micbinks - UK holiday, leisure & tourist attraction images

UK Tourist & Leisure Attractions - RAF Museum

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

RAF Museum Hendon, aviation and aircraft collection - August 2006

Figuring it was high time we toured some of the country's fascinating military related heritage attractions we headed off to visit the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon in North London.  The RAF Museum has over 200 combat aircraft plus engines, vehicles, weapons and other military aviation related hardware on display, including the Enigma coding machine in the Battle of Britain Hall where we enjoyed a gripping guided tour.  Entrance to the RAF Museum is free.

 

RAF Museum, Hendon: entrance with a Spitfire and Hurricane
Fittingly there were a couple of iconic WWII fighter aircraft to greet visitors at the entrance to the RAF Museum in Hendon, the famous Spitfire and Hurricane.  These examples never saw active service though as they were made of plastic!

The aircraft in the Milestones of Flight Hall at the Royal Air Force Museum
The military museum is spread over multiple halls and hangers.  The first one we entered was the awesome Milestones of Flight Hall, with quite a mixture of aircraft from different eras, some of which were suspended from above as if in flight.  We found...

Harrier jump jet in the Milestones of Flight Hall
...it difficult to get back far enough to get all the larger aircraft in the frame sometimes, here's our effort with the Harrier GR3 jump jet, held aloft.

Interactive display at Hendon's RAF Museum
The interactive displays dotted around the Milestones of Flight Hall helpfully identified the exhibits as demonstrated by these visitors to the RAF Museum.

RAF Museum: aviation history timeline in the Milestones of Flight Hall
Here's the engrossing picture wall Timeline at Hendon's RAF Museum which contained a complete history of aviation from 1900 to 2004, year by year.

Wellington bomber in the Bomber Hall at the RAF Museum, Hendon
Next up was the Bomber Hall and this Wellington bomber dominated the scene as we entered.  Can you spot the airman up the ladder checking the engine?

RAF Museum Bomber Hall: B24 Liberator
The B24 Liberator was an aircraft used mainly by RAF bomber squadrons in the Middle East and Far East.  This exquisite example was from the Indian Air Force.

B17 Flying Fortress in the Bomber Hall at Hendon
This is a B17 Flying Fortress, mainly used by the Americans in Europe and the Pacific, with 200 being used by the RAF.  Now, where's Belinda got to...

Air crew boarding the B17, RAF Museum Hendon
At the rear of the colourful B17 was a mock up of the American air crew boarding for a flight, you can just see a hunky military guy scrambling in the door.  Huh...  Who's that?  Come out of there Belinda!

The Lancaster bomber at Hendon's RAF Museum
Now here's the famous Lancaster bomber displayed in the RAF Museum's Bomber Hall, one of 7377 of these aircraft that were built.  We learnt Lancasters averaged twenty-one missions before being lost.

RAF Museum: Tornado GR1A used in the 1991 Gulf War
Onto the Historic Hangers section at the Hendon RAF Museum, this actual BAe Tornado GR1A was used in Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War in 1991.  Helicopters were also displayed in this area.

Phantom FGR2 interceptor fighter in the Historic Hangers at Hendon
After World War Two the McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2 was used as interceptor fighters over UK air-space for a while.  After the impressive Historic Hangers we moved on to...

WWII scene of devastation, Battle of Britain Hall, RAF Museum
...the guided tour of the Battle of Britain Hall at Hendon and here's a scene depicting an area where a devastating bomb has hit during WWII.

Radar development in the Battle of Britain Hall at the RAF Museum
Here's our knowledgeable RAF Museum guide telling us all about radar development during the Second World War, after which we found out all about...

An Enigma machine on display at the RAF Museum
...the clever German Enigma cipher machine, used to encrypt secret messages during WWII.  It used a number of rotors to produce continually changing text but British code breakers at Bletchley Park famously managed to crack the code and shorten the war.

Spitfire in the Battle of Britain collection
This is the iconic Spitfire (Mk I) in the Battle of Britain collection at Hendon which also contained enemy aircraft.  The highlight of our RAF Museum visit was the superb 'Our Finest Hour' audio visual presentation that brought the Battle of Britain vividly to life.

Sunderland MR5 flying boat at the RAF Museum, Hendon
Finally at Hendon's RAF Museum we admired the massive Sunderland MR5 flying boat.  It was used in front line service for over 20 years, 749 were built and after WWII they were used to shift 4847 tons of freight during the mammoth Berlin Airlift operation.

The RAF Museum website is in our UK tourist resources.

Inside the Sunderland
Here's the view inside the Sunderland, which was the last flying-boat operated by the Royal Air Force.

Well, you've probably gathered we enjoyed a brilliant day out at London's RAF Museum in Hendon, which has free admission!

Other military related attractions visited include: Royal Signals Museum, Chatham Dockyard, Duxford, Imperial War Museum,
Britain at War and Bovington Tank Museum.