This article is about the RAF Royal Air Force Museum London. A review, photos and video tour of this fascinating slice of airborne history and battles
Watch my video tour with review, commentary and observations:
There are 3 RAF Museums in the UK. Two are open to public. RAF Cosford in the West Midlands, housing a huge collection including captured enemy aircraft, and this one in Colindale North of London.
Like most museums in the UK, entry is free.
Milestones of Flight Hall
The Milestones of Flight Hall features 3 main areas. First is the Pioneers Terrace. Suspended from the ceiling are significant and pioneering planes. You will see planes ranging from the early 1900s through to the Eurofighter which is 100 years older than many of the planes surrounding it. Many of the planes look rickety, and dangerous by comparison.
Each of the planes in the Milestones of Flight Hall has a story about its significance in the development of flight, and flying combat. Each has an information board explaining its background and history.
The hall was opened to the public on 17 December 2003. Exactly a century after the Wright Brothers made the world’s first powered flight. There is a huge History Timeline Wall is dedicated to the major steps in aviation since then.
Downstairs the Royal Force Today section has a Typhoon, Mustang and a German Messerschmitt – the 1st jet fighter used in battle.
This small Eurofighter flight simulator ride is available to experience jet fighter flight for the adventerous. The Milestones of Flight Hall, celebrating a century of innovation is an impressive hall. Though more even more impressive collection unfolds through the next series of halls.
The Bomber Hall
The Bomber Hall is a much more somber and dark hall. It houses the large, lumbering bomber planes, and their bombs. Bombers on display include a Buccaneer, Vulcan, burnt out bombers and the massive, famous and prized Lancaster Bomber.
The Historic Hangers are listed buildings, part of the old Hendon aerodrome. Areas include “Wings Over Water”, “Whirling Rotors” (the Royal Family Westland Wessex helicopter used to ferry the royal family around for 20 years, and regularly flown and landed here by the Duke of Edinburgh himself, holds pride of place. Dotted around it are a multitude of helicopters of all shapes, sizes and uses. The other areas in the Historic Hangers are Fighters, Jets and RAF Overseas.
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain Hall tells the story of the Second World War. A series of exhibits shows the major players and scenes of life in the run up to the war to set the scene for the hall that follows. It includes an animated Winston Churchill giving one of his famous war speeches.
In addition to a display of war rooms and planes supporting the Allied Forces convoys and those searching for the submarines attacking the allied supply fleets. There is also an audio visual presentation about the Battle and huge bombing by the German Forces of London including a large statute and memorial to the men involved.
Finally, of course, there is the inevitable Museum Gift Shop. Stocked with RAF themed gifts, souvenirs and momentos.
The RAF Museum London is huge. Over 100 planes, a real must for any fan of history and aviation
- Official RAF Museum Website
- All photos I took of the RAF Royal Air Force Museum
- Duxford Air Museum Cambridge
- Helicopter Museum, England
You can buy and download this article and guide (along with others from Tips For Travellers) as a SmartPhone App with GPSmyCity