The Haynes International Motor Museum is a large museum focusing on automotive history with a collection of over 400 vehicles.
The museum was founded in 1985 by John Haynes OBE (1938–2019). Haynes also founded the Haynes Publishing Group, which is best-known for the Haynes Manuals that cover the maintenance and repair of 300 different car models and 130 different motorcycles.
What to see at the Haynes International Motor Museum
The Haynes International Motor Museum is a large museum with a collection of over 400 cars and motorcycles, which are organised into 16 different exhibition galleries.
The Dawn of Motoring gallery features some of the very earliest examples of motorised transport including a replica of the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagon and an Ormond Motorcycle from 1901.
The Veteran and Vintage gallery has vehicles from the period when motor cars first started to become widespread and this gallery’s exhibits include cars from the period just after the Dawn of Motoring until 1930. Vehicles in this gallery include a 1919 Daimler Light Thirty Phaeton and a 1922 Citron 5CV Cloverleaf.
While much of the museum’s collection has a strong focus on British and European motoring, the Wheels Around the World gallery has an eclectic collection of cars from around the world including vehicles from Canada, India and from the Soviet-era USSR.
The Minis and Micros gallery showcases small cars including classic cars such as the Fiat 500, European bubble cars like the Messerschmitt KR200 and Trojan 200, and, of course, the Mini. This gallery features a room filled with Minis including one cut in half so you can how spacious it is inside.
The Great British Marques gallery features many of the more glamorous British vehicles including cars made by Aston Martin, Jaguar, Jensen and Lotus.
The American Dream gallery has examples of almost 100 years of cars from the United States including vintage cars such as the 1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash and a 1915 Model T Ford as well as cars from Auburn, Cadillac, Cord, Duesenberg, Ford, Oldsmobile, Packard, Plymouth and Stanley.
The Haynes International Motor Museum is not just about cars and you will also find motorcycles are represented throughout the museum. The British and World Motorcycles gallery is dedicated to the evolution of the motorcycle and includes examples of classic British motorcycles and Japanese motorcycles that became increasingly popular in the 1950s.
The Forshaw Speedway Collection is a unique collection of Speedway motorcycles and memorabilia.
The Hall of Motorsport is dedicated to competitive racing and includes race cars from Elva, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus and TVR.
The Morris Story tells the story of William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield, who introduced mass automotive production to the United Kingdom with the Morris Minor in 1928. The Morris Minor was produced from 1928 till 1933 and an updated model was launched in 1948 and remained in production until 1972. It is credited with introducing affordable motoring to the United Kingdom. Morris’s MG marque, which is considered one of the world’s most successful sports car brands, is also featured as part of The Morris Story.
The Memory Lane gallery features British cars from the 1940s to the 1970s and the gallery’s exhibits include a 1960 Austin Nash Metropolitan, a 1961 Vauxhall Victor Deluxe and a 1974 Sunbeam Rapier.
The Travelling in Style gallery features exhibits of luxury cars including a 1939 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet, a 1960 Alvis TD21 Series 1 Drop Head Coupé and a 2000 Bentley Arnage Red Label.
Ferrari: The Man and the Machine tells the story of Enzo Ferrari and the Ferrari sports car.
The museum’s Red Room is focused exclusively on red sports cars from around the world.
John Haynes OBE: The Man, the Manuals and the Museum is a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the man who is noted for publishing the successful Haynes Manuals and for founding the museum.
Williams F1: The Drivers and the Driven is a gallery dedicated to the world of Formula One motor racing with an emphasis on the Williams F1 team.
Visiting the Haynes International Motor Museum
The location means that it is easiest to visit if you’re driving, and let’s face it, the museum’s subject matter means that most people interested in visiting the museum probably have a car. It is possible to visit by public transport by taking bus 1 or 1B (which runs between Yeovil and Shepton Mallet) and getting off outside the Sparkford Inn and walking 10 minutes to the museum; however, this walk is along the busy A359 and parts of this route are not particularly pedestrian-friendly.
The Haynes International Motor Museum is open throughout the year and admission is a fairly pricey £16, although there is a lot to see and most visitors feel that it is worth the cost. The museum is fully wheelchair accessible.
The museum’s Café 750 serves light meals, cakes and hot drinks. The museum’s rural location means that there is not much else to choose from if you’re looking for somewhere to eat and drink, although the nearby village of Sparkford has a pub (the Sparkford Inn) and a McDonalds. There is also a gift shop where you can buy automotive-themed gifts and souvenirs or choose from hundreds of Haynes Manuals.
It is a large museum and you should allow around three hours to look at all the exhibits plus additional time to visit the cafe.