A review of our day at The Silverstone Experience.
I really don’t know where to begin. With so much on offer and covering two floors, The Silverstone Experience is quite simply amazing!
You really don’t have to be a F1 fan to find the experience interesting. With so many interactive stations set up around the museum, both children and adults, will have a fantastic time.
The excitement starts from the very beginning as you prepare for The Silverstone Experience with entry into the thrilling pre-show. Here we walked into a tunnel and took our place on a virtual grid. We watched as the screens around us lit up with scenes from Silverstone’s past.
This kicked off our visit in the most exciting way. We then took a walk around the museum.
Every corner and straight at Silverstone has a name – but where did Copse, Stowe and Wellington come from? In the opening part of The Silverstone Experience we learned all the names and the history behind them. We also found out how Silverstone became The Home of British Motor Racing.
We began at the medieval abbey, before winding through the grounds of an 18th century country estate to arrive at a Second World War airfield. In this section we found what links Silverstone to Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the famous 18th century landscape architect.
We then moved on to discover Silverstone’s past as a Bomber Command Training base during the Second World War.
This is where we learned about the men and women who were stationed here during the war. We got to see their real uniforms and understand how pilots learnt to fly Wellington bombers.
There are three different hands-on activities including practising to shoot barrage balloons and having a go on the Link Trainer – a replica of the machine the RAF used to train pilots.
When WW2 came to a close and RAF Silverstone stopped being a Wellington Bomber training base, the future of the site was uncertain. But racing enthusiasts were looking for new circuits, as pre-war venues had been taken over by the military.
In this section of The Silverstone Experience we heard the story of how a group of drivers snuck onto the old airfield and how the use of Silverstone as a race circuit led to the first grand prix, in 1948.
We then pulled up a stool in a 1940’s replica pub. It was like stepping back in time to the 1940’s, the pub was filled with old bottles of spirits and posters about the war. Here we heard stories from villagers and read about the village that gave the country’s most famous racing circuit its name and learned about the area around the track.
We got to see some stunning trophies and programmes from motorsport’s past and discovered the life of Silverstone’s hero Jimmy Brown.
After leaving the village (upper floor), we took a journey down the staircase and through the heart of Silverstone.
Now downstairs we got up close to iconic racing cars and bikes from over 70 years of racing at Silverstone.
The lower section was really interactive and fun for the boys as they got to see and interact with the amazing tech behind the sport.
We walked up to a replica pit wall and got up close to an amazing racing car and a support vehicle. The boys tried their hand at changing the tyres using a tyre gun.
We discovered what is behind the scenes of a race, from race marshals to the medical centre, we heard first-hand accounts of what is needed to run a busy race day.
We then entered the Tech Lab where the my eldest son (aged 8) had the most fun. With the help of experts from McLaren and Suzuki, he learned about the incredible technology that goes into racing. He tested his knowledge on a series of interactive challenges and then put together a racing bike using what he’d learnt.
We then walked through the Racing Eras, I loved this part of The Silverstone Experience as it was here that we had a look at some of the most significant cars and motorcycles to have competed and won at Silverstone.
We got to see some sportscar and touring car classics to iconic MotoGP and Formula 1 machines. Race suits and helmets from the 1950s through to today were on display, they even had Lewis Hamilton’s suit, boots and lid!!
The Ultimate Lap is the last part of the experience. Here you will find a special-effects cinema and watch some of the circuit’s most iconic and dramatic moments happen around you on the Ultimate Lap of Silverstone. We didn’t get to experience this as we had run out of time by this point.
The Silverstone Experience was brilliant. If you are thinking of visiting I’d recommend 1.5 -2.5 hours to explore everything. There is a café which offers hot and cold foods, tea, coffee and cakes.
The toilet facilities are impressive, particularly the disabled bathroom where they have everything you could think of.
The staff are helpful and knowledgeable. The Covid measures they have in place are by far the best I have seen during this pandemic.
For more information, please head to – The Silverstone Experience- An Interactive Motorsport Museum (silverstone-experience.co.uk)