London Calling – Brooklands and Tate Modern

Over the Early May Bank Holiday, Minh and I took a weekend trip down to London to get away. I’m breaking our weekend up into different posts to cover each day…

SATURDAY – Brooklands Museum and Tate Modern

So technically speaking, the Brooklands Museum is not in London… not even really that close to London. But since we were heading down to the area, we thought we’d swing by to check it out. Plus, they were having one of their biggest events of the year on Saturday… AUTOITALIA!

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Italian cars in one place. Sure, there was a good sampling of Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but what really caught my eye were the cute little Fiats. Just strengthened my desire to own one, even if it might be a little impractical.

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In addition to the plethora of Italian cars around, the regular museum was also open. We were actually able to checkout three “museums” in one go.. the Brooklands Museum – which includes aviation and motoring history, the London Bus Museum, the Mercedes-Benz World.

The Brooklands Museum is actually really cool, even if there wasn’t an event going on. In the motoring exhibits, it covers the history of motor racing at Brooklands, including cycling. Some of the exhibits are diplayed like you’re looking into someone’s garage. They also do car restoration at Brooklands, and you can see the current project in their garage (they weren’t working on it at the time). You can also walk a portion of the old track.

 

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Normally, the London Bus Museum requires a separate admission fee, but it was open during the event. I’m not sure if it normally has a guided tour, but on Saturday we could just walk through at our leisure. The busses are arranged in a way that you see them in chronological order. For the most part, they were all fully restored, which was pretty neat. There were also a few that we could go in and check out the interiors.

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Mercedes-Benz World was really the primary reason for us to visit Brooklands. I have to say, that we were rather disappointed in MBW, and we were glad that there was something else going on at the time. Granted, if we were going on the test track, then maybe it would be more fun, but getting on the test track is EXPENSIVE. There were some other cool things around.. like the Formula1 racecar that was completely disassembled, even down to the bolts.. and a replica of the first ever motorcar.. and a little 4D simulation video of the SLK assemblyline.. but all in all.. it really was just a glorified dealership. Plus side… we got out of the rain and we got to sit in some nice cars.

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We walked around the entire AutoItalia event a few times. Got to see some really nice cars, and took lots of pictures. They had some of the cars do a little parade around the Mercedes-Benz Test Track and try their luck on the Test Hill. Overall it was pretty fun.

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After we left Brooklands, we headed into London to check into our hotel and then off to the Tate Modern.

If you’re ever in London, you can beat the crowds at the Tate Modern by heading in late at night. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Tate Modern is open until 10PM. We grabbed dinner at the Tate Cafe.. then off to see the art!

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We opted to skip the exhibitions that cost money.. mostly because we were trying to save where we could.. so no Lichtenstein exhibit for us. But the remaining art exhibits were well worth it. And I was able to see works by my favorite artists (Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder).

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After we left the Tate Modern, we walked a bit along the River Thames before heading back to the hotel and calling it a night.

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