ALadyofLeisure.com Brooklands track Mercedes driving experience 2

Speed and saunas in a day at the Mercedes driving experience at Brooklands

Driving full-pelt towards a solid-looking wall is both terrifying and exhilarating but that’s exactly what you get from a day at the Mercedes driving experience at Brooklands in Surrey.

map of racing circuit at Brooklands Surrey
A map showing what you can expect from trying the Mercedes-Benz experience at the world-famous motor-racing circuit at Brooklands, Surrey

With my pedal to the floor I could see the speedometer sweep up past 60, 65, 70 miles per hour and yet my instructor was yet to tell me to brake. What was he waiting for? Just as it seemed we were about to slam into the wall and end our lesson – and lives – prematurely – he finally said: ‘Brake!’ and I slammed on the brakes with all my force. The car immediately – and it seemed, magically –  slowed to a halt with none of the screeching, fishtailing or general chaos I was expecting and in plenty of time to drive smoothly around the wall obstacle. What had I been so terrified of?

‘Let’s do it again!’ I shouted, giddy with adrenaline. So we did.

The view of the famous Brooklands motor-racing circuit from the Brooklands Hote
The view of the famous Brooklands motor-racing circuit from the Brooklands Hotel which faces the track and which you’ll get to know well during your Mercedes driving experience at Brooklands

I had wanted to do the Mercedes-Benz driving experience at Brooklands track in Surrey ever since I had enjoyed a stay in the Brooklands Hotel just next to the circuit. The roar of engines and sight of cars zooming and skidding around the track had looked like great fun, and given the opportunity to return to Brooklands Hotel and try out the driving experience for myself, had jumped at the chance.

driving experience at Mercedes
Thankfully I just about made the cut… there are Mercedes-Benz driving experiences for children as well which are very popular

There are 25 different Mercedes-Benz driving experience options on offer and I chose one which combined off-road driving with the fast track, called the Best of Both Track vs Off-Road 1 Hour Experience. The check-in at Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands was very smooth and in just a few minutes I’d been signed in and met my instructor for the hour, Gareth.

My instructor, Gareth,
My instructor, Gareth, was very calm and informative, exactly what you need from a driving instructor

We headed straight for the off-road circuit and climbed into a Mercedes-Benz GLE250 which was vast compared to my own Fiat 500 and packed all sorts of punch thanks to its four-cylinder twin-turbo engine.  Driving around the 10-acre circuit with its axle-twisting hills, dips, puddles and foliage reminded me of the Jeeps in Jurassic Park (without the T Rex, of course) and one point seemed just as terrifying as I drove down the ‘ski jump’ near-vertical drop. Gareth pressed a few buttons to show off the GLE’s automatic braking but it still felt like a leap of faith to drive out into thin air.

off-road experience with Mercedes-Benz Brooklands
At the wheel of the Mercedes GLE250 and trying to look as if I know what I’m doing

It was soon time for more nerve-jangling as we swapped the GLE for a Mercedes-AMG 43 and the sheer fun of driving at speed round the fast circuit was hard to beat, especially once I’d gone round a few times and worked out where to floor it and when to ease off the gas. Trying for the smoothest, fastest lap became a target to aim for each time and was so absorbing that I could have done it for hours, whooping with delight when the car felt as if it were about to take flight.

day at the Mercedes driving experience at Brooklands in Surrey
What you can expect to do during a day at the Mercedes driving experience at Brooklands in Surrey

Under Gareth’s calm tuition I tried out all aspects of the track – the handling circuits, wet straight and ‘dynamic straight’ (the ‘driving very fast towards a wall’ bit) and ended up trying to master the art of the skid which was great fun but scrambled my brain trying to work out which way to turn.

racing car at the Mercedes driving experience
My racing car at the Mercedes driving experience

The hour flew past but was such fun that a day at the Mercedes driving experience at Brooklands in Surrey is guaranteed to put you on a high for the rest of your stay and meant I practically floated out off the track and into the Brooklands Hotel which was my home for the night.

The Brooklands Hotel is a four-star, 131 bedroom art deco-style hotel built on the site of the original Brooklands racetrack. Opened in 1907, the Brooklands track was the scene of the earliest motor-racing in the UK during the 1920s and 1930s (remember those racing scenes in Downton Abbey? They were filmed at Brooklands). While the original track closed in 1939, guests at the hotel have a great view of cars zooming round the Mercedes-Benz track which is at the front of the hotel.

Brooklands Hotel Weybridge
The Brooklands Hotel in Weybridge is right next to the famous motor-racing circuit
drink of Brooklands Goldstar from the nearby Hogs Back Brewery
A much-need restorative drink of Brooklands Goldstar

First things first and we headed straight to the bar for an appropriate drink of Brooklands Goldstar ale – recommended by the exuberant Italian waiter – to recover from the adrenaline rush of the driving lesson. Then it was time to check into our room before heading off to the spa to get thoroughly pampered.

