Whether you like shopping, eating out, museums, art galleries or simply seeing the sights, England’s bustling capital city has something for everyone. Did you know that it’s also a fantastic place for classic car lovers? We look at some of the best classic car museums and events in and around London.
The London Classic Car Show
Each February London plays host to every classic car lover’s dream, the London Classic Car Show. The show brings together the best classic car dealers, manufacturers, clubs and products and is a must-visit event for every classic car enthusiast.
Highlights of 2018’s show included a spectacular showcase celebrating former F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell’s illustrious career. The man himself delighted the crowds by driving various cars, including an Eagle E-Type Speedster and a Ferrari Dino F1. 2018’s show also featured a thrilling display of movie getaway cars - including cars driven in notorious real-world crimes, such as the Lotus Cortina which was used during the Great Train Robbery of 1963.
The Classic Car Show takes place at the ExCel events venue near Prince Regent DLR station in East London. Tickets go on sale this autumn for 2019’s event, which is scheduled to take place February 14th – 17th.
London Film Museum
London Film Museum is home to Bond In Motion, the largest official collection of vehicles from the James Bond films in the world. If you’re into cars and love James Bond, this is the place for you!
The museum features over 100 vehicles including such iconic cars as the archetypal Bond car, the Aston Martin DB5. Also on display are Goldfinger’s Rolls Royce Phantom III and the beatiful Lotus Esprit S1 submersible, which featured in the Bond classic The Spy Who Loved Me.
London Film Museum is located at 45 Wellington Street in Covent Garden and as well as various supercars the collection features slightly less glamorous Bond-associated cars, such as the Citroen 2CV - as well as variety of other vehicles such as aircraft, boats and motorcycles.
Located south of London in Weybridge, Brooklands Museum proudly describes itself as the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation. The first purpose-built motor racing circuit in the world was constructed on the site in 1907 and a number of world speed records were set there. On February 15th 1913 racing driver Percy Lambert achieved a new speed record of 103.84 mph at Brooklands – though tragically he was killed on the same track just a few months later, while trying to beat his own record. It’s said that Lambert’s ghost can be seen at Brooklands, dressed in full racing attire. Racing stopped at Brooklands with the outbreak of World War One but restarted in 1920, growing in popularity during the 20s and 30s.
Now home to a motoring village featuring restored original buildings, the museum tells the story of Brooklands’ racing and record breaking history. Many vintage racing cars are on display and in the Jackson Shed you’ll find a fascinating exhibition exploring the history of Grand Prix racing in Britain.
Also located on the Brooklands site, Mercedes-Benz World opened in 2006 and is a thrilling day out for the whole family, offering a variety of driving experiences.
Visitors can book an AMG driving experience, offering expert one-to-one guidance from a driving specialist in the passenger seat and allowing drivers to fully experience the site’s Handling Circuits, Dynamic Straight and low friction surfaces. Young drivers under 17 can drive part of the original circuit at Brooklands – as long as they are at least 1.5m tall! – and for even younger drivers the specially designed Little Learners indoor course allows 3 to 5 year olds the chance to drive a miniature battery-powered Mercedes-Benz.
There’s also a free exhibition called New Stars and Cars, in which you can see original cars once owned by iconic celebrities like Mick Jagger, and an ultra-realistic driving simulator, featuring professional software and bespoke hardware to replicate the speed and driving demands of Formula One racing.