Currently reading: The grand tour: which Brit car factories you should visit
You can watch your favourite British cars in exotic locations on TV but we recommend seeing them being brought to life on the factory floor

The arcing sparks of synchronised robot welders, the seismic thump of a multi-tonne press stamping body panels, the orderly bustle of a final assembly line – if you know about cars, you’ll likely be familiar with these processes, even if you haven’t seen them. And if you haven’t witnessed this amazing creative theatre, add it to your list of automotive must-dos. 

There’s plenty of scope in the UK, despite Brexit, where you can see Minis, Jaguars and Land Rovers produced in profusion, by booking yourself onto a guided tour. Not all cars are mass-produced, of course: Aston Martin, Bentley, Lotus and Morgan are among those allowing you to see car construction at a less frenetic pace. 

Sadly, not every UK car plant grants the public access, among them Nissan’s legendarily productive Sunderland plant. But one of the bigger factories allowing you a view is the Mini factory in Oxford, with the reactions of the almost invariably enthusiastic visitors visible on TripAdvisor. If you’re still sceptical, here are a couple of reviews: 

“Watching the robots work was like being in another world. I enjoyed it even though I am not interested in cars!” Or this: “Mind blown by the complexity of the logistics.” And this: “The area with the robots welding the body parts together was utterly captivating. Big, heavy machines that moved like a cross between a human and a snake. The factory is amazingly clean and surprisingly quiet. Such a good experience, I went twice.” 

As a bit of a seasoned car factory visitor, your reporter can confirm all this, and the fact that despite many similarities, car factories never stop being mesmerising – from the huge rolls of sheet steel at the start, to the moment when a car starts for the first time in its life. 

1. Aston Martin 

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Models featured: DB11, Vantage, DBS Superleggera 

Tour includes: Visits for two, including a history retrospective with previous models, a full factory tour with explanations from specialists and a tour of the current Aston range including lifestyle products. Refreshments included. Hotel accommodation and transfers optionally available. Three-day ‘At Home with Aston Martin’ tour for two: Day 1 – Gaydon factory tour; Day 2 – Aston Martin Works Newport Pagnell tour of restoration and servicing activities; Day 3 – dynamic driving day at Millbrook Proving Ground with professional tutors. 

Price: Standard tour £350, but free for Aston Martin owners via franchised dealers. Three-day tour £4060, including accommodation at Dormy House hotel in the Cotswolds. 

When: See website for availability 

How long: One or three days 

Where: Gaydon, Warwickshire 


Price: £30 

When: Most days from Monday to Friday, morning or afternoon. 2019 tour dates released early next year. 

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How long: Between two and two-and-a-half hours 

Where: Bentley Motors, Pyms Lane, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 3PL 

Contact: 01270 505851

3. Ginetta


Models featured: G40, G55, G58 

Tour includes: Detail tours with groups of 20 during a one-date winter open day, often in collaboration with a PistonHeads’ Sunday Service. Includes engine assembly, engine testing by dynomometer, chassis construction and the carbonfibre moulding process, plus an opportunity to inspect and sit in most of the current range. Refreshments (with charity donation) included. 

Price: Free 

When: Annually, usually over the Christmas/New Year break 

How long: All day 

Where: Ginetta Cars, Helios 47, Isabella Road, Garforth, Leeds, LS25 2DY 


Tour includes: A guided tour of the thunderous aluminium press shop, the sophisticated rivet-bond body assembly area, the paint shop and the final assembly line, including vehicle start-up. The bespoke options area is also visited. The F-Type tour includes explanation of the factory’s World War Two Spitfire fighter plane manufacture. 

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Price: £49 (children £39) 

When: Twice daily, Monday to Friday 

How long: Three hours

Where The Jaguar Visitor Centre, Chester Road, Castle Vale, Birmingham, B35 7RA 


Price: £49 (children £39) 

When: Twice daily, Monday to Friday

How long: Two-and-a-half to three hours 

Where: The Land Rover Visitor Centre, Lode Lane, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 8NW 


Tour includes: A guided tour of the machining hall, where engine blocks are ground, cut and honed, together with machining of cylinder heads and crankshafts. This is followed by the assembly of the engines by robots. The tour also includes an explanation of the factory’s advanced recycling processes, its energy generation methods and rainwater harvesting. Refreshments included. 

