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London to Brighton Mini Run is a lovely event that took place on the 20-21 May 2017. It is an event that is held annually since 1985 and is organised by the London & Surrey Mini Owners Club. The run starts from Crystal Palace Park in London on Sunday at 8:30 am. The cars usually gather in Crystal Palace on the Saturday afternoon before the actual day of the Mini Run.
We were lucky enough to find out about this event on Friday so we were able to go and have a look on Saturday. Crystal Palace Park is pretty big and we weren’t sure exactly where the camping site is, so we followed 3 Minis on the road as we thought they should be there for the Mini Run. And we were right. This is how we found that the entrance to the camping site is on Anerley Hill, going downhill, first on the left after Crystal Palace Museum.
After parking the car in the public car park (as we don’t have a Mini and therefore didn’t have a ticket for the camping site either), we headed “to see what we could see, see, see” (yeap, we have been listening to many nursery rhymes in the recent years). And the first thing we got to was this:
A race track, 8 Mini cars, 9 steering wheels with speed and brake pedals and the fun is guaranteed. The race system is created by The Racing Bug and it is madness! My son wanted to drive, then my husband wanted to give it a try, and then I got behind the wheel too. We managed to actually go and see the real Minis only after planning to come back to the racing track as soon as possible. Should I say we had a hard time leaving the place after two hours?
So, when we took a break from driving to go and see the real Minis, this is how the campsite looked.
We loved the mix of Mini cars and tents, and the atmosphere was nice, relaxing, peaceful, and friendly. I remembered holidays spent on camping sites, weekends sleeping in a tent on the beach during the night, weeks spent in the mountains… I can hardly wait to go camping with the kids, I think it will be pretty exciting to spend the night in a tent, all 4 of us! Meanwhile, we enjoyed the view we found in Crystal Palace Park.
Some of the cars had their bonnets lifted and my son was looking very curious at what the engine and all that looked like, while my daughter was pointing with her index finger “What’s that?”.
The logo below drew my attention as I am not sure I have ever seen it before. After getting home, I searched and found that this is the first Mini logo, from 1969. It’s so different from the current one, isn’t it?
The car below intrigued me as, even if I am not interested in cars, I knew this much: Mini is not an Italian car. Therefore, I once again searched the internet and learned that in 1969 the movie called “The Italian Job” had training sessions shown for the Mini drivers at the Crystal Palace race track (in Crystal Palace Park).
The walk through the cars and tents was fun for us but also for the kids, and they both loved to discover elements like the ones in the photos below.
The red car in the photo below is a modified Mini from Brooklands Museum, a place where we haven’t yet managed to go, but it is on our “must visit” list as it is highly recommended by a friend of ours.
The car below had a special front door window, with a smaller round window that could be opened or closed without opening/closing the door window. The kids were curious about it.
The sign below was on a Mini and the kids showed it to us. My son, with his index finger, was explaining: “This is a dragon, and this is a wing”. Nice way of seeing things, don’t you think? Meanwhile, my daughter was pointing to the logo and saying “BMW! It’s a BMW!” (she is interested in cars and their logos lately). Sorry, owner of this car and created of this image, for these interpretations of this drawing! If it matters, we got the point 😉
All this was on Saturday. On Sunday all the cars left and headed to Brighton where I understand they were parked on Madeira Drive. That must have been a lovely view too, so maybe next year we will see this event on the other side of the route.