We had been allocated a ‘track-facing super suite’ and ours was the Noel Pope suite, named after the motorcyclist who recorded a mind-boggling 124.5 mph lap of the Brooklands circuit in 1939.

Our super-suite hotel bedroom
Noel Pope suite Brooklands hotel
Our tracking-facing super-suite, the Noel Pope suite at Brooklands Hotel

It was vast, with a lounge area  containing a large sofa, dining table and chairs, a separate area with a desk and fitted wardrobes, and the bedroom itself, of which was a large and smart bathroom. A balcony ran the length of the room and provided great views of the track we had just been zooming around.

To book directly with the hotel, go to: Brooklands Hotel
To compare prices for Brooklands Hotel click on: Trivago 
HotelsCombined – Booking.com
To read more reviews and get the latest prices click here to go
to Brooklands Hotel on TripAdvisor

Noel Pope suite Brooklands hotel
The suite had a large lounge with sofa, desk, dining table and plenty of wardrobe space
The spa experience at Brooklands

The spa at Brooklands Hotel is handily located in the hotel itself and had been expanded since my last visit, including a larger hot tub on the outside terrace – again, providing great views of the Brooklands racing circuit – and a delightfully-womb-like indoor meditation room with heated waterbeds. There are a whole range of spa treatments at Bspa including massages, facials, scrubs and body brushing, as well as beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures, eyelash tint and eyebrow shaping.

The balcony at the spa at Brooklands hotel – the hot tub has recently been changed to a much larger jacuzzi
Sunlight therapy room at Brooklands Hotel
sunlight therapy room at Brooklands Hotel
Enjoying the ‘sunshine’ in the sunlight therapy room at Brooklands Hotel

The newest addition is the Sunlight Therapy Room which uses ‘sunlight’ simulators’ to replicate natural sunlight and, according to the brochure, has all sorts of benefits including increased blood circulation, relaxes muscle tension, stronger immune system and an increase in energy. We were given a half-hour slot and arrived with sunglasses at the ready (although there are sunglasses to borrow if you’ve forgotten yours).

The loungers in the sunlight therapy room at Brooklands Hotel

It was like being at an indoor beach, with bright sunshine, plastic loungers and lots of magazines to read, and while I’m not sure about any longer-lasting effects, I certainly enjoyed the experience and felt very relaxed afterwards while catching some actual sunlight on the balcony loungers.

Dining at Brooklands Hotel
The 1907 restaurant at Brooklands hotel

The high-speed racing track experience and the afternoon spa pampering had worked up an appetite so it was time to head to the 1907 restaurant. I remembered the food being good from my last trip to Brooklands and thankfully it remained so, with everything from the hummus and soup starters, to the whole-baked sea bass papillote and ribeye steak full of flavour.

The bar at Brooklands Hotel does excellent cocktails
hummus starter at 1907 restaurant Brooklands hotel
The generous hummus starter at 1907 restaurant at Brooklands hotel
My ribeye steak was full of flavour

Judging by the packed restaurant we weren’t the only ones enjoying the 1907 service and we even treated ourselves to a white chocolate and rhubarb souffle and passionfruit cheesecake, followed by a couple of excellent Old Fashioned cocktails at the well-stocked bar before heading to bed.

Breakfast at 1907 is a more informal affair, with a buffet-style breakfast, but at least that meant more time at the spa and some more hours of sunbathing before hitting the road again – this time back in my Fiat 500 rather than a top-of-the-range Mercedes. However with me I now had a memory stick with my driving experience recorded for posterity, in case the adrenaline from that blood-pumping experience should ever fade.

A classic car from the Mercedes-Benz World museum

Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience, Brooklands, Weybridge, Surrey.

Check website for lessons, bookings, special offers and how to find it. My Best of Both Track vs Off-Road 1 Hour Experience costs £180 for 60 minutes. 

Brooklands Hotel, Brooklands Track, Weybridge, Surrey  KT13 0SL
01932 335700
info@brooklandshotelsurrey.com

To book directly with the hotel, go to: Brooklands Hotel
To compare prices for Brooklands Hotel click on: Trivago 
HotelsCombined – Booking.com
To read more reviews and get the latest prices click here to go
to Brooklands Hotel on TripAdvisor

If you liked this review of Brooklands hotel and the Mercedes-Benz driving experience then check out these reviews:

Bond, Bridget and me: my stay at Stoke Park luxury hotel

Kesgrave Hall hotel Suffolk: a friendly, lively, fun, quirky hotel stay

Ellenborough Park: the perfect place for a day at the races

 

 

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Sarah Bridge

Every review is personally researched and written by me, Sarah Bridge, who, when I'm not writing about leisure for a national newspaper, spends my time seeking out the best leisure experiences, from city centre boutique hotels to country house estates, Michelin-starred dining to the newest openings. Some of the links on my reviews are affiliate marketing links, which means if you click through I get a small commission if you end up buying on these sites. This in no way affects the independence of my reviews, but helps with website running costs and I just wanted to let you know so as to be fully transparent.
Sarah Bridge

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