The South East region has a rich array of historic airfields, museums, memorials and aviation sites concerned with aviation history ranging from the earliest experimental aviation projects through to the Cold War and beyond. Many sites are located at airfields used by RAF Fighter Command 11 Group, a section of the RAF formed in 1936 to provide air defence in the run up to the Second World War.

The area is best known for its role in the Battle of Britain when it bore the brunt of aerial attacks from the Luftwaffe. Sites include an underground bunker, a historic chapel, a national memorial, control towers and numerous airfields and aircraft hangars featuring priceless collections of aviation heritage that are accessible to the public. The attractions range in size from the six hangars of the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon to smaller, lesser-known sites with unique collections that bring alive a huge range of aviation history. One (Eastchurch) is even on the site of a working prison.

Below you will find a map and site directory of aviation heritage sites in the South East. Full details for each site are listed below the map, in alphabetical order, including address, website and contact information. Some sites open seasonally or irregular hours so please do check their websites for the latest visiting information.

This South East area is also covered by this trail booklet that might help in planning a day out – the 11 Group Trail which covers the whole region, and also the East Anglia Trail which includes several counties north of the River Thames.

Map Symbol Key:



Aviation Museum.

Heritage / Visitor Center.

Aviation Memorial.

Historical Site.

Other / Restoration Site.

As Headquarters Fighter Command, Bentley Priory played an incredibly important role in one of the most pivotal moments in modern world history, the Battle of Britain. Now a Museum, visit Bentley Priory and discover how the Battle of Britain was won. An award winning audio visual film highlights the incredible leadership of Air Chief Marshal Dowding and engaging displays tell the courageous stories of the ‘The Few’, the aircrew. Displays include a recreation of the Filter Room, which explains the work of those involved in the ‘Dowding System’ – the first large-scale centralised air defence command and control system. During your visit, you’ll also learn about Bentley Priory’s wider history, from its origins as a priory, to being the home of the 1st Marquess of Abercorn and the Royal residence of Queen Adelaide. As a spectacularly restored Grade II* listed mansion house, Bentley Priory’s architecture is as inspiring as its history and you can explore the role of renowned architect, Sir John Soane, on the development of Bentley Priory.Read more

Address: Mansion House Drive, Stanmore, London HA7 3FB

Phone: 020 8950 5526


Eastchuch Aerodrome, situated on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, was first used by the Aero Club of Great Britain in 1909 and became a base for experimental flights, pilot training and an airfield for wealthy flying enthusiasts. It contained numerous hangers, the Short Brothers aeroplane factory and a repair shop. The airfield was soon also used for military purposes as the home of the Naval Flying School from 1912 and a base for squadrons from both the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps. It became one of the earliest RAF stations (1918-47) and was in continuous service through the First and Second World Wars. The museum explores the history of the site, buildings, machines and people who worked and served there. Currently there are plans to preserve hangers on the site dating from 1912. It is on the site of an open prison and prisoners often work in the adjacent cafe.Read more

Address: Wright's Way, off Brabazon Road, HMP Standford Hill, Eastchurch, Kent ME12 4AA

Phone: 07450 621 217

Email: see website for form

No other single location in the world has contributed so much to progressing aeronautical science over more than a century as the former Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. Since 1993, the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, a registered charity and an Arts Council Accredited Museum, has campaigned as an all-volunteer organisation, to safeguard and celebrate the site’s unique aviation legacy that stretches from the earliest Army ballooning activity, and Cody’s first successful aeroplane flight in the country, to the headquarters (now the museum) of the Royal Flying Corps and its first squadrons, through both World Wars and into the research, development and testing of jets and supersonic aircraft, missiles and space vehicles, up to the digital era. The FAST Museum tells this story and its collections and archive include hundreds of thousands of historical photographs, films, records, reports and artefacts, including hundreds of unique examples of pioneering prototype equipment, devices and systems, with a vast computer-based database used by students, film-makers, researchers and others on a global basis. The FAST collection also includes hundreds of wind tunnel models and many full-size military aircraft and helicopters formerly based at the RAE and familiar in Farnborough skies. The museum also has an extensive library, shop and five working flight simulators. Its prize exhibit is a full size highly authentic replica of S. F. Cody’s British Army Aeroplane No 1A in the condition it first flew in 1908, just yards from the FAST museum site. This was built by FAST volunteers in 2008 to celebrate the Centenary of British powered flight and is displayed in a specially built pavilion that now also houses many other exhibits as well as the Cody story.Read more

Address: Trenchard House, 85 Farnborough Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 6TF.

