Land Rover Experience has offered drives in vehicles from its heritage collection at various sites for some time, but now a fleet of vehicles are permanently based at the former RAF Honiley airfield known as Fen End, which is also home to Jaguar Heritage’s driving experiences. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
During World War Two the sound of V12 Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engines reverberated round the site, with Spitfires and Hurricanes based there. Later on, under Lucas ownership, jet engines were tested there, as were Range Rover prototypes. And, in the early 2000s it was taken over by motorsport firm Prodrive, so V12 racing Aston Martins and Subaru/MINI World Rally Cars would have been regulars on the test track.
The Land Rover Heritage Driving Experiences take place on a compact course through woodland on the circuit’s perimeter, featuring a variety of muddy rutted sections, axle-twisters, steep climbs/descents and a shallow wading trough. It’s not designed to rival pay-and-play sites for ultimate thrills, but intended to show off-roading newbies what Land Rovers can do. And, it’s perfect for that.
LRO was lucky enough to experience a wide range of models on the site, from a Series I 80in and ex-Spencer Wilks Series IIA, to Range Rover Classic LSE, ex-G4 Challenge Discovery 3 TDV6, and our favourite: the 101 Forward Control.
If you’ve never driven a ‘leafer’ you’ll see first-hand how low-down torque and skinny rubber is all you need to have a good time (best of all with the top off), you’ll be mesmerised by the comfort and wheel travel of the Range Rover Classic, and you won’t stop grinning at the V8 rumble and sheer unfamiliarity of the Forward Control. The automatic, Terrain Response-equipped Discovery 3 just makes it all feel far too easy…
Whether you fancy a go yourself, or want to treat a friend or family member, the Land Rover Heritage Driving Experiences are well worth the modest prices. £90 for half an hour in a Forward Control must barely cover the fuel cost, after all…
All packages include an expert instructor, choose from:
Series I, II or III vs Defender (£85)
Drive a Series I, II or III, followed by the vehicle they became – the Defender.
Land Rover Historic Drives (£90)
Drive the vehicles that started the legend, both on and off-road. Choose from an original Series Land Rover, a Range Rover Classic or an ex-military 101 Forward Control.
Range Rover Then & Now (£125)
Compare the Range Rover Classic with its 2015 equivalent, both on and off-road.
Land Rover – The Collection (£250)
Drive all the key models in Land Rover’s history from the 1940s right up to the latest vehicles, including Series Land Rovers, military vehicles, expedition-prepared vehicles and the modern line-up from Defender to Range Rover.
Don’t fancy driving? Land Rover passenger rides with a Land Rover Experience instructor are £40.
And, if Jaguars are your thing, you can combine Land Rover drives with Jaguar drives (£175). Choose from The 1950s (Series I off-road and XK150 on track), The 1960s (Series IIA off-road and E-type on track), or The 1970s (Range Rover Classic off-road and XJ-S on track).
Jaguar-only packages are available too, from passenger rides (£95) to the half-day Le Mans Experience (£750) where you can drive multi-million-pound racing C-type and D-type, plus an XK120 and F-type R Coupé; or the Grace and Pace Experience (£2000) featuring a full day driving nine different models.
See heritagedriving.co.uk for more details on both Land Rover and Jaguar Heritage Driving Experiences, and to book your drives.