The South West has a rich aviation heritage including numerous airfields used from the early days of flight through to RAF bases that are in operation today. The air defence of this region was assigned to RAF Fighter Command 10 Group from 1940. Please note full details including address and website for each heritage site are listed below the map, in alphabetical order. Some sites open seasonally or irregular hours. Please check their websites for the latest visiting information.

Highlights include:

  • Climb on board the first and the last Concorde (the fastest passenger jet in the world)
  • Visit a US Army Air Force and US Navy base, which unusually allowed photography giving us a unique insight into life for American air crew, and see the site from where 101st Airborne Division departed to Normandy, including the famous Easy company of “Band of Brothers” fame
  • Experience an extraordinary range of original historic buildings, including control towers, Second World War airfield buildings and Cold War bunkers
  • Discover the work of all three armed forces, including Europe’s largest naval aviation museum, the Army Air Corps and numerous RAF bases
  • Learn about the development of airborne radar at a top secret base in the grounds of a stately home
  • Explore the world’s largest collection of helicopters.





Map Symbol Key:

Symbol:

Location:

Aviation Museum.

Heritage / Visitor Center.

Aviation Memorial.

Historical Site.

Other / Restoration Site.

The Museum is a memorial dedicated to the personnel of the 306th Bomb Group who operated from Thurleigh during WW2, as part of the Eighth Air Force 40th Combat Wing, 1st Air Division.The Museum is an original building formally used by the 306th BG as a Small Arms ammunition store. We use it today to display artefacts to re-create the activities and atmosphere of the airfield and surrounding areas. Read more

Address: 306th Bombardment Group Museum, Thurleigh Road, Bedford, MK44 1QT

Email: 306thmuseum@gmail.com

www.306bg.co.uk

The Avro Heritage Museum preserves the legacy of Alliott Verdon-Roe and his company A.V. Roe & Co (Avro). Located on the former Woodford Aerodrome near Stockport in Cheshire, the site saw the production of famous aircraft including the Lancaster, Vulcan, Nimrod and BAe 146.The Avro Heritage Museum is packed with fascinating exhibits and is home to the only example of an all-white Vulcan bomber. There are many activities on offer and things to do to keep all ages entertained.The Museum has a café on site which offers light refreshments and fantastic views of the mighty Vulcan bomber as it stands proudly outside.Read more

Address: Woodford Aerodrome, Chester Road, Woodford, Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 1AG

Phone: 01625 877 534

Email: avroheritage@gmail.com

www.avroheritagemuseum.co.uk

Housed on the former RAF Usworth, NELSAM is the largest under cover collection of aircraft in the North East of England. The museum covers the aviation history of a region that stretches from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland to RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire. Established in 1974, the collection covers aviation from the early days to the current role of the Royal Air Force in the region. It spans from the first World War Morane Saulnier Tyne N flown by Sunderland Born pilot Claude Ridley to the massive Avro Vulcan Bomber. The aviation collection is supported by a maritime and vehicle collection. The museum is an all weather facility with step free access to the five display buildings. There is also an outdoor play area with picnic tables. Open Tuesday to Sunday all year round (but please check the NELSAM website for latest information). Read more

Address: Washington Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR5 3HZ

Phone: 0191 519 0662

Email: info@nelsam.org.uk

www.nelsam.org.uk

Our Heritage Centre is dedicated to the preservation of memories of RAF Burtonwood and the thousands of personnel who worked there. The RAF Burtonwood Heritage Centre is situated at Gulliver’s World, itself situated on part of the RAF Burtonwood Airbase.The museum includes displays on: GI Brides, the living history of Burtonwood, the aircraft of RAF Burtonwood, entertainments and stories, and everyday life.Read more

Address: RAF Burtonwood Heritage Centre, Gulliver’s World, Warrington, WA5 9YZ.

Phone: 07890 135 461

Email: John.Cotterill@rafburtonwood.co.uk

www.rafburtonwoodheritagecentre.co.uk

Our exhibition is situated in the Company’s Learning and Development Centre in the Aerospace campus in Derby and tells the story of the Rolls-Royce range of products, with exhibits from before the First World War through to the modern civil large turbofans. The exhibition today contains over thirty Rolls-Royce engines ranging from Henry Royce’s first Aero engine, the V12 Eagle of 1915, through the Merlin and the RB211-22 to the Trent XWB of today.The Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust has four branches in the UK and one in the USA; see the Rolls-Royce website for details of each site.The development of the aero engine, over the last century, has enabled many of the major advances in aviation to take place and with Engineering being the “art of compromise” to meet the best balance of the customer’s requirements, it is not surprising that different engineers from various companies have designed different solutions to meet these requirements. It is the object of this exhibition to show the advances in propulsion technology and these different solutions, so our visitors can compare and contrast the various approaches, whether they be liquid or air-cooled piston engines or two or three shaft gas turbines.Read more

Address: Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, Gate 5a, Wilmore Road, Derby, DE24 9BD

