Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

On Tour - Rail in the UK Tour 26 June 2023


Here we are in Cheltenham this morning and were hoping to visit the East Somerset Railway. However, as has happened a few times now, this railway has also reduced running days and not running Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays which now precludes us from visiting it. We are becoming quite flexible and very proactive for as a Heritage Railway drops off, we have been able to either slot in another and move the itinerary of do something else that is not associated with the Heritage Railway World.

Our replacement visit today was to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, not too far from Stratford-Upon-Avon. We arrived at 1000 and were met by a fabulous team who welcome us even though we hadn't booked and were in fact "blowins"!! A full briefing was given to us, and an initial recon aided by one of the staff set us up for a very good visit. We started in the Welcome Gallery that had some real special cars, the actual car that the Queen drove, the first of its models a Rolls Royce, the first Mini, the Landrover that the Queen had taken to Australia on her first visit and more!

There was sitting around the inside perimeter of the building a time road that had most of the cars made in that time period, but not all. It started 1896-1908 then 1909-1925, 1926-1945, 1946-1964 and 1965-1996 and there were special cars in each zone. All the cars from my childhood were there, Morris, Vauxall, Daimler, Rolls Royce, Standard, Rover and many more. In another area were all the sports Cars, MGs, Triumphs, E-Type Jaguars as well as the racing cars and even one that was fully electric.

After some time on that floor we took the escalator up to the café for a break and cuppa.

Next phase was to visit the other building called the Collections Centre which was their purpose-built store and home to over 200 reserve collection vehicles. The First Floor, The British Motor Museum's reserve collection includes unusual prototypes, many first and last off the line as well as cars requiring conservation. Also, there were other special cars like the Daimler that the Queen Mother had and kept for 18 years as it was a little higher than the new models that were offered to her. Also, the rear seats had a cloth seat on her direction as she was not keen on the leather seats.

Then the Ground Floor: The home of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust's collection of historic cars, one-off concepts, Royal cars and examples of most of Jaguar's production cars. There were also workshops that were not opened to the public where cars undergoing conservation or being prepared for events are stored and a restoration workshop. This was a great place to visit and a bonus for us.

A change of pace followed as we headed back towards Broadway, supposedly known as the Jewel in the crown of the Cotswolds. Arriving, we decided on 2 hours to visit the village and to have lunch. That visit went well for all and Christine our new driver for the day, arrived on time to pick us up and returned us to our hotel in Cheltenham.

Graham Fleeton.


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