We’re spoilt for choice in the UK for motorcycle museums, and having a rich history of motorcycles dating back to the 19th century is definitely of help in that regard.
We’ve rounded up a few options to visit that take in a wide variety of different options to cater for different choices.
And we’ve also added a few foreign museums for those of you who have a bit more time, or who just happen to be travelling near one of our list.
Triumph Factory Visitor Experience
The Triumph Visitor Experience is a relatively newly-opened venue, which opened in 2018 on the site of the main Hinckley Triumph Motorcycle factory in the Midlands of the UK.
Since the opening, the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience has been popular since the start thanks to the combination of an immersive experience and a classic bike collection that brings together many of the most iconic Triumphs from the firm’s long history.
Triumph is lucky in having one of the longest and most interesting of all the motorcycle manufacturers and that also includes a rich racing and speed record history and all of that is traced throughout the Visitor Experience.
The Visitor Experience is split into five different zones called Attitude, Bloodline, Performance, Iconic and Design.
Visitors also get the option to go on a tour of the Hinckley factory floor where many of the current model range are built. While the Visitor Experience is open to flying visits, the Factory Tour must be booked in advance.
Sammy Miller Museum
The Sammy Miller Museum is a privately held collection of bikes based on the south coast of the UK and it has become one of the largest in the country.
The collection of bikes majors on old British bikes and there is one of the most impressive of all Norton collections to be found anywhere, with machines like the famous Norton Kneeler part of the collection.
Sammy Miller himself is one of the best-known of motorcycle racers and was an 11-times British racing champion with more than 1400 wins to his name. Even at a fairly advanced age, he still competes and parades on some of the bikes from his collection at various events around Europe and the UK.
All of the bikes in the Sammy Miller Museum have been fully restored and almost all are in full working condition; this collection includes factory racing bikes and even some of the original prototype bikes from throughout history. New bikes are constantly being added so the collection changes all the time.
More details: https://sammymiller.co.uk/
National Motorcycle Museum
The National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham in the UK houses an enormous collection of over 1000 motorcycles and includes the world’s largest collection of classic and vintage British bikes.
The museum has been open since 1984, when it started with just 350 bikes, but has grown each and every year since and was even able to recover from an enormous fire in 2003 that destroyed large numbers of bikes.
The massive collection of bikes is spread out across five different halls and there are 170 different motorcycle marques represented across the 1000 bikes on display.
The earliest example of a motorcycle on display dates from 1898 and of the 1000 in the total collection, around 850 are on display at any one time.
Across the five halls the collection is split into different groups with temporary exhibitions housed in the lobby which is free to enter. Inside the paying area, the halls are split between ’60 Glorious Years’ and then alphabetically between ABC and Zenith.
More details: http://www.nationalmotorcyclemuseum.co.uk/
David Silver Collection
The David Silver Collection is another privately-owned museum that features over 150 different models; the difference to many other museums is the fact these are all Hondas – dating from a 1948 A-type through to a 1992 Honda NR750 and a CBR900RR.
The museum is located in Leiston, Suffolk and has been a labour of love for the owners, who have been one of the biggest names in Honda spares and sourcing parts for many years.
The rarest bike in the collection is the 1948 Honda A-type which was the first bike made by Soichiro Honda at the formation of what was to become the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer. It laid the foundations for the entire Honda Motor Corporation.
More details: http://www.davidsilverhondacollection.co.uk/
National Motor Museum Beaulieu
The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is heavily focussed on the four-wheel history but does still have an attractive motorcycle and scooter collection ensuring a trip to the Hampshire location near Brockenhurst is worthwhile for bikers too.
The museum currently lists almost 100 motorcycles and scooters as exhibits with the majority of the motorcycles being English classics from the heyday of the British motorcycle industry.
The earliest examples on show are ‘pioneer’ bikes from the pre-1905 era but there are also examples of bikes stretching all the way up to the modern era to illustrate how engineering and technology has changed.
More details: https://nationalmotormuseum.org.uk
AND SOME A LITTLE FURTHER AFIELD…
We are fairly lucky to have a wide variety of motorcycle museums to choose from in the UK but if you are out and about travelling in the world then there are some incredible options that are well worth a diversion to check out.
Honda Collection Hall
Perhaps the most famous of all the museums in the world, the Honda Collection Hall is based at the Honda-owned Twin Ring Motegi racing circuit in Japan and houses a staggering array of motorcycles, scooters, racing bikes, cars and even has an official Honda workshop where visitors can watch factory restorations taking place.
If you are lucky enough to be in Japan, make sure you don’t miss out on a chance of making a visit.
More details: https://global.honda/heritage/collection-hall.html
The Ducati Museum is on the site of the famous factory in Bologna, Italy and has recently enjoyed a hugely-impressive revamp which has turned what was already an excellent motorcycle museum into a fully-interactive experience.
You must book ahead of making a visit.
The BMW Museum is based at the Munich headquarters of the German giant with the massively impressive BWM Welt (BMW World) across the world.
The BMW Museum traces the full history of the BMW motorcycle company but also has a huge display of racing motorcycles, cars and concept vehicles too.
More details: https://www.bmw-welt.com/de/locations/museum.html