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Aviation museums


IWM Duxford

Imperial War Museum Duxford is a branch of the Imperial War Museum near Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England. Britain's largest air museum, Duxford houses the museum's large exhibits, including nearly 200 aircraft, military vehicles, artillery and smaller naval vessels in seven main exhibition buildings. This site also provides storage space for the museum's other collections of material such as film, photographs, documents , books and artifacts. There are also museum materials of the British Army, including an airborne regiment (named Airborne Assault) and the Royal English Regiment.

Historic Duxford Airport was originally operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) on this site during the First World War. During World War II, Duxford played a significant role during the Battle of Britain and was later used by US Army Air Forces fighter units to support the daylight bombing of Germany. Duxford remained an active RAF airfield until 1961. After the Ministry of Defense declared the site redundant in 1969, the Royal War Museum was given permission to use part of the site for storage. The entire collections were transferred to the museum in February 1976.

In keeping with the history of the site, many of Duxford's original buildings, such as the hangars used during the Battle of Britain, are still in use. Many of these buildings have special architectural or historical significance and more than thirty of them have been restored to their original state. Duxford "retains the best-preserved technical structure [of the historic airfield since November 1918" and is "remarkably well-preserved".


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IWM Duxford


CB22 4QR


020 7416 5000

Opening hours

Mon - Sun

10:00 am – 6:00 pm


Brooklands Museum

The most famous and probably the most sought after exhibit in the aviation section of the Brooklands Museum collections is of course Concorde, the king of the skies. However, it is far from the only exceptional exhibit. The museum's collections document the development of this type of transport from its inception to the present day. It occupies an important place in the history of aviation. One of the first airports was located near it, airplanes were manufactured here and test flights of many known types of aircraft were conducted here.

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De Havilland Aircraft Museum

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum, formerly the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, is a volunteer-run aviation museum in London Colney, Hertfordshire, England.

The collection is built around the definitive prototype and restoration shops for the de Havilland Mosquito and also includes several examples of the de Havilland Vampire – the third operational jet aircraft in the world. The museum is the largest such museum devoted to one manufacturer in the country.
The supporters' society has been responsible for the restoration and conservation of many of the exhibits, starting with the Chipmunk in 1978, an airframe which was subsequently restored by members once more between 2003 and 2007. The supporters were also active in building a hangar to house the ex-Liverpool Mosquito in 1980, and then completely restoring the aircraft, a task they completed in 1990. The supporters' society has also been responsible for work on a Tiger Moth, Hornet Moth, Mosquito 6, Heron, Dove, several Vampires and many other aircraft in the collection.

In 2001, it was recognised that the prototype Mosquito was in dire need of conservation work. This work was supported by BAE Systems and the Heritage Lottery fund. The prototype Mosquito restoration was completed in December 2015 almost to the minute of its 75th anniversary. It is now on display with the other two Mosquitos in the Walter Goldsmith Hangar.

In January 2016 the museum opened a new hangar initially named the Geoffrey de Havilland Hangar. This hangar was later renamed the Amy Johnson Hangar when the new hangar opened and is now used for workshops where the public can see the volunteers working on museum projects.

The museum opened the new Sir Geoffrey de Havilland Hangar in February 2020

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The de Havilland Aircraft Museum

Salisbury Hall

London Colney

St Albans



01727 826400

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Gatwick Aviation Museum

Originally started in 1987 as a private collection by local businessman Peter Vallance, the museum became a registered charity in 1999 with the objective of providing awareness of local aviation history and as an educational centre for the general public, particularly for local students and schoolchildren. A close relationship exists between the museum and the Central Sussex College which uses the museum's facilities to provide practical training for the students taking aerospace courses.

The museum has a varied collection of aircraft, aircraft engines and over 500 aircraft models. The museum also has displays and artefacts related to local aviation history particularly Gatwick Airport. Subject to serviceability, certain aircraft including the Avro Shackleton MR3, Blackburn Buccaneer S1, English Electric Lightning F.53 and Percival Sea Prince can are usually capable of performing engine runs for visitors on special event days.
The museum had been in dispute since July 2011 with Mole Valley District Council concerning planning permission, as, despite its co-location with Gatwick Airport, the council refused permission for a permanent museum site due to a concern over the height of the proposed new building and the location within the Metropolitan Green Belt. Vallance lodged a planning appeal against the decision in January 2012,which was dismissed in June of that year. On 14 January 2013, Vallance died during heart surgery but since then, the museum has been run by a charitable trust set up by Vallance to cover this eventuality and the museum's planning permission was approved in 2015.
In 2016, the new museum building first opened to the public.[clarification needed] It houses many aircraft formerly kept outdoors although others in the collection, including some noteworthy examples, were disposed of by the trust in 2013. A shop, refreshment area, flight simulator and information on the history of Gatwick Airport can also be found in the building. The museum is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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Vallance By-Ways

