The Brooklands Museum is located in the United Kingdom in Weybridge, which is approximately 30 minutes by train from London Waterloo station. In 1907, Brooklands was the world’s first purpose built motor racing circuit and it was also the home of Vickers, who manufactured aircraft on site from 1915. Today the site is a museum and has an extensive collection of British aircraft (which this review will focus on) and vintage cars and motorcycles.
It is £11.00 for museum entry and an additional £5.00 to go on a Concorde flight. I entered the museum from the wrong entrance and actually got in for free.
Like a good sport I went to the entrance and paid my entry fee anyway as museums rely on this revenue to exist.
Exhibits – BAC One-Eleven
The museum has a BAC One-Eleven on site which you can enter and explore and this aircraft was the prototype 400-series.
It is quite a cool little aircraft to visit and this experience is only enhanced by the volunteers on site. Inside the aircraft was a man seated who knew all about the aircraft and happily told you all about it when you boarded. The aircraft is decked out with a variety of flight test equipment along with several laminates explaining what things were used for.
The aircraft was donated to the museum in 1994 and is in very good condition for over twenty years as an outdoor exhibit.
Overall the One-Eleven was quite interesting to visit.
Exhibits – Vickers Viscount
The Vickers Viscount is the world’s first turboprop airliner, first flying in 1948 and entering service in 1953 with BEA. Once again a volunteer was present to provide information and probably stop people stealing things!
The windows on the Viscount are enormous as originally each one could be used as an emergency exit. Eat your heart out Boeing 787, I think the Viscount still wins on window size. Sitting down next to them is an experience – you can see so much! What a shame we don’t have these in service any longer!
A Flight On Concorde at Brooklands
The star of the museum has to be the British Airways Concorde G-BBDG which is in the airlines Negus livery from the 1970s. This Concorde was used for testing and eventually purchased by BA for spares use so it was never part of the operational Concorde fleet.
Brooklands offer a flight on Concorde and I was curious about this so I paid my £5. It starts by boarding a vintage bus and once everyone is present you go under the aircraft and board via the stairs. The rear cabin contains both written and audio-visual exhibits about the history of Concorde. Once your time there is complete, you move to the forward cabin which is set up exactly how the cabin looked in the early 1990s.
Everyone is seated and the flight begins. This is narrated by Concorde Captain Mike Bannister and the aircraft vibrates and feels like the real aircraft. It is very effective! Your flight is around 20 minutes and I have to say it was excellent! The seats are also remarkably comfortable too, so I can only imagine how enjoyable flying on board was back in the day.
Exhibits – Vickers VC10
Regular readers will know I love the Vickers VC10 so it is fitting that Brooklands has a few examples of the aircraft at the site. The star of the collection was owned by the Sultan of Oman and is set up as a private jet on the inside. Alas, the aircraft is in desperate need of some tender loving care on the outside – the weather has made the old girl look very ratty.
The spacious flight deck of the VC10 was busy when I visited. A little girl was in the Captain’s seat and her brother was in the First Officer’s seat. Their flight instructor (another volunteer!) was showing them the controls of the aircraft. What is fun is that everything still works, so they were having the girl press buttons to test the fire warning, then pull the fire handle to make the bell stop and so on. It was really a lot of fun with the volunteers really engaging the kids in what they were doing which I thought was brilliant.
The interior of the aircraft features a living room, bedroom, bathrooms and seats which were for the Sultan and his entourage. It really is a great example of how the ultra-wealthy can travel!
The Brooklands Museum also features classic cars and motorcycles, heritage buildings, a theatre, cafe and many other amenities. It should be on the list of things to do for any aviation or motoring enthusiast visiting London as it really is quite close to the city by train. The volunteers are worth their weight in gold for the knowledge they have and the eagerness to share this knowledge to genuinely enhance people’s visits.
This was my second time at the Brooklands Museum (Concorde had not arrived when I was there ten years previously) and I daresay it won’t be the last, mainly because the new VC10 exhibit was closed the day I was there! Thanks very much for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.