Phone: 01252 375 050 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sat and Sun only)


The Gatwick Aviation Museum has a unique collection of British aircraft from the "golden age" of British aircraft manufacture. From the end of WWII until the 1970's British aircraft designers produced some of the most innovative and advanced aircraft of the day. From post war to cold war, this museum clearly shows that timeline in aviation terms. Come and discover the fascinating history of Gatwick Airport and the airlines that defined a generation of travel and learn the key role Gatwick played in the Second World War and how it helped aviation around the world. Discover how the power of flight has changed via our extensive range of engines from piston through to modern turbo fan.The museum includes a café and a nature trail from which you can view the airport in action. Read more

Address: Gatwick Aviation Museum, Vallance By-Ways, Lowfield Heath Road, Surrey RH6 0BT

Phone: 01293 862 294


Greenham Control Tower is a visitor centre and community café with the aim of preserving and sharing the historical legacy of one of the few remaining airfield buildings. It shares the story of Greenham Common and offers space to enjoy the common from a fascinating and dynamic location.Read more

Address: Burys Bank Road, Newbury, Berkshire, RG19 8BZ


The Croydon Airport Visitor Centre is a volunteer led micro-museum. Opened in 2000, it was the winner of a British Tourism Award. Exhibition space includes displays located in the world’s oldest Air Traffic Control Tower, in Airport House. Interactive displays, exhibits and visual images chart the history of Croydon Airport including its role in World War I, London’s international airport, the Battle of Britain in the Second World War and its closure in 1959. Read more

Address: Airport House, Purley Way, Croydon, London CR0 0XZ

Phone: 0208 680 5878


RAF Hornchurch played a major role in the defence of London in the Second World War as the base of three squadrons of Spitfires. The former airfield has since become a country park and two former RAF administration buildings have been converted into RAF Hornchuch Heritage Centre which is due to open in 2021. A ‘Battle of Britain’ room features British and German artefacts, uniforms, photographs and models to tell the Hornchurch story and a replicated Officers Mess includes the original Oak fireplace from the former Officers Mess in Astra Close. Displays also cover the First World War when the airfield operated as RFC Suttons Farm, the interwar and Post war years, Bomber Command and a ‘Home Front’ room telling the story of civilian life during World War ll. The Heritage Centre includes a Remembrance room, vintage tea room and garden.Read more

Address: 119-121 Suttons Ln, Hornchurch, Essex RM12 6RU

Discover the most intact fighter airfield associated with the Battle of Britain, the wildflower-rich meadows and ancient woodland of Kenley Common. There are still a significant number of structures remaining from WW2, which have become some of the youngest scheduled ancient monuments in the country.A new heritage trail tells the story of RAF Kenley and the men and women who served there. Kenley Common is open and free all year round.Read more

Address: Kenley Common, Hayes Lane, Croydon, London CR8


Visit the Kent Battle of Britain Museum Trust on the site of former RAF Hawkinge Battle of Britain airfield. and walk in the footsteps of the greatest-ever air battle.

Get up close to iconic Battle of Britain aircraft - the Hurricane, Spitfire, Boulton-Paul Defiant, Messerschmitt Bf 109E, Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV and Heinkel He 111H-16. together with our recently commissioned ’Spirit of the Few’ Monument.

Discover the stories of the brave airmen, the planes they flew, the uniforms they wore, the medals won and so much more - all in some of the original 1940’s buildings, still bearing the scars of war.

