Visiting a motorcycle museum is a cool day out for anyone, not just bikers. Not only do you get to gawp at the sorts of machines our fathers, grandfathers and even great-grandfathers were riding around on but you’ll also learn loads about the technologies that we take for granted today.
Every avid biker should learn more about the history of motorcycling; and what better way to do that than visiting the nation’s top motorcycle museums?
Pick a few good roads on your way to the museum, throw in a late pub lunch and a spirited ride home and you’ve got the makings of a brilliant day.
From places run by charitable trusts, barns crammed with yesterday’s icons or private collections open to the public, here are some of the best motorcycle museums to visit in the UK.
Who is it for
Anyone who wants to get a concentrated dose of the bikes that paved the way for today's tackle.
Why you should do it
You'll see one-hundred years of evolution in one day.
What does it cost
Around £10 for an entry ticket.
Norfolk, NR28 9JP | 01692 406266
Started over 25 years ago, the Norfolk Motorcycle Museum welcomes everyone with a passion for biking or just curious to see one of the largest collections of vintage motorcycles in England. Over 150 exhibits show the history of the motorcycles from 1900 to 1980, including rare 20s and 30s pre-war motorbikes. The museum also provides vintage bike restoration works with either original or accurate replica spare parts.
Craven's Motorcycle Museum
York, YO32 9UE | 01904 400493
Tucked in the picturesque Yorkshire, the Cravens Motorcycle Museum is another fabulous place to check out. It exhibits over 270 classic bikes from the 1920s to 2006, including many fine examples of sprint and grass motorcycles. The collection also comprises a series of special custom-made bikes constructed from various recycled vintage parts. The museum is not open every day; thus, we recommend calling or visiting their website before going.
Murray's Motorcycle Museum
Isle of Man, IM4 IEN | 07624 478 162
The Isle of Man and motorcycling share a long and fascinating history, so a motorcycle museum couldn’t have missed from this place. Small but packed with treasures, the Murrays Motorcycle Museum is a must-visit before or after the TT. It is also an ideal stop for classic motorcycle enthusiasts who want to discover the machines’ evolution from the late 1800s to modern times.
National Motorcycle Museum
Solihull, B92 0EJ | 01675 443311
Boasting the world’s biggest collection of British motorcycles, the National Motorcycle Museum is a huge space and is packed with loads of bikes from different eras and they’re not all British. There are regular live events and auctions throughout the year.
Sammy Miller Museum
Hampshire, BH25 5SZ | 01425 620 777
Located in New Milton, the Sammy Miller Museum is one of the largest motorcycle museums in the world. The exhibits are grouped in five impressive collections of exotic bikes, including unique models of trail and racing motorcycles. The premises also house a café for refreshments, while the youngsters can also have fun in the craft shop or petting animals.
Silloth Motorcycle Museum
Northern Lake District, Cumbria | 07764 405136
Located in Silloth, and founded by ex-racer Jim Snaith, SMM features a collection of authentic racing bikes, trophies and other memorabilia. Family-friendly fun with Jim bringing the past to life with racing stories. Entry is free, donations welcome.
Isle of man motor museum
Isle of Man | 01624 888 333
The Museum showcases over 200 motorcycles from the earliest days of motoring with a 1902 Clement right through to the 2009 winner of the first electric TT by way of Nortons, Sunbeams, Velocettes, Indians, Kawasakis and Hondas to name just a few. There is sure to be something for every bike fanatic!
thornton le-dale, yorkshire | 01751 474 455
The stars from Bangers and Cash, The Mathewsons are avid collectors of cars and motorcycles. Their museum houses a current collection of around 50 bikes and they plan to update their collection in the future.
Myreton Motor Museum
east lothian, scotland | 07585 356 931
Myreton Motor Museum was founded in 1966 by Willie Dale and has a large collection of exhibits such as cars, bicycles, motorcycles and commercial vehicles dating from 1899. There is also an interesting assortment of period advertising, posters, enamel signs, and toy vehicles.
glasgow museum of transport
glasgow, scotland | 0141 276 9300
The Riverside Museum is the current location of the Glasgow Museum of Transport. Riverside displays some of the world’s finest cars, bicycles, ship models, trams and locomotives. There are 85 motorcycles in the collection which include a Beardmore Precision Model C sidecar combination built by Beardmore Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, 1922.
Llangollen Motor Museum
llangollen, wales | 07780 306 220
Your experience when visiting this lovely museum will be interesting and informative but most of all it demonstrates the charm and character of our motoring past and in itself, it is a charming place, oozing with character. A star of the collection includes a New Imperial Motor Cycle which was the only British Motor Cycle in the Millenium Dome in the year 2000.
Lakeland Motor Museum
ulverston, cumbria | 015395 30400
Head down memory lane to the Lakeland Motor Museum and feast your eyes on a unique collection of 30,000 exhibits including 140 classic cars and motorbikes. Nestled in the scenic Leven Valley and open seven days a week, the Museum isn’t just about cars. The entire collection will awaken some special motoring memories.
Dover Transport Museum
dover, kent | 01304 822 409
A registered charity, Dover Transport Museum is the only museum of its kind in Kent. The Dover Transport Museum is home to many forms of vintage transport including a vintage motorcycle shop displaying what life was like back in the day. A visit to the Dover Transport Museum makes a memorable family day out.
National Motor Museum Trust
Brockenhurst, Hampshire | 01590 614 650
The National Motor Museum Trust Limited is a charitable organisation founded in 1972. Continuing the work of the flagship Montagu Motor Museum, the Trust has a world-famous collection of vehicles including over 100 motorcycles from across the years.
The David Silver Honda Collection
leiston, suffolk | 01728 833 020
David Silver founded his company in 1986 by supplying new old stock parts to Honda owners around the world. Having collected a vast array of Honda motorcycles over the years, The David Silver Honda Collection is a new addition to the company. This will enable Honda enthusiasts from around the world, to view and enjoy the engineering brilliance of Soichiro Honda and his team. Admission prices are a bargain and children go free!
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