Considering a trip to Europe? You might want to consider Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey, England. In the two years since its official opening, visitors to the center have taken to the handling circuits to drive the equivalent of 32 times around the Earth, or three times the distance to the Moon.
Over 70,000 motorists have taken to the tracks, one third of whom are under 17 year of age, signing up for a Kids Driving Experience. Meanwhile, the chefs in the Gullwing restaurant have served up over 38,000 dishes. As the UK's largest automotive brand experience center celebrates its second birthday, visitbritain announced that Mercedes-Benz World achieved the country's largest increase in visitor numbers, with a massive 31,6000 guests passing through its doors in 2007 - an increase of 418%. This brings its total visitor numbers to almost 600,000.
These numbers are likely to increase further with the introduction of a corporate driving program, named `Driving for Business', where the handling circuit will enable company car drivers to experience challenging road conditions. Furthermore, the center plans a performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, an AMG exhibition including vehicles and exciting footage and a two-week appearance by the stunning F700 concept car, so visitor numbers shouldn't be slowing.
Mercedes-Benz World has proven a popular choice for business and pleasure alike, hosting over 2450 events - or 100 a month. These range from The Double Twelve: Brooklands Motoring Festival in June (which saw over 15,000 visitors) to specialist car days, general business conferences and live music concerts featuring the likes of Sir Elton John, McFly and Sugababes, which drew over 35,000 visitors.
Next year, The Double Twelve: Brooklands Motoring Festival has been confirmed for 13/14 June 2009, which will be followed a month later by another weekend of concerts by world-famous artists. And looking even further into the future, an on-site hotel is being built by Hillwood Resorts, scheduled to open in Spring 2010. Commenting on the double celebration, Peter O'Halloran, managing director of Mercedes-Benz World, said: "Mercedes-Benz World was never designed simply for car enthusiasts. We wanted the whole family to come along and experience the brand. The blend of heritage, brand attractions and being able to actually get behind the wheel of our cars has proven a very successful formula for a second year running."
The centerpiece to Mercedes-Benz World is the impressive three-storey building which houses an interactive world, immersing visitors in the passion, heritage, values and innovation of the Mercedes-Benz brand.
The building houses several brand attractions to entertain visitors: `Build' - a 3D simulator ride takes you along the production line of a Mercedes-Benz; `Solve' - an interactive problem-solving laboratory; `Watch' - a state-of-the-art theater which starts visitors off on their journey of discovery with fascinating stories of Mercedes-Benz and how it has been at the cutting edge of motoring and motor racing history.
There are also hands-on driving experiences available on the 2.5km Handling Circuit and the UK's only Wet Skid Circle open to the public, while a ten-acre Off-Road terrain course is ideal for those wanting a 4x4 adventure drive.
Mercedes-Benz World is open daily from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day) and admission is free. For more information visit www.mercedes-benzworld.co.uk