Cotswolds Motoring Museum
Bourton on the Water, Gloucestershire
'Motoring' is a very Cotswold word, evoking images of stringback gloves, Morris Minors and tins of car sweets. This museum has bags of charm. In fact the Cotswolds is an appropriate place for a motoring collection. It was advent of reliable cars that opened up the rediscovery of the area for tourism and led to the country house hotel culture that is still one of the Cotswolds’ major assets.
Anyway, even if cars and motors aren’t your thing, this museum is recommended (one for a rainy day, perhaps?). The reason is that it’s as much about design, graphics and nostalgia as it is about techy motoring detail. There are cute retro caravans from the 1920s, there are vintage items of memorabilia, from picnic sets to clothing and vintage signs. And the cars? There are over 40, plus motorcycles.
The oldest car on display is from the 1900s, the newest is from 1974 - a Hillman Imp. As the museum says, they take you back to when motoring was a hobby rather than a commute. The collection is also the home of Brum, the popular childrens' TV character.
The toy collection is equally charming, think Dinky, Meccano, Airfix and Scalextric. Dads (mostly) of a certain age will leave with a nostalgic sigh.
Outside, all of the cafes and shops in Bourton are a few steps away.
Cotswolds Motoring and Toy Museum
Cotswolds Finest Hotels Nearby
Bourton is handy for most hotels, with its location just off the Fosse Way, the long former Roman Road that acts as the backbone of the Cotswolds. Lords of the Manor Hotel is very close. Most visitors seem to pass by Bourton at some point.