If you have any interest at all in cars and their history then it’s worth heading for Mercedes-Benz World, on the site of the legendary Brooklands motor racing track near Weybridge. It’s very wheelchair-friendly – and free!
Each of its three floors doubles as a showroom of current Mercedes-Benz models and museum vehicles. It includes a history of the company and its vehicles, including a replica of the “Benz Patent-Motorwagen”: this three-wheeled vehicle was built in 1886 and is widely regarded as the first automobile, with a rear-mounted engine and a body constructed of steel tubing with woodwork panels.
It’s easy to access everywhere within the Mercedes-Benz World building in a wheelchair, with even floors, plenty of space around exhibits and two lifts. There’s a café at ground level and a restaurant on the third floor.
Five Formula 1 cars are on display – real cars from previous seasons. There are two examples each from the McLaren and Mercedes Petronas teams, as well as one from Force India. As you might expect, they’re all powered by Mercedes’ engines!
There’s also a deconstructed Formula 1 car whose parts (well over 3000 of them) are suspended from a frame as a huge 3D artwork called “View Suspended II”, created by Dutch artist Paul Veroude.
Another interesting item of automobile artwork on show is a 1975 car, rescued from the scrap yard by artist Geraldine O Lloyd. She worked on the car over many years while fighting cancer, painting it green and adding trimmings including gold chain and painted mannequins as passengers.
Mercedes-Benz World offers many “Driving Experiences” including a “wet skid circle”, off-road handling circuits and a 10 acre off-road terrain. If you’re not able to drive yourself, they offer passenger rides, when a professional driver shows what the cars can do. Or you can simply watch: large glass windows provide excellent “trackside” views of the driving circuits.
There are free guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 11.30am and 2.00pm, and during local school holidays; we visited on a midweek day when these weren’t on offer. We also missed seeing the films which explain the invention of the motor car, explore 125 years of Mercedes-Benz innovation, and recount the history behind the Mercedes-Benz World site and the Brooklands racetrack. I think another visit is called for!
Mercedes-Benz World is open seven days a week, from 10.00am to 6.00pm.
Getting there by car
Parking is free, with disabled spaces closest to the entrance. There is a level path to the entrance door.
Click HERE for location map.
Postcode for SatNav: KT13 0SL
Getting there by bus
Service 436 between Weybridge and Woking town centres operates every 30 minutes on average and calls at Mercedes-Benz World. It also calls at the railway stations at Weybridge, West Byfleet and Woking. The bus stop at Mercedes-Benz World serves buses travelling in both directions (towards Weybridge or Woking) so, when you leave, make sure your bus is going the right way!
Click the following link for timetables: http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/buses-and-trains or visit Traveline at www.traveline.org.uk
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