Lowfield Heath Road





01293 862 294

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RAF Museum London

The Royal Air Force Museum London (also commonly known as the RAF Museum) is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome, in North London's Borough of Barnet. It includes five buildings and hangars showing the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force. It is part of the Royal Air Force Museum.
There is another site at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford at RAF Cosford in Shropshire.
The Royal Air Force Museum London is displayed over six hangars.
Hangar 1, RAF Stories and First to the Future
Two exhibitions, RAF Stories and RAF First to the Future, opened in 2018 to commemorate the RAF centenary:
RAF Stories, The First 100 years 1918–2018 of the RAF. This exhibition observes the RAF's first 100 years, from its creation in 1918 as the world's first independent air force. It explores the different roles of the people of the RAF, alongside the changes in technology.
Hangar 1 forms the main point of entry to the museum.
Hangar 2, the Grahame-White Factory
Hangar 2, Grahame-White Factory interior, Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a in the foreground, FE.2b, Sopwith Camel and Fokker D.VII suspended from the ceiling
Also known as the Grahame-White Factory shows the earliest days of flight on the site of The London Aerodrome, through to the formation of the independent Royal Air Force in 1918.
Hangars 3 and 4, The Historic Hangars
These hangars focus on the aircraft of the Second World War and the Cold War. It includes original Battle of Britain fighter aircraft: the Hawker Hurricane, Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Supermarine Spitfire; helicopters, and some Cold War jet aircraft.
Hangar 5, the Bomber Hall
Battle of Britain: shows the German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka and Heinkel He 111 bombers which were types used during the Battle of Britain.
Junkers Ju 87 Stuka on display in the Bomber Hall as part of the Battle of Britain exhibition
Hangar 6, RAF in an Age of Uncertainty
The RAF from 1980 to the 21st century.

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RAF Museum London,
Graham Park Way,



020 8205 2266

Entrance to the museum is free

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Royal Air Force Museum Cosford

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, located in Cosford in Shropshire, is a free museum dedicated to the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force in particular. The museum is part of the Royal Air Force Museum, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and also a registered charity. The museum is spread over two sites in England; the other site is at the Royal Air Force Museum London at Colindale (near Hendon) in north London.
On 1 May 1979, the Cosford site was opened at RAF Cosford, one of the RAF stations which had been used to store the museum's collection of aircraft. On opening, the museum initially exhibited airframes which had been used for technical training at RAF Cosford. In the following years additional aircraft were added to the collection, and in 1980 it was agreed that the British Airways Collection be displayed at Cosford. On 21 June 1998 four additional galleries were opened, housing art, temporary exhibitions and other aviation subjects. 13 May 2002 saw the relocation of the RAF Museum Conservation Centre from Cardington, Bedfordshire to Cosford. The centre, costing £2.4 million, was opened by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham.
The Cosford site includes several developmental aircraft such as those that led to the English Electric Lightning and the second prototype of the BAC TSR-2. A lot of the aircraft are very rare, such as the only Boulton Paul Defiant in the world and one of only two surviving Vickers Wellingtons left in the world.
The first director of the museum was Dr John Tanner who retired in 1987. In 1988 Dr Michael A Fopp (who had previously directed the London Transport Museum) was appointed and was Director General of all three sites covered by the museum until his retirement in 2010.
The site can be reached by public transport via the neighbouring Cosford railway station on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line.
British Airways collection
In 1980, the Cosford site agreed to house the British Airways Museum collection. In 2006 British Airways withdrew funding from the collection, after which the RAF Museum did not take on the costs of maintaining the aircraft. Several of the jet airliners were subsequently broken up, including the only Boeing 707 that was preserved in the UK, a Vickers VC10 and a Hawker Siddeley Trident.
National Cold War Exhibition
The National Cold War Exhibition opened at Cosford in February 2007. The exhibition houses the museum's V bombers and other Cold War aircraft in a newly constructed 8,000m2 exhibition building designed by architects Fielden Clegg Bradley. The exhibition concept and design was developed by Neal Potter and includes 'silo theatres' which depict, in a variety of media, the key tensions of the Cold War period.

