If you’re looking for something a bit different that the whole family can enjoy, then head out to the RAF Museum at Cosford.
The museum has been open since 1972, however it only housed
36 aircraft at that time. Today, it has
doubled in size, and includes everything from weapons and engines to aircraft
The first thing you encounter at the museum are the old uniforms on display in the main entrance building. They give you an insight into what life was like in the armed forces, and there is plenty of information to read alongside the exhibits to allow you to step inside the past.
After walking through the main building, you then exit outside to see some old aircraft which are now stored on a grassed area, including a Nimrod R.1. These really are an amazing sight to see, and provide the chance to get up close and personal with the aircraft.
After walking through this area, you then arrive in the test flight hangar. A lot of the exhibits in this hangar were initially produced in secret, often utilising components borrowed from other types of aircraft. These planes were developed before the advent of flight simulators or computers, so they had to rely on highly trained pilots to test them, often with tragic consequences. However, these developments eventually led to creation of well known aircraft such as the Vulcan and Concorde.
The next hangar you enter houses the War in the Air exhibition. Featuring many planes from wars such as WWI & II to present day, there is an impressive collection of both Allied planes and enemy bombers. There is certainly a lot to take in here, and you can definitely feel the past come to life in this area with the many different vehicles on display, each with their own unique story.
Next up is the National Cold War Exhibition. Opened in 2007 by HRH Princess Anne, this landmark building is unique in its design alone, and has already won many awards and accolades. Inside this impressive building is a breathtaking display of aircraft, tanks, models and memorabilia from the Cold War era. There is also a strong commitment to educate and inform present and future generations about the severe threat posed to world security and peace during a large part of the 20th century.
The final hangar of the museum is Hangar 1 which contains a collection of transport and communications aircraft. It all houses some of the largest and smallest machines flown by the RAF, however some are also displayed in other, more appropriate areas of the museum.
The whole tour takes around 2 hours, but could easily be longer if you wanted to make a day of it. It's great for the whole family, and there are plenty of benches around in all the hangars so that children or those with limited mobility can rest, but still take everything in. There is also a large café in the main building, as well as a more intimate one in the Cold War Exhibition which offer the chance to take a break in an incredible setting.
As well as the museum, RAF Cosford also hosts many events throughout the year. They host the annual Air Show every June, which attracts thousands of visitors from across the country, as well as events such as food festivals, model aircraft rallies amongst many others. There really is something for everyone at this museum.
For more information, visit the RAF Museum Cosford website.
By Victoria Harris