The British Commercial Vehicle Museum in Leyland is a remarkable establishment dedicated to preserving and exhibiting commercial vehicles produced in the UK.
This museum, which opened in 1983, offers a unique insight into the history and evolution of transportation through its extensive collection. Visitors are presented with an array of exhibits ranging from early horse-drawn carts to modern-day commercial vehicles, reflecting the dramatic shifts in design and technology over centuries.
The museum’s mission extends beyond mere display. Education forms a significant part of the museum’s ethos, with a focus on the socio-economic impact of commercial vehicles on the country’s development. Through its rich collection, the attraction highlights the historical importance of the automobile industry in the United Kingdom, particularly in relation to the country’s industrial heritage.
Exhibits at this institution include a range of meticulously preserved vehicles, from vintage vans and large goods trucks to retro buses and iconic red fire engines, each with detailed information about their respective brands, manufacturers, and historical context.
These beautifully preserved machines provide a unique insight into the evolution of commercial transportation throughout history.
Visitors are assured an immersive experience. Many exhibits are accessible for interior exploration, offering a tangible feel of the driver’s perspective.
Exhibits go beyond providing a visual spectacle of beautifully restored vehicles. They present a chronologically organised narrative tracing the evolution of energy and innovation over time.
The displays progress through time, from horse-drawn carriages to modern, energy-efficient vehicles.
This progression not only offers a comprehensive understanding of the development of commercial vehicles but also provides insights into the broader context of technological advancement and the drive towards sustainability.
The vehicles on display are not limited to those used for transportation but include various automobiles that have played significant roles in specific historical events. One such exhibit is the Popemobile, specifically made for Saint John Paul II’s visit to England in 1982. It was designed and built by British Leyland.
In addition to the impressive exhibits, there are interactive challenges and experiences for visitors to enjoy. From driving simulations that allow you to experience what it’s like behind the wheel of a lorry to archive films showcasing the development of commercial vehicles over time.
The building was once part of the Leyland Motor’s factory. In 1983, the space was transformed into the British Commercial Vehicle Museum.
Between September 2017 and January 2019, the venue closed for a major refurbishment, financed by a £1.8m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Additional features were introduced to increase visitor numbers and secure its long-term future. Changes included a new cafe, shop, and activity/conferencing space. The revamped exhibition hall and improved facilities now offer a unique experience for visitors, transporting them to a bygone era of British commercial automobile manufacturing.
Visitor Information – Opening Times, Ticket Prices, Shop
The British Commercial Vehicle Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday. At the time of writing, opening times are 10 am to 4.30 pm, with the last admission at 3.45 pm. Tickets for adults are priced at £10. The admission charge for children (aged 4 to 16) is £5. Children under four years old can enter for free. Family and group tickets are also available. Check the official website or Facebook page for the latest times and prices (the venue sometimes closes for private events).
The attraction is self-funded and relies on these fees for sustainability. By visiting, you are contributing to preserving the rich heritage of British commercial automobiles.
There’s a delightful gift shop offering a variety of memorabilia and merchandise, from scale models of classic trucks and buses to books, pictures, and postcards. The shop is an excellent place to pick up a keepsake or a gift for a vehicle enthusiast.
The cafe offers breakfast, meals, light snacks, cakes, and drinks. It is open throughout the week and provides a cosy spot to relax and take a break.
The building is accessible for those using wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Location and Transport
The museum is conveniently located on King Street in Leyland in, Lancashire, less than a mile from Junction 28 of the M6 motorway. Getting there is easy for drivers. Follow the brown tourist signs or input the postcode PR25 2LE into your satellite navigation system.
There’s a small car park. Parking is free for visitors.
The attraction is also accessible via public transport. Leyland Train Station is just half a mile away.
How to Get Involved and Support the Museum
To get involved and support the British Commercial Vehicle Museum, here are some ways you can contribute:
- Become a volunteer: The museum relies on dedicated volunteers to act as tour guides and help with various tasks such as organising events and maintaining the exhibits. Volunteering your time and skills can make a valuable contribution to preserving the collection.
- Become a member: Joining the venue as a member not only supports its operations but also provides you with exclusive benefits. Members get free entry throughout the year.
- Sponsorship opportunities: Businesses or individuals can show their support by becoming museum sponsors. Sponsoring an exhibit or event promotes your brand and helps preserve this unique part of British heritage.
- Spread the word: Help raise awareness about the museum by sharing information on social media platforms or recommending it to friends and family. Word-of-mouth is among the most effective ways to attract new visitors and supporters.
Other Attractions Nearby
After visiting the museum, consider exploring other attractions in the Leyland area. Worden Park and Cuerden Valley Park are both nearby.
Worden Park is just half a mile from the museum. The park covers more than 150 acres and was once the estate of the Farington family. Today, it is home to the Worden Arts and Crafts Centre, a maze, a miniature railway, a playground, and numerous sports facilities.
Cuerden Valley Park is an expansive country park just a few minutes drive away. Originally the estate of Cuerden Hall, the park offers diverse landscapes, including woodland, meadows, farmland, and a lake. Its ten miles of footpaths are perfect for strolls or bike rides, and the historical remnants of Lower Kem Mill add a touch of intrigue to your visit. The park also houses a visitor centre and a cafe.