Then stop for refreshments at our café, browse the shop and meet Scramble the cat!
Read more

Address: Aerodrome Road, Hawkinge, Folkestone, Kent CT18 7AG

Phone: 01303 893 140


The Lashenden Air Warfare Museum is located on Headcorn Airfield and is one of the oldest established aviation museums in the country, having been formed in 1970. The Museum's collection was started by members of the Maidstone branch of the Royal Air Forces Association in the late 1960's. The Museum opened to the public Easter 1970 taking on the name of Lashenden Air Warfare Museum (Lashenden being the wartime name of the airfield). The Museum houses a very rare Fieseler Fi 103R-4 Reichenberg, a piloted V1 flying bomb and its collection consists of artefacts from World War I through to the Iraqi War.Read more

Address: Lashenden Air Warfare Museum. Headcorn Aerodrome, Headcorn, Ashford, Kent TN27 9HX

Phone: Telephone: 01622 891810 (during Museum opening hours) 07857 580162 (out of hours)


MAPS is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit company which has gained an international reputation for restoring and preserving historical aircraft. In addition, MAPS holds meetings for the Medway Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society.Read more

Address: AFIS Unit, Rochester Airport, Maidstone Road, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9SD.

Phone: 07545 849756 - Office Hours only or leave a voice message


Berkshire's dynamic contribution to aviation history is graphically recaptured at the museum that aims to preserve this heritage and make it available for the enjoyment of visitors, and for future generations. The museum is at the historic site of Woodley Airfield, near Reading, once the centre of a thriving aircraft industry. The Museum covers all aspects of Aviation in Berkshire, including Miles Aircraft and Handley Page at Woodley, Fairey Aviation and ML Aviation in White Waltham, and Elliotts of Newbury, along with fascinating pictorial records and priceless archives.The Museum contains many exhibits and artefacts connected with Military Aviation, from No 1 School of Military Aeronautics established at Reading in 1915, through the Miles Magister trainer, the Miles Martinet target tug, and displays on Air Transport Auxiliary, Douglas Bader's crash at Woodley and building Spitfires in Reading and Newbury.Read more

Address: Mohawk Way, Woodley, Berkshire RG5 4UE

Phone: 0118 944 8089


The museum is situated in the village of North Weald at what was the main entrance to the former Royal Air Force North Weald fighter base. The station started military flight operations for the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and Royal Air Force Operations finally stood down in 1958. The airfield remains in use as a civilian flying field.Your first experience of the site will be the arc of Portland Stone encircling the Norwegian obelisk erected outside the museum as the RAF North Weald Memorial in 2000. The unique Obelisk was a gift to the people of the village in 1952 from the people of Norway. It was to show gratitude to the people of North Weald for their wartime association with the Royal Norwegian Air Force based there. The Memorial commemorates all those who gave their lives, the museum tells their stories. A bronze cabinet set into the stone wall contains a list of their names and is accessible even when the museum is closed. On entering the museum you will find yourself in a reception area lit by a magnificent stained glass window commemorating all those who served at North Weald. This was installed in 2008.On the ground floor and readily accessible to people with disabilities the collections are set out in five themed rooms and an interconnecting corridor. The story of much bravery, suffering and all that is best in the human spirit is told through a collection of images and artefacts in the four main exhibit rooms.Read more

Address: Ad Astra House, Hurricane Way, North Weald Bassett, Epping, Essex CM16 6AA

Phone: 01992 523010


The Museum tells the story of Britain’s most famous fighter station through the personal experiences of those who served there, and the community that supported them. Sir Winston Churchill called RAF Biggin Hill ‘the strongest link’ in a chain of fighter stations that defended the capital during the Battle of Britain.The museum is situated on the same site as St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance, built in 1951 after a fundraising campaign led by Churchill to remember those who served and died at Biggin Hill during the Second World War. The museum safeguards the future of this important building, which is open to the public and features twelve specially commissioned stained-glass windows designed by Hugh Easton.The Museum has a shop, café and walking/driving trails of related sites of historic interest are available. Read more

