huge selection of transport icons made over the last 100 years awaits. Models from Aston Martin, Jaguar and DeLorean are among the highlights. Opening times are 10am to 4.30pm all year round.