Perfect Activity for a Rainy Day in the Lake District
The Lakeland Motor Museum is set in a great big barn, making it a great indoor wet-weather activity. Filled to the rafters with items telling the story of road transport from the late nineteenth century through to the early part of the twenty-first century. There are a whopping 30,000 exhibits in total, ranging from bicycles to fire engines. And who can resist the lure of shiny sports cars?
Motor Vehicles Through the Ages
Stepping into the vast main hall of the museum is an overwhelming experience – there’s so much to see. What to look at first? Luckily, there’s a one-way tour that winds its way past every single exhibit, so you won’t miss a thing. Classic cars from the early part of the twentieth century greet you as you enter the hall. Quickly followed by luxury models and performance cars from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Mock shop fronts allow visitors another insight into past times. Peer into toyshop windows or at garish outfits from the Swinging Sixties. A 1930s garage has also been recreated, complete with greasy tools and accessories.
Upstairs are bicycles, pedal cars, Isle of Man TT motorbikes and film footage. Also on display is an exhibit about the role of motor vehicles during World War One.
Campbell Bluebird Exhibition
A separate building is devoted to the story of Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell, who achieved several water speed records in the Lake District between 1939 and 1959. It contains full-sized replicas of the 1935 Blue Bird car in which Sir Malcolm Campbell set a land speed record of 301mph in Utah. The Blue Bird K4 boat, which broke the world water speed record for Malcolm on Coniston Water in 1939. Also on display, the Bluebird K7 jet hydroplane in which son Donald set seven world water speed records from 1955 to 1967. Sadly, it was in this latter vehicle that Donald lost his life while attempting to break the 300mph barrier on Coniston Water in January 1967. His boat lifted out of the water, did a backward somersault, and nose-dived into the lake.
The Industrial History of the Museum Mill Building
The museum is housed in a converted mill that’s located in a wooded valley beside the rushing waters of the River Leven. Displays explain the industrial history of the mill, including its incarnation as a packaging shed for the nearby ‘blue mill’ which manufactured a laundry pigment known as ‘Dolly Blue’.
Cruise to the Lakeland Motor Museum
The Lakeland Motor Museum is located close to the southern tip of Windermere, about 9 miles from Bowness. Windermere Lake Cruises offers a ticket which combines entrance to the museum with a boat trip from Bowness to Lakeside. The museum is then a 35-minute walk from the Lakeside pier.
Refreshments on site
If you’re feeling peckish, there’s a café on site, which you can visit without purchasing a ticket for the museum. A small shop sells motoring memorabilia, books and gifts. A free children’s quiz is also available from the shop. Young visitors answer questions as they walk around the museum and then receive a souvenir medallion when they present the completed quiz to the reception desk on the way out.
For more ideas on family days out in the area, go to our article Things to do in Lake District with family.
Address: Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 8TA
Opening Times: Open everyday except Christmas Day.
9:30am – 5:30pm April to 1 November, 9:30am – 4:30pm at all other times.