Royal Air Force Museum Hendon
Situated in North London, not too far off the M1 and North Circular road, the Royal Air Force Museum Hendon houses a fantastic collection of airframes, artefacts, uniforms and displays in over four halls.
Opened in 1972 by Her Majesty the Queen the RAF Museum Hendon houses over 100 aircraft from around the world and the free admission makes this an attraction well worth a day's visit at the very least. In 2009 I made my second visit, the first was in 1982 as a Air Cadet - needless to say the Museum has changed beyond all recognition since then.
RAF Museum Hendon is situated on the site of the original London Aerodrome at Colindale. In the early 19th Century the Grahame-White Aviation Company took over 200 acres of Colindale and converted it into what could be considered a modern airfield.
During WWI the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) mounted a night defence of the city from Hendon, constituting the very first aerial defence of London and in November 1916 the War Office commandeered the flying schools at Hendon, after which the aerodrome trained 490 pilots.
The first RAF “Pageant” was held in 1920, and it soon became a regular event, briefly called the "Empire Air Day". Hendon was also active during the Battle of Britain, but for most of World War II the Aerodrome was mainly used for transport activities, and flying dignitaries to and from London.
The airfield ceased flying in 1968 and the RAF Museum was founded in 1972.
As well as the exhibition halls listed below, the museum also houses the Grahame White Factory which is home to the oldest aircraft at Hendon.
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Milestones of Flight
A time line of aviation milestones from the earliest flying machines to the 21st Century Eurofighter Typhoon test airframe ZH588. This new hall houses aircraft such as: de Haviland Mosquito, Eurofighter Typhoon, Messerschmitt 109, ME262, BaE Harrier and many more.
A vast collection of British aircraft are held in this hall, including themed displays such as flying boats and helicopters. Some of the 30 aircraft displays include:
BAC Lightning F6
de Haviland Chipmunk
de Haviland Vampire
Westland Wessex HCC4
The Bomber Hall houses an impressive number of aircraft from the legendary Avro Lancaster to the mighty Avro Vulcan. There are also US bombers such as the B17 Flying Fortress. Aircraft displays include:
Avro Lancaster 1
Consolidated B24 Liberator
HP Victor K2 (Cockpit)
HS Buccaneer SB2
Panavia Tornado GR1
Battle of Britain Hall
Unfortunately the Battle of Britain hall was closed during my visit for improvements. The hall includes the following aircraft exhibits including an impressive line up of WWII Luftwaffe aircraft:
Junkers JU87 Stuka
RAF Museum, Hendon, London, NW9 5LL
Tel: 020 8205 2266
Only 30 minutes from Central London. Follow the brown and white tourist signs from M25, M1 (Junction 4 Southbound), A41, A5 and North Circular (A406) roads. The Museum has a large free car and coach park.
Click here for a google map.
Nearest London Underground station is Colindale on the Northern Line, a 10 minute walk or short bus ride (No 303) to the museum.
Open: Daily 10am - 6pm, Closed 24th - 26th December and 1st January