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RAF Museum Midlands,
Lysander Avenue,

TF11 8UP


01902 376 200

Entrance to the museum is free

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Fleet Air Arm Museum

The Fleet Air Arm Museum is devoted to the history of British naval aviation. It has an extensive collection of military and civilian aircraft, aero engines, models of aircraft and Royal Navy ships (especially aircraft carriers), and paintings and drawings related to naval aviation. It is located on RNAS Yeovilton airfield, and the museum has viewing areas where visitors can watch military aircraft (especially helicopters) take off and land. At the entrance to the museum are anchors from HMS Ark Royal and HMS Eagle, fleet carriers which served the Royal Navy until the 1970s. It is located 7 miles (11 km) north of Yeovil, and 40 miles (64 km) south of Bristol.

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RNAS Yeovilton,


BA22 8HT


023 9283 9766

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The Helicopter Museum

The Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, England, is a museum featuring a collection of more than 80 helicopters and autogyros from around the world, both civilian and military. It is based at the southeastern corner of the former Weston-super-Mare Airport and is the largest collection of helicopters in the world.

The museum originated in 1958 when its founder, aviation writer and historian Elfan ap Rees, began to build up a private collection of rotorcraft documentation and artefacts. Over the next ten years his collection grew and in 1969 he acquired his first complete helicopter, a Bristol Sycamore Mk.3.

In 1974, ap Rees purchased a Bristol Belvedere and formed a volunteer group to restore it. In December 1976, an ex Royal Navy Westland Whirlwind HAS Mk.7 was acquired and added to the collection. In 1977 and 1978, more aircraft were added, including an ex Royal Air Force Bristol Sycamore HC Mk.14 and several rare prototypes: the Fairey Ultra-Light tip-jet driven helicopter, the Thruxton Gadfly HDW.1 two-seat autogyro and the Campbell Cougar autogyro.

In 1978, the museum acquired a small area and some buildings on Weston-super-Mare airfield, including a Second World War armoury building and air-raid shelter. The buildings required extensive repair work, but by the summer of 1978 the collection was opened to the public, with nine aircraft and a range of other artefacts on display. The museum was forced to close at the end of the 1979 season, but throughout the 1980s, remains from rare helicopters were added to the collection, often preventing them from being scrapped, including the only remaining major parts of the Fairey Rotodyne. Other aircraft acquired in the 1980s included two more variants of the Westland Whirlwind, a Westland Scout AH Mk.1 and a Westland Wessex.

The museum reopened on a new airfield site in 1988 and volunteers spent the next year restoring old buildings and erecting a new display annexe. On 3 November 1989, the museum was officially opened by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who arrived in a Wessex HC.4 of the Queen's Flight. Since then the museum has grown substantially, erecting new hangarage to put the collection under cover and purchasing its 4.5-acre site outright, with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund and other grants.

Throughout its development, the trustees have been led by ap Rees, who has also been responsible for sourcing and acquiring many rare aircraft for the collection. By 2012, some 45 helicopters and autogyros in the museum qualified for the highest benchmark status in the National Aviation Heritage Register, including a number of sole prototypes and others that were the only examples in the country. The museum continues to restore and display many types of helicopters from various countries and purposes.

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The Helicopter Museum,

Locking Moor Road,


BS24 8PP


Information for visitors and the WEB


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North East Land, Sea and Air Museums

The North East Land, Sea and Air Museums (NELSAM), formerly the North East Aircraft Museum, is a volunteer-run aviation museum situated on the site of the former RAF Usworth/Sunderland Airport, between Washington and Sunderland, in Tyne and Wear, England. The museum has the largest aviation collection between Yorkshire and Scotland and houses over 30 aircraft and a wide collection of aero engines. The museum also has a small collection of other items such as weaponry, vehicles and other historical exhibits.
The museum also has special displays showing a replica of a Second World War British street and one honouring No. 607 Squadron RAF, which was based at RAF Usworth.

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Old Washington Road, Sunderland,

Tyne and Wear,



(+44) 0191 5190662

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The Aeropark has a collection of 27 complete air frames on external display within the park with another 5 aircraft under complete restoration and 4 aircraft sections.
Inside the hanger there are a number of aircraft engines including a Rolls Royce Avon, Rolls Royce Gem, Rolls Royce Spey, Rolls Royce Viper, Bristol Hercules and Gyron Junior, along with a Link Simulator and numerous other aircraft components, photographs etc.
The Aeropark is both an aviation museum and a viewing area where you can study the preserved planes of yesteryear or watch the modern airliners of today taking-off and landing at a growing international passenger and cargo airport.
Within the Aeropark there are two viewing mounds which are just 170 metres north of the main east/west runway of the airport (runway 09 threshold). The mound at the eastern end of the Aeropark is the height of the airport perimeter fence which gives an unrestricted view across the airport perfect for taking photographs.

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East Midlands Aeropark,

Hill Top,

Castle Donnington,


DE74 2PR

01332 850591

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