If there’s a wannabe Lewis Hamilton or burgeoning Jeremy Clarkson in your midst, a visit to the Haynes International Motor Museum is a must – especially since a five-million-pound major extension and refurbishment project was completed in April 2014.
There are now more than four hundred cars here, ranging from contemporary super cars, like the Jaguar XJ220 and the Ferrari 360, to veteran masterpieces. The Red Room, packed with models in the sports car colour of choice, is legendary, but there are eleven other rooms to explore too, with all the big names on show – Jaguar, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley and Rolls-Royce to name but a few. The themed halls house displays on “The Dawn of Motoring”, “The British Hall”, “The American Hall”, “Supercar Century”, “Motorcycle Mezzanine” and the “Millennium Hall”. Activities for children include coin-operated go-karts, adventure and soft play areas, Reel Film Bus (a cinema in a Bristol bus), an interactive garage and road system, super diggers, brass rubbings and an activity centre. The museum also hosts an eclectic programme of events, which has included in the past a “Rare Breeds” car show, a 1950s Stock Car show and a Swedish car day; check the website for details of future events.
Accessibility requirements are well understood by the museum staff, and the car park has dedicated disabled parking bays. Carers are permitted free entry, as long as they produce evidence of their status, ideally with a registered carers card. Indoors, the museum is very accessible for wheelchair users with wide paths and only the odd gentle slope. There are two wheelchairs available for hire, but they must be booked in advance. If you have any special requirements, the helpful staff will provide advice over the phone. A volunteer can be booked to act as a guide around the exhibits, which is particularly useful for visitors with visual impairments. There are two disabled toilets in the museum and another in the café.
Food & drink: The museum’s new Café 750 is accessible to wheelchairs and sells hot and cold food and drinks and West Country high teas and cream teas. There are also picnic tables in case you want to bring your own food.