Price: £39 (children £30) 

When: Twice daily, Monday to Friday 

How long: Three hours

Where: Jaguar Land Rover Engine Manufacturing Centre, i54 Business Park, Innovations Drive, Coven, Wolverhampton, WV9 5GB 


Tour includes: Guided tour of the aluminium press shop, rivet-bond body assembly area, paint shop and final assembly line, including vehicle start-up. Finishes with the Range Rover Story Exhibition. 

Price: £49 (children £39). Taster tour at Halewood £29 

When: Twice daily, Monday to Friday 

How long: Three hours; one-and-a-half-hour taster tour 

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Where: Land Rover, Lode Lane, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 8NW; Halewood Visitor Centre, South Road, Liverpool L24 9PZ 


Tour includes: An introduction to Lotus’s history, followed by the engine and subframe preparation areas, the body bonding process, chassis assembly, final assembly and quality check process. There are also visits to the factory shop and Hethel Store. Refreshments provided.

Price: £49 

When: Monday and Wednesday 

How long: Three hours 

Where: See Lotus website for details 


Price: £19 (concessions £16); guided tour for 15 £220; extended tour for 15 £320 

When: Two or three times daily, Monday to Friday 

How long: Two hours 

Where: Mini Plant Oxford, Eastern By-Pass Road, Oxford, OX4 6NL 


Tour includes: Gravity provides the assembly line movement here, as the factory is built on a hill. Wood, aluminium and leather are a Morgan’s main ingredients, and the tour starts in the aluminium shop that constructs the chassis. You’ll also see (and smell) the wood shop, the tin shop that forms the exterior panels, the trim shop and the final inspection area. 

Price: £22.50 (children £11.50) 

When: Monday, Thursday, Friday mornings 

How long: Two hours

Where: Morgan Motor Company, Spring Lane, Malvern Link, Worcestershire WR14 1AJ 


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Price: na

When: There are no regular organised tours, but there are usually a couple of open days that the public can attend. Details of these can be found on Rolls-Royce’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

How long: Two hours, but they can be longer for those with a particular interest.

Where: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, The Drive, Westhampnett, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0SH 

Contact: Check the Rolls-Royce Facebook (

Price: Free, but donations of £10-£15 are encouraged for the Toyota Manufacturing UK Charitable Trust and Air Ambulance. 

When: Tuesday and Thursday mornings 

How long: Three hours 

Where: Vehicle plant: Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, Burnaston, Derby, DE1 9TA (use DE65 6DX for sat-nav); Engine plant: Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, Deeside Industrial Park, Tenth Avenue, Deeside, CH5 2TW 


Tour includes: The bodyshop, where robots handle and weld panels to create the two bodystyles, followed by a viewing of the extensive general assembly areas. Refreshments provided. 

Price: Free, but tours are currently only being provided for fleet customers and marketing invitees. That may change, so it’s worth checking. 

When: Once weekly on a Wednesday morning. Extensive walking involved. Minimum age 12. Maximum of 12 guests per tour. 

How long: Two-and-a-half hours, 9.30am-12.00pm 

Where: Gate 10/Reception, Vauxhall Motors Limited, North Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 1AL 


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Add a comment…
yvesferrer 29 December 2018

Taking the biscuit!

Aston Martin are charging £4K+ for a 3-day tour?

Would they please tell us how many takers there have been in 2018?

And I bet that buyers get the tours for free...

Yeah, right...

autoindustryinsider 29 December 2018

An ideal present for your Hard Brexit loving friends

Better still, go with them and make sure they listen to the tour guide's answer on what a Hard Brexit would do for the complex supply chains that support these plants.

TBC 29 December 2018


I wonder if TVR will offer factory tours once production is up and running?