Top 10 motorcycle museums to visit (at home and abroad)

Which are the best motorcycle museums to visit over winter – both home and abroad? Let Visordown guide you…

David Silver Honda Collection
David Silver Honda Collection

With winter closing in and the indoors often seeming much more appealing than the outdoors there’s never been a better time to consider visiting one (or more) of the leading motorcycle museums.

But which ones? Where? What do they offer and how much does it cost to visit?

To make things easier for you we’ve done the leg work, found out everything you need to know, and narrowed the choice down to ten of the best – five that are here in the UK and five more of the best from across the globe. We’ll start with the UK ones first…

Triumph Factory Visitor Experience, Hinckley, Leicestershire 

Triumph Factory Experience
Triumph Factory Experience

Without question the best ‘factory experience’ type motorcycle museum (and factory tour) available in the UK. Opened by none other than Prince William in November 2017, it’s welcomed around 200,000 visitors since to its museum, ‘1902’ café, shop and factory tour. 

Entry to the first three is free, while the latter runs Wednesday to Saturday, takes 90 minutes, costs £25 and needs to be booked in advance online. Museum exhibits, meanwhile, tell the full story of the brand, are regularly updated and showcase Triumph’s historic and modern achievements in motorcycling, racing, the movies and popular culture, for example, Steve McQueen’s bike in The Great Escape and the Triumph bikes recently featuring in Bond flick No Time To Die.

Triumph Factory Visitor Experience, Normandy Way, Hinckley, Leicestershire, LE10 3BZ.

Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum, New Milton, Hampshire

Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum
Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum

Situated in the heart of the New Forest, the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum is home to around 500 rare and exotic motorcycles from all over the world. Set up by ex-racer Sammy Miller, it was originally housed in a former farm building but has been repeatedly expanded.

It’s now regarded as housing one of the finest collections of fully restored motorcycles in the world, including factory racers and exotic prototypes. The most popular bikes are regularly fired up for public demonstration at events throughout the year. The Museum now welcomes around 20,000 visitors a year with entry £13 for adults, £11 for seniors and kids aged 7-16 £6.

Sammy Miller Museum, Bashley Cross Road, New Milton, BH25 5SZ.

The David Silver Honda Collection, Leiston, Suffolk

The David Silver Honda Collection
The David Silver Honda Collection

Set up by Honda classic spares specialist David Silver, his Honda collection features over 200 classic Honda motorcycles produced from the beginning in 1947 through to 1992, or as David himself puts it, “for the Cub to the Fireblade”! It’s all located in a purpose-built showroom over two floors and features a special Honda Reading Room on the first floor where visitors can study over 200 Fact Files providing detailed information on many of the Honda models.

It's open Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:30, and Saturday from 09:00 to 16:00. Adult entry is £10, Seniors £5 and children are free.

The David Silver Honda Collection, Unit 14 Masterlord Industrial Estate, Station Road, Leiston, Suffolk, IP16 4JD.

Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

 Haynes Motor Museum
Haynes Motor Museum

The Haynes Museum was first established by motor manual entrepreneur  John Haynes OBE in 1985 and has since grown to be one of the leading motor museums in the UK. Claimed to be home to the UK’s largest exhibition of cars and motorbikes dating from 1898 up to the present day its 15 exhibition areas mostly span cars but recently opened a major new exhibition celebrating British motorcycling from its origins to now. 

The museum is also home to a huge archive, holds regular events and breakfast meets and has its own ‘Café 750’. Adult entry is £19.75, seniors £16.65 and children £11.25.

Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7LH

National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry, West Midlands

National Motorcycle Museum
National Motorcycle Museum

Recognised as the finest and largest British motorcycle museum in the world, NMM originally opened its doors in October 1984 with a collection of 350 motorcycles. Created by Roy Richards who passed away in 2008, the collection now boasts over 1000 machines, attracts around 250,000 visitors a year and runs a series of popular events.

Open daily (except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day_ from 08.30 to 17.30, adults cost £15, seniors £13 and 5-15s £8.

The National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull, West Midlands B92 0EJ

And if you fancy something further afield…

BMW Museum, Munich, Germany

BMW Museum
BMW Museum

The BMW Museum, although mostly focused on cars, remains one of the world’s great motorcycle museums. It’s located alongside BMW’s famous HQ building, directly opposite the BMW (car) Welt and has a range of impressive displays of vehicles, designs and prototypes that have made BMW history. 

There are also themed, temporary displays, including one currently on 100 years of BMW Motorrad with specially created off-road scenes and over 50 original BMW motorcycles from across ten decades, including some from the BMW Group Classic collection that have rarely been seen in public before.  It's open every day with adult entry €10 with concessions €7.

BMW Museum, Am Olympiapark 2.80809 Munich, Germany.

Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee, USA

Harley-Davidson Museum
Harley-Davidson Museum

This purpose-built facility opened in 2008 as the centrepiece of the new Harley-Davidson Campus, a $ 75 million, 20-acre redevelopment of a brownfield site in Milwaukee’s downtown on the banks of Lake Michigan. A brutal, boxy, steel and girder structure covering 5500+ square metres (with a further 4000+ sqm archive) it dwarfs Triumph’s £4m, 1300sqm ‘Factory Visitor Experience’. 

It’s arranged over two floors with a central atrium, has a myriad of themed displays including its famous ‘Wall of Engines’ and attracts on average over 100,000 visitors a year. It’s open daily 10am to 5pm, with standard adult entry starting at $22 but rising to $135 for a VIP Tour.

400 West Canal Street, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Ducati ‘Borgo Panigale Experience’, Bologna, Italy

Ducati ‘Borgo Panigale Experience'
Ducati ‘Borgo Panigale Experience'

Probably the closest in concept to Triumph’s Visitor Experience in being a combination of a small-ish museum dedicated to the Italian brand with the opportunity for a guided factory tour.

A museum entry ticket allows access during a specific time slot and costs €18 for adults (€16 for Ducati owners), €16 for seniors and €13 for kids. It’s open Mondays to Sundays 9am-6pm, except for Wednesdays and December 25 and 26. 

For the factory tour you’ll be accompanied by a guide through the machining section, engine assembly area and vehicle assembly lines up to the testing and shipping areas. This tour is available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 9:15am and 3:45pm, costs €36-€46 and lasts around an hour.

Ducati Motor Holding, Via Antonio Cavalieri Ducati, 3 – Bologna, Italy.  

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Claimed to be the world’s biggest and best motorcycle museum, the astonishing Barber Collection is home to over 1800 motorcycles spanning over 100 years all displayed amidst creative architecture and great attention to detail. Over 1000 bikes can be seen on any given day, over a quarter of a million people visit each year and 200 different manufacturers from 22 countries are represented in the collection. from Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Indian.  to Showa, DSK, and Cagiva.

Adult entry is $20, concessions $15.

6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35094, USA

Honda Collection Hall, Motegi, Japan

Honda Collection Hall
Honda Collection Hall

This is the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer’s own museum. Although not devoted solely to motorcycles – the Collection Hall houses approximately 300 restored motorcycles along with automobiles, power products and racing machines of all types– it’s still a compelling display, in a dedicated building over three floors adjacent to Honda’s Twin Ring Motegi racetrack.

Entry is 1200 Japanese Yen for adults (approx. £6.50) and 600 for concessions

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Mobility Resort Motegi, 120-1 Hiyama, Motegi, Haga District, Tochigi 321-3533, Japan

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