When it comes to aviation museums in the UK we certainly aren’t short of choices but for anyone who is even remotely interested in aviation, the RAF Museum at RAF Cosford is by far one of the best.
Located at RAF Cosford near Telford, the museum houses some of the finest examples of military aircraft from the Royal Air Force and overseas forces.
Highlights include a complete set of V-Force aircraft and a TSR2 but the range is wide and varied.
The museum is free to enter for everyone (Parking is currently £7.50 per car) making it an affordable day out for a family and its warm, welcoming and knowledgable staff are on-hand and are more than happy to help.
Made up of four hangars, exhibits are themed into categories including the National Cold War Exhibition, Test Flight, War in the Air and Hangar 1 which houses transport and training aircraft of the Royal Air Force.
The National Cold War Exhibition is a fine example of one of the UK’s defining eras in aviation as we moved through the Nuclear age. Nestled around the V-Force aircraft of the Vickers Valiant, Handley-Page Victor and the Avro Vulcan are other cold war aircraft such as the Lightning, a Lakenheath-based F-111 and a Mig 15.
Other exhibits in this area include tanks and missile systems such as Blue Steel, the UK’s standoff nuclear missile.
War in the Air features aircraft from British and German forces primarily from the second world war. Unsurprisingly this is where Spitfires, Hurricanes and BF1209s hang out but others feature too such as the Tiger Moth and Germany’s first jet fighter, the Me262.
A step through this hangar shows the rapid development of aviation driven by global war and will invoke a shear admiration for not only the pilots who flew them but the men behind the designs too,
The Test flight hangar is where you will find the weird and wonderful aircraft that sometimes went on to become a success stories such as the British Aerospace Experimental Aircraft Programme which gave birth to the Eurofighter Typhoon through to the not so successful such as the ill-fated TSR2, Britain’s high speed, low-level strike.
Other aircraft in this section are the Hawker-Siddeley Kestrel, the first VTOL aircraft which led to the success of the more well-known Harrier jump jet and the Fairey FD2, which was a prototype aircraft for supersonic wing design which helped in the development of Concorde.
On entering the test flight hangar don’t forget to take time to read the RAF Stories where you will see first-hand accounts and artefacts from the Royal Air Force between 1918 and 2018.
There are also various aircraft located outside of the hangars such as a VC10, Nimrod and Hercules.
The museum is easy to get to from the M6 motorway and is around 30 minutes north of Birmingham. It is also reachable by rail with a 1/2 mile walk from Cosford railway station.
It is well-equipped with multiple cafes, clean toilets and a well-stocked gift shop to take a memory back of your visit. There are also interactive attractions such as a 4D Cinema and Simulator ride.
Whilst entry is free, you can make a donation upon entry and at various points around the site which helps to fund the museum and keep entry free.
For more information please visit their website at https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/midlands/