Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford
The UK's largest collections of cars and motorcycles from around the world is in Somerset, with masses to see and do for all the family (not just petrol heads).
The Haynes International Motor Museum is slick, red, black, white and streamlined – just like some of the vehicles inside.
Founded in 1985 by motoring enthusiast and businessman John Haynes (of the Haynes Publishing Group and Haynes Manuals fame) to house his own collection of 29 vehicles, today there are around 400 cars and motorbikes – from 19th century horseless carriages to state-of-the-art racing cars – all lovingly restored to their original gleaming glory and a truly spectacular sight.
Park up and check out Jags, Jensen’s Interceptor and Lotus’ Elan in Great British Marques; Chevvies, Caddies, Fords and Packards in the American Dream; Bubble cars and Minis in Mini Micros; the Morris story; cars from the 40s to the 70s (remember the Ford Prefect/100E?); Jaguar, Lotus, Elva, TVR and Ferrari in the Hall of Motorsport and a Red Room filled with bright red sports and touring cars.
There are always special exhibitions and events. Currently, these include Williams F1 The Driver and the Driven exploring the world of Formula and Enzo Ferrari the man and the machine.
Little kids can drive themselves around the museum in Little Tikes baby cars. Outside, they can clamber over a play frame, navigate a mini road system on a ride-on car or get behind the controls of a super digger in Haynes Motorland outdoor adventure play area.
Bigger kids can find out how a car works, Paint a Mini, follow a Top Trumps trail, make brass rubbings and take a spin around the karting track where Jenson Button once practiced.
Refuel at the Cafe 750, with seating inside and outside on a sunny terrace (also open to non-museum visitors).
Pull in at the gift shop filled with all things car/motorcycle – books, toys, gifts, scale models, build your own engine kits – from a couple of quid upwards for both kids and adults. Open to non-museum visitors and you can buy online.
The first Sunday of the month, car and motorbike enthusiasts from the South West and beyond meet at the Haynes Breakfast Club to show off their wheels (spectator tickets available).
You can even get your own car restored, serviced or MOT’d here.
The museum is just off the A303 at Sparkford not far from Sherborne and Yeovil. Open every day of the year apart from 24–26 Dec and 1 Jan. From 2 March to 25 October: Mon to Sun 10am–5.30pm (cafe 9am–5.30pm). From 26 October to 1 March: 10am–4.30pm (cafe 9.30–4.30).
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