micbinks - UK holiday, leisure & tourist attraction images

UK Tourist & Leisure Attractions: Tank Museum

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Bovington Tank Museum, Dorset - August 2007

Ever fancied yourself as a tank driver?  We did, so headed to the awesome Tank Museum at Bovington in Dorset to take a tour of the vast collection of historic battle tanks and other military vehicles.  And we did get to go in a bone shaking armoured tracked vehicle on a rough piece of testing ground!
 

Dorset's Bovington Tank Museum entrance
Bovington Tank Museum was undergoing a makeover at the time of our visit and so this was the uninspiring temporary entrance.  Never mind, there's some 300 tanks and tracked vehicles to see in there!

Some early era tanks at Bovington Tank Museum
Our entrance to the Dorset Tank Museum cost a reasonable 10 and we headed first to the inter-war section.  To the right is a 1920 Rolls Royce based armoured car, apparently still running.

A Mk II tank at the Tank Museum, Bovington in Dorset
Here's a Mark II tank, one that was actually used during WWl and complete with battle scars.  The tank door was wide open, so we ventured inside...

Inside the Mk ll tank at Bovington
...and saw just how cramped it was.  The engine was in the middle of the tank so it must have been a very hot and noisy environment during battle.

Conditions inside a Mk V tank at the tank museum
Now a look inside a slightly later Mark V tank.  Again the conditions looked rather uncomfortable, these two battle hardened guys were wearing crude masks and sitting right next to the engine!

The Trench Experience at the tank museum in Dorset
Bovington Tank Museum has a trenches exhibition, depicting the harsh life of battle during WWI.  Strangely, this part was ignored on the tank museum's website so it may be a new exhibit.

Gauntlet restaurant at Bovington Tank Museum, Dorset
After looking round the fascinating first world war tanks it was time for lunch in the museum's Gauntlet restaurant, overlooked by some very awesome looking military machinery.  Better behave then, or we may get blasted out of Dorset by those big guns!

Chieftain tank and others down below at Bovington Tank Museum
Here's Belinda carefully framing up an elevated shot of the famous Chieftain tank below from the balcony above.  The Chieftain was the main battle tank in service during the 70s and 80s.  You can just see the tank museum's restaurant area to the right.

The Chieftain Mk12 at the tank museum
Our dramatic photo of the Chieftain Mk 12 tank.  Wouldn't like to be stuck in its path!

Learning about armour thickness with the interactive displays at Bovington
Mike just cannot resist trying out all the knobs, buttons and levers on the interactive exhibits.  Here he learnt all about the thickness and types of tank armour through the ages.  Bovington Tank Museum's website and other military ones are in our UK tourist resources.

Lots of tanks at Bovington Tank Museum!
There were, er, a lot of tanks and we took, er, a lot of pictures at Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset.

Bovington Tank Museum: the Scandinavian snow cat
Here's a Scandinavian built tracked vehicle that proved its worth during the Falklands war.

Bovington Tank Museum: cut-away tank showing life inside during battle
This was an interesting exhibit, a chopped-in-half Centurion tank accompanied by a captivating audio-visual film that vividly demonstrated battle action from a tank crewman's perspective.  There's almost 150 tanks and tracked military vehicles...

Bovington Tank Museum: King Tiger painted in desert colours
...in the tank museum, most of which looked frighteningly mean and menacing close up.  Now, one of these bad boys would pound through the early morning rush-hour traffic no problem!  It's the German King Tiger (or Tiger II), looking great in desert livery.

Filming the tanks at Dorset's Bovington Tank Museum
We also shot some video with our little video camera, here in the museum's post war years area.  But we really needed a wide angle lens to get it all in.

The Tiger Tank section at Bovington Tank Museum
There's a large section on the historic Tiger Tank at Dorset's Bovington Tank Museum.  Seen here is the restored Tiger 131 - battle-ready again.  Oo-er!

Bovington Tank Museum: Sherman DUKW amphibious vehicle
Now this is the famous six wheel drive Sherman DUKW amphibious vehicle used to take troops ashore during the D-Day landings.

Bovington Tank Museum: building tanks out of plastic parts kits
Among a number of live demonstrations was this section with enthusiasts building model tanks out of plastic kits!  Well, whatever floats your boat.

Climbing aboard the M548 tracked vehicle at Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset
Bovington Tank Museum has a bumpy tank arena with tanks taking part in mock battles (unfortunately we managed to miss it due to the poor promotion announcements).  But we did take this armoured vehicle ride in a M548 tracked vehicle!  Although...

M548 tracked vehicle in action at Bovington Tank Museum
...very noisy and dusty, the rough ride in the M548 was pretty disappointing.  All it did was two circuits of the arena, missing out the exciting larger mound and water feature.  We came away wondering 'is that it?'.  Definitely not worth the 3 cost.

Our other military related visits include Dorset's Royal Signals Museum, Imperial War Museum, Fleet Air Arm Museum, Duxford and RAF Museum.