Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

Review: Imperial War Museum Duxford is a day out on a grand scale

16:07 14 November 2014

Matilda Dodd, 4, gets hands on with the exhibits

Matilda Dodd, 4, gets hands on with the exhibits

Archant

I had fears we were a little too keen in taking our three small children to the Imperial War Museum Duxford. I knew my husband and I would enjoy it - although we hadn’t visited since our childhood - but I feared that planes and tanks would be lost on tiny attention spans.

The American Air Museum at IWM DuxfordThe American Air Museum at IWM Duxford

How wrong could I be. The scale of Duxford is truly impressive. It’s even more impressive for four and two-year-olds barely three feet off the floor. From the size of the attraction, to the immense hangars which house impressive machines - it is a museum on a grand scale.

The museum, which is billed as being Britain’s best-preserved Second World War fighter station, is just over an hour from Ipswich, on the M11 near Cambridge. It began life as an airfield during the latter stages of the First World War.

It then went on to play a vital role during the Second World War, firstly as an RAF fighter station during the Battle of Britain and later as a United States Army Air Force fighter base. It also hosts outstanding aviation displays throughout the year. During our visit, on a routine Sunday in October, there was a stream of historic aircraft, which you can book a flight in, doing laps of the skies. This in itself was thrilling for the little ones to stand and marvel at.

The site is laid out over six hectares with indoor and outdoor displays - so plenty of room for the children to let off steam and oodles of space to absorb any crowds. It is also weather resistant, with ample shelter and indoor exhibits.

The Historic Duxford Exhibition at IWM DuxfordThe Historic Duxford Exhibition at IWM Duxford

There are eight different hangars and exhibition spaces which house a collection of tanks, military vehicles and aircraft throughout the ages - including iconic Spitfires and Concorde, which is open to explore.

The American Air Museum in hangar 7 is particularly awesome in scale. It stands as a memorial to the 30,000 American airmen who gave their lives flying from UK bases during the Second World War, with a poignant glass tribute outside. It also honours those who fought in Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Iraq and other conflicts of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Some of the US historic military aircraft include a vintage B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, P-47 Thunderbolt, and aircraft from the Cold War era such as a B-52 Stratofortress, SR-71 Blackbird and F-4 Phantom. Regardless of your aviation knowledge, this hangar certainly has the wow factor. Another hangar which is without doubt worthy of a special mention was the Battle of Britain. This can be found in hangar 4 and was actually in use during the summer of 1940. Inside you’ll find machines involved in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, like the legendary Spitfire and Hurricane. It doesn’t have the grandeur of the American display, but has a very touching reality of what life must have been like caring for these aircraft during the war. It is a very humbling exhibition.

Duxford offers a great deal for each visitor – whatever your age or interest. We spent a very happy day there, which is no mean feat when picky children are involved. We’re planning a return visit in the spring with the grandparents.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

From the minute The Dreamboys stepped on stage, I knew it was going to be a great show.

Aspiring rock-gods and up-and-coming shredders have pitted their axe-wielding skills to the test in a competition to find Ipswich’s top air guitar hero.

Looking for an action-packed day out or an evening of entertainment? See our guide to family fun in Suffolk this weekend.

A folk singer and peace campaigner, who was the youngest known participant in the Allied invasion of Normandy, will be performing at a Suffolk food festival this weekend.

Thousands of bikers from across the country and even Europe head for Ipswich’s Trinity Park this Sunday for the annual Copdock Motorcycle Show.

A secret bidder last week paid £6,200 for the iconic Ed Sheer-Ham artwork from the Pigs Gone Wild trail and today we can reveal the real buyer was actually Suffolk singer and star of the new Bridget Jones movie, Ed Sheeran.

Strictly Come Dancing officially started at the weekend, with Daisy Lowe now at the top of the leaderboard and Ed Balls at the bottom.

It’s been nearly 50 years since women workers at Ford’s Dagenham plant went on strike for equal rights, writes Wayne Savage, who met two of them as a new production of Made In Dagenham comes to the New Wolsey.

Suffolk’s finest talent had a date at the Ipswich Regent on Saturday night.

PJ Proby interviewed

Sunday, September 25, 2016

PJ Proby has a refreshingly forthright view about how his life has changed since the heady days of the 1960, when he was one of the biggest - and most notorious - names in pop music.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24