In the second of our travel blogs, Carphile explores what highlights are on offer this summer for car enthusiasts motoring in and around London.
While motor-loving Londoners might feel the urge to escape the city for less congested roads in the summer months, there’s much to offer car fans who don’t. It might not be possible to give your car a proper work out, but when it comes to London there are few better places to parade, spot and admire, a well-polished set of wheels.
Classic car clubbing
London was where the swinging sixties really started to swing. And the car all the swingers wanted to be seen in was the Mini. So what better place to show off one of the country’s most iconic cars. The London & Surrey Mini Owners Club welcomes Minis of all eras, from the earliest 1959 to the present day.
Events for car enthusiasts – motoring in London summer 2014
Even if you just want to admire other people’s classics, there’s plenty going on over the summer and London plays host to two of the world’s finest concours events.
Salon Privé – from 3rd-5th September – boasts, among others, a Concours d’Elégance, the British Supercar Show and the Royal College of Art’s Concours of the future exhibition. Now in its ninth year, the event has already established itself among the leading global automotive shows.
Another must-see event the same week is the Concours of Elegance on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September. It’s the Concours’ third year, establishing it as an annual event, and this time it’s taking place at Hampton Court Palace. The palace’s royal lawns will be host to 120 of rare collectors’ cars from across the globe.
A trip down memory lane
London is a city famed for its world-class museums – and there’s something for motorists, too. The London Motor Museum is located in Hayes, Greater London, and is host to one of Europe’s largest collections of custom cars, plus its fair share of classics. With a range of muscle cars, super cars and superstars on show there’s plenty for anyone who likes their cars fast and famous.
From the Lamborghini Countach QV5000 to a collection of Dodge Chargers, Mustangs and Chevrolets, and a Lotus Esprit from the Roger Moore James Bond Film, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, there’s more than enough to justify the entry fee. It even has its own Bat-Cave for fans of the Dark Knight displaying Batmobiles from the small-screen and the big-screen.
Need to escape from the city for a bit and see some places more green and blue than grey? The A21 from Seven Oaks to Hastings offers an alternative to the more famous London to Brighton route followed each year by the world famous vintage car event that runs every November.
The road is prone to holiday traffic but there are other routes along B-roads for those who want to get off the beaten track and escape the caravans. This route proves more scenic, weaving between country lanes and dual carriageways, but will take closer to four hours than two.
The reward at the end of the road is Hastings, specifically the old town – a popular and busy tourist spot in the summer for good reason. The unspoilt charm of its old buildings and its rich history make it a perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of London and the ideal destination for a drive in a classic or interesting car.