Address: Main Road, Biggin Hill, Kent TN16 3EJ

Phone: 01959 422 414


Bradwell started off as a small grass aerodrome serving the firing range on the Dengie Peninsula, in the late 1930’s. In 1942 the aerodrome was expanded and became a large bases for 2,500 personnel who were to fly intruder missions to the continent and provide refuge for bombers returning with damage, casualties and short of fuel.To enable this level of activity there were many career opportunities for both men and women. This included aircraft maintenance, radio control, catering, motor transport and may more. Women were to fill all roles, apart from combat. Today the RAF is fully inclusive. RAF Bradwell Bay was host to many different squadrons up to the end of the war, with a variety of aircraft types including Boston Havocs’, Mosquito’s, Spitfire’s, Tempest’s, Blenheim’s and Beaufighter’s. Other aircraft were based there for training and administrative purposes such as Miles Magisters, De-Havilland Dominies, Tiger Moths. At sometimes Bradwell Bay would have been an aeroplane spotter’s paradise. Stationed at RAF Bradwell Bay, at different times, during WW2 were 418, 23, 29, 157, 247, 310, 312, 313, 56, 198, 488, 605, 219, 278, 126, 124, 501, 151, 287, 3, 64, 309, 611, 456, 125, 85, 25 and 19 squadrons.. Some parts of the airfield survive including the runways and control tower. However, the site is under threat of being demolished to make way for a second nuclear power station.As a group we are working to preserve as much as is possible, including building an archive to preserve memories and stories. We are currently fundraising to build a museum close to the unusual memorial and have an exhibition in the, nearby, Othona Centre. We are open summer weekends.Some parts of the airfield survive including the runways and control tower. However, the site is under threat of being demolished to make way for a second nuclear power station. As a group we are working to preserve as much as is possible, including building an archive to preserve memories and stories.Currently, we have an exhibition about the RAF at Bradwell Bay at The Othona Community, East End Road, Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, CM0 7PNOpen most weekends but best to phone 07842 713051.Park at St Peter's Chapel (worth visiting) and walk along the sea wall.Disabled visitors call us and we can arrange parking nearby.Read more

Address: 9 Trusses Rd, Bradwell-on-Sea, Southminster, Essex, CM0 7QF.

Phone: 07842 713051


The RAF Manston History Museum explores the history of this famous airfield from 1916 to the present day. Manston started its Aviation days as a Royal Naval Station in 1916, with a base at Westgate Bay for seaplanes. By 1917 the airfield had grown to include four underground hangars, its own railway line, power station and barracks for 3,000 men and even an indoor swimming pool. After WW1, training in aircraft maintenance and engine repairs was taught in the School of Technical Training. Barnes Wallis arrived in 1943 to test his bouncing bomb at nearby Reculver, before the Dam busters carried out their famous raid. Displays include numerous aircraft and artefacts illustrating various aspects of the airfield, squadrons and personnel from WWI to modern search and rescue operations and the airfield’s move into Civil Aviation up until the closure of Kent International Airport in 2014.Read more

Address: Manston Road, Ramsgate, Kent CT12 5DF

Phone: 01843 825 224


RAF Northolt was established in 1915 and remains an active RAF airfield. The base was involved in the development of the Dowding system of integrated air defence and subsequently in the Battle of Britain, including hosting 303 Squadron Polish Air Force. Northolt also served as London Airport from 1945-55 while Heathrow was being developed. The site underwent major redevelopment in the mid-2000s as part of the consolidation of Ministry of Defence estates, but a limited number of older buildings remain, including four Grade 2 listed buildings. These include a C Type Hangar used to house Churchill's aircraft during WW2; a 1918 built squadron watch office and pilot crew room; an officers mess dating from 1917, remodelled in the 1920s and again in the mid-2000s; and a Z Sector operations room used in the development of Dowding system. The latter has been renovated over the last 12 years and the restoration work is still in progress.Read more

Address: RAF Northolt, West End Road, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA4 6NG

Phone: Please call the Station Visits Officer on 0208 833 8974. Note: no visits until further notice due to Covid Restrictions.