Phone: 01332 823 083

Email: heritage.trust@rolls-royce.com

www.rolls-royce.com/about/heritage-trust.aspx

The Solway Aviation Museum, based at Carlisle Airport, is home to a collection of aircraft, aviation artefacts and displays reflecting Britain’s position as a world leader in aircraft design and innovation at the dawn of the jet age. The museums’ primary objective is the preservation of our Aviation heritage, it’s display and interpretation. Take a nostalgic journey back to Wartime Cumberland and the men and women of the RAF who served in World War II. The museum is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who give up their free time to painstakingly restore many of the exhibits. Through their love and knowledge they are preserving aviation history for generations to come.Read more

Address: Aviation House, Carlisle Lakedistrict Airport, Crosby on Eden, Carlisle, Cumbria CA6 4NW

Phone: 01228 573823

Email: Info@solway-aviation-museum.co.uk

www.solway-aviation-museum.co.uk

The Museum holds a large collection of aircraft and artefacts relating to all aspects of aviation. Approximately 80 aircraft (50% are full aircraft) and fully fitted out cockpits, 100 plus aero-engines and many aircraft engineering displays (helicopter gearbox/rotorheads, aircraft undercarriage, weapons and equipment). It houses the most comprehensive permanent Falklands War exhibition with several aircraft from that war. There are also displays showing Doncaster's place throughout aviation history with the first ever UK airshow taking place next door at the Racecourse in 1909.Read more

Address: Dakota Way, Lakeside, Doncaster, DN4 7NW

Phone: 01302 761616

Email: contact@southyorkshireaircraftmuseum.org.uk

www.southyorkshireaircraftmuseum.org.uk

The Speke Aerodrome Heritage Group (formerly The Jetstream Club) is a registered charity (No. 1106923) which consists solely of volunteers who maintain and preserve aircraft at the historic old Speke Aerodrome in Liverpool (now a beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel). The cockpit of our Jetstream 41 aircraft has been converted into a fairly comprehensive flight simulator and this is available to schools, colleges, air cadets, boy scouts and to the general public at little or no charge.Read more

Address: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Speke Aerodrome, Speke Road (A561), Liverpool, L24 8QD.

Phone: 0151 428 9243

Email: chairman@jetstream-club.org

jetstream-club.org/

The Spitfire Visitor Centre is located in Hangar 42 at Blackpool Airport in Lancashire. Constructed in May 1939 for the RAF as the threat of war loomed. The Hangar was home to various RAF and Polish Squadrons, including 256 and 303 Squadrons, mainly conducting night fighter operations for Preston and Merseyside Docklands. The Hangar has been relatively untouched since 1945 and retains many original features. The ancillary office and workshop rooms at the side of the building have been cleared and restored with period features and furniture. The Visitor Centre has been developed to ensure that the sights, sounds and equipment of the era are brought back to life to give our visitors a valuable insight to the realities of fighting on the ground, as well as in the air during the dark years of WW2. The Spitfire Visitor Centre is also home to the Saving Amy Airspeed Oxford restoration project and to the Raven Cockpits Spitfire flight Simulator Team.Read more

Address: Blackpool Airport, Hangar 42 (South), Squires Gate Lane, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY42QY

Phone: 01253 341 902

Email: hello@spitfirevisitorcentre.co.uk

www.spitfirevisitorcentre.co.uk

The Tornado Heritage Centre building is set up to represent a typical RAF Squadron which includes, Briefing & Flight Planning room, Flying Clothing, Survival Equipment and History rooms, F-3 Procedure Trainer/Flight Simulator.Read more

Address: Unit 14, Aviation Park, Hawarden airfield, Chester, CH14 0GZ

Phone: 07583 308 698

Email: stuart.case@btinternet.com

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100045734059466

The Wellesbourne Wartime Museum displays a vast array of artefacts from local aircraft digs along with a De Havvilland Vampire T11, Sea Vixen and Provost airframes. The museum is located by the control tower and is usually open on Sundays and Bank holiday Mondays (check website for details).Read more

Address: Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield, Loxley Rd, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, CV35 9EU

Email: www.wwm22otu@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/22otu/

Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial is one of the largest independent museums of aviation in the United Kingdom. It sits on the former site of RAF Elvington in North Yorkshire, a World War II airfield used extensively by allied bomber crews.Our museum is a registered charity dedicated to the history of aviation which was also set up as a memorial to all allied air forces personnel, particularly those who served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two.We wish to inspire audiences and contribute to life-long learning, helping people to understand and negotiate the complex world around them. We store in excess of 30,000 items and records including a registered collection of artefacts, maps, books and uniforms of national importance. These are precious resources for historical research. We also record the memories of veterans, aircrew, WAAFs, ATAs to preserve them for future generations.Read more

Address: Yorkshire Air Museum, Halifax Way, Elvington, York YO41 4AU.

Phone: 01904 608 595

Email: museum@yorkshireairmuseum.org

www.yorkshireairmuseum.org