Set in the historical home of the British car industry, the Heritage Motor Centre is home to the world’s largest collection of historic British cars – from early Austins, record-breaking MG’s, state-of-the art Aston Martins, classic Land Rovers, a selection of Jaguars and the iconic Mini.
You can walk through various displays such as the “Time Road”, which shows how motoring and family life has changed through the decades, with period music and memorable events. The “Making British Cars” exhibit gives an insight into how influential the motor industry has been over the years and where it is headed in the future, while the “Under The Skin” display unravels the mystery of how cars work, with interactive exhibits. The centre is also home to several stars from films including Judge Dredd and Thunderbirds – although you may have to settle for a wheel-rubbing, instead of an autograph.
For something a little more action-packed, the daily Land Rover Experience (book on arrival) is a twenty-minute demonstration ride around a challenging off-road course, over rocky inclines, steep descents and water sections. Children must be over five and accompanied by an adult, and wheelchair users need to be able to transfer into the Land Rover, as it isn’t specially adapted. There is also an outdoor children’s play area.
Disabled parking bays are located to the left of the main entrance, immediately next to the building. At reception, three wheelchairs are available for rent and induction loops are available – including a portable one. This is also the place to pick up a push-along-car if you have a toddler in tow. The centre is completely flat, and there is enough space between cars for wheelchair users to navigate easily. Rest seats are available but may not be required, as the area to cover is not vast. A lift in the middle of the venue provides access to the mezzanine level, where temporary exhibits are often housed, and from where you can get a different perspective on all the cars below. As well as an audio tour, there are free guided tours every day at 11.15am and 2.15pm.
Food & drink: A small selection of hot and cold food is available in the Junction Twelve café on the first floor, accessible via a glass lift (to find it, exit the display room opposite the main entrance). There are a few choices of tasty hot food plus good quality sandwiches and cakes, as well as moveable tables and chairs and plenty of space. There is also an outdoor picnic area.