The Romney Marsh Wartime Collection is a unique collection of wartime equipment, remains recovered from aircraft crash sites and memorabilia collected and donated to the Museum since its formation in 1972. The Benzett ALG airstrip was established in 1943 and first used by Spitfire IX's of No.122 Squadron followed by squadrons to combat flying bombs, 129 Squadron and two Polish Squadrons 306 and 315. Displays include bomb disposal equipment and a Barnes Wallis ‘dambuster’ bomb. The museum is an Independent Charitable Trust dedicated to the memory of those living or dead, friend or foe, who served their country during wartime. The Exhibition is located within the original buildings used as a Hostel for the Women's Land Army during the war, and part of the Exhibition is devoted to them - some of their graffiti is still evident today!Read more

Address: Ivychurch Road, Brenzett, Romney Marsh, Kent TN29 OEE

Phone: 01797 344 747


The Royal Air Force Museum London is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome. It includes five hangars showing the history of the Royal Air Force. Innovative galleries explore the first 100 years of the RAF and its roles today and invite you to imagine its future contribution and technology.Displays include numerous aircraft, interactive displays and flight simulators. A new open, grassed landscape which is perfect for picnics, reflects the heritage of our site as The London Aerodrome and RAF Hendon.The Museum was shortlisted for the Permanent Exhibition of the Year in the Museum and Heritage Awards 2019. There is also a restaurant, themed outdoor play area for under 11’s and a packed programme of family activities and events for all ages.Read more

Address: Grahame Park Way, London, NW9 5LL

Phone: 0208 205 2266


The Shoreham Aircraft Museum was founded in 1978 by local enthusiasts, whose passion for the Battle of Britain period resulted in the establishment of a permanent display in 1988. The Museum houses hundreds of aviation relics excavated by the group over many years from crashed British and German aircraft, as well as items which have been kindly donated. In addition, there is a fine collection of flying helmets, uniforms and insignia. This, along with a comprehensive display of Home Front memorabilia, ensures a visit to the museum is both enjoyable and educational. Artefacts are carefully arranged to support items recovered from local 'digs' and displays are changed regularly. The Museum has a charming tea room, serving home-made cakes and refreshments that can be enjoyed in the large tea garden. There is also a gallery displaying a range of prints by renowned aviation artist Geoff Nutkins, one of the Museum's founders.Read more

Address: 13 High St, Shoreham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 7TB

Phone: 01959 524 416


The museum is situated on one of the very few surviving airfields which participated in the Battle of Britain. During the Second World War RAF Manston was only 10 minutes flying time from Occupied France and bore the brunt of the early Luftwaffe attacks in 1940. RAF Manston was at the forefront of major aerial campaigns, a recovery airfield for stricken allied bombers and a base for fighters involved in Operation Crossbow (defence against V weapons). It was used for bouncing bomb trials and hosted the first ever jet squadron of the RAF. The Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum honours the brave men and women who served in defence of our country through displaying the aircraft and objects they used, as well as telling their stories. Displays include the iconic Spitfire Mk XVI, a 1944 built "LF" clipped-wing model, which means she is a fighter/bomber, and to our knowledge the only Spitfire displayed as a bomber. A Hurricane Mk IIc is painted to be the RAF Memorial to the Raid on Dieppe - Operation Jubilee. She represents the 1st aircraft to fly over the beach at dawn on August 19th 1942 from 43 Sqn. RAF. She is actually a 1944 built cannon tank buster. You can also try the Spitfire Simulator, in which you can experience what it is like to fly high powered WWII fighters. The museum also hosts the allied aircrew memorial garden which has regular services.Read more

Address: The Airfield, Manston Road, Ramsgate, Kent CT12 5DF

Phone: 01843 821 940


Tangmere Military Aviation Museum is located in a corner of the old RAF Tangmere airfield in West Sussex, famed as an RAF fighter station in world war 2. In 1918 Tangmere became an RAF airfield. In 1926 43 Squadron arrived and were joined by 1 Squadron in 1927 and thereafter was to become a very active Fighter Command station until 1958 when Fighter Command left and Signals took over until 1970 when in October it ceased to be an RAF station. Thereafter it was only used for gliding until 1975. The Museum was opened by a group of aviation enthusiasts in 1982 to promote public awareness of the United Kingdom’s military aviation heritage. Since that time it has been managed and run entirely by volunteers and in 2017 was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Now one of the UK’s leading aviation museums, it is home to an impressive display of historic aircraft and has a unique collection of aviation memorabilia stretching from the First World War through to the Cold War. Amongst the many attractions, there are numerous interactive displays, aircraft cockpits and simulators for visitors to experience. Light refreshments may be purchased in the Museum’s acclaimed NAAFI Tea Room.Read more

Address: Tangmere Nr Chichester, West Sussex PO20 2ES

Phone: 01243 790 090


The bunker housed RAF Fighter Command’s No.11 Group Operations Room throughout the Second World War, the room from which the RAF co-ordinated most of the Battle of Britain, presented as Winston Churchill saw it on 15 September 1940. As well as visiting the bunker visitors can see our state-of-the-art exhibition detailing the development of the UK’s air defence system from the First World War to the end of the Second World War. You can listen to first-hand accounts from people that worked in the bunker during its finest hour in 1940 and see aircraft wreckage, uniforms and telecommunications equipment used by the RAF to defend the nation.Read more

Address: Wren Ave, Uxbridge, London UB10 0GG

Phone: 01895 238 154


The clifftop home of the National Memorial to the Few - a figure of a seated airman looking out over the Channel - is a quiet place of contemplation and reflection which is also home to the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which lists the names of the aircrew known to have taken part in the Battle of Britain, and a replica Hurricane and Spitfire. It is temporarily also home to a stainless steel artwork featuring a crashed Stuka, loaned by German artist Hex. The idea for a national memorial came from Wing Commander Geoffrey Page who had been a 20-year-old Hurricane pilot with 56 Squadron in the Battle of Britain. The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust was established, and fundraising began for the memorial which opened in 1993. In 2005, HM The Queen opened The Wing, an eye-catching building designed in the shape of a Spitfire wing, complete with its famous uplift. The Wing houses The Scramble Experience, a hands-on attraction that uses audio-visual effects, a video wall and other special techniques to show something of what it was like for the Few in the summer and early autumn of 1940. As well as the visitor experience, the Wing includes a classroom area to help fulfil the Trust’s aim to educate young people, in particular, about the heroism and sacrifice made by those who took to the skies. It is called the Geoffrey Page Centre in honour of the man who inspired the building of the Memorial. A central ‘cockpit’ area with an open balcony offers superb views across the Channel to France, from where the Luftwaffe would have appeared in 1940. The site is fully accessible.Read more

Address: New Dover Rd, Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone CT18 7JJ

Phone: 01303 249 292


The Gliding Heritage Centre (GHC) was founded in March of 2012. It’s based on the south side of Lasham airfield, Hampshire, which originated as a WW2 airfield in 1942 and became famous for its Mosquito wing, it’s now the largest gliding site in the world. The GHC is effectively the UK’s gliding museum and houses a large collection of vintage gliders in its two 30m x 30m hangars, the earliest dating back to 1911, together with many artefacts. Many of its gliders still fly. It also has a large modern workshop where the general public can see the restoration work being undertaken. The normal time for site tours is 14:00 on a Sunday, but please check the website for latest information. Specific tours can be arranged outside this which includes those by large groups.Read more

Address: Lasham Airfield Alton, Hampshire GU34 5SS


The Wings Museum is entirely volunteer run and housed in a large "hangar" style building located near to Gatwick Airport. We display an abundance of original memorabilia representing a wealth of themes including: The Home Front, RAF Fighter Command, The Blitz, Battle of Britain, Bomb Disposal, Home Guard, Air raid shelters, Aircraft Turrets, RAF Bomber Command, US 8th Air Force, Luftwaffe, Russian Front and D-Day and Beyond. Items on display include aero engines, airframes displayed in dioramas representing actual crash sites, cockpits, aircraft gun turrets, uniforms, medals, flying equipment, a unique collection of photographs illustrating the history of Redhill Aerodrome and hundreds of personal stories of war, sacrifice and courage.Read more

Address: Unit 1, Bucklands Farm, Brantridge Lane, Near Balcombe, West Sussex RH17 6JT

Phone: 07769 688 064