Imperial War Museum Duxford
Located around six miles south of Cambridge, IWM Duxford is situated on a former first and second world war RAF base. Much of the original RAF station is preserved either side of the A505 which cuts through the base, and the historic heart is sandwiched between the incredible Lord Foster designed American Air Museum and the recently constructed Airspace hanger.
A visit to Duxford is simply a must for any aviation enthusiast, and the atmosphere is only enhanced by the activity on the working airfield. Classic Wings operate pleasure flights from the airfield, and that ensures the sound of piston engines from the Tiger Moths and Dragon Rapides is constantly heard overhead. On summer visits it is also possible to see other historic aircraft honing their displays for the regular airshows.
The aerodrome at Duxford was constructed during the First World War and in September 1918 it opened as a flying school for the newly formed RAF. In 1924 Duxford became a fighter station, a role it was to carry out with distinction for 37 years.
In February 1940 one of the heroes of the Second World War was posted to No.19 Squadron at Duxford. Flying Officer Douglas Bader had lost his legs in an air crash several years earlier and had been discharged from the RAF. He would not permit his artificial limbs to deter him and soon showed himself to be a fine RAF pilot and leader during WW2.
In April 1943 the airfield was handed over to the United States 8th Air Force and Duxford now became Base 357 and the headquarters of the 78th Fighter Group.
During their stay the Americans had laid a perforated steel plate runway over the grass strip and the first RAF aircraft to return to Duxford after the war were Spitfires, soon to be replaced by Gloster Meteors. By 1951 a new concrete runway had been laid and a type T2 hangar built alongside the four WWI hangars. No.64 Squadron took on the last type of fighter to serve with the RAF at Duxford - the Gloster Javelin FAW7.
In July 1961 the last operational RAF flight was made from Duxford and for some 15 years the future of the airfield remained in the balance.
However, the Imperial War Museum had been looking for a suitable site for the storage, restoration and eventual display of large exhibits and obtained permission to use the airfield. Today Duxford is established as the European centre of aviation history.
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AirSpace is the most recent addition to the site and it tells the story of British and Commonwealth aviation. The stunning hanger was opened in 2007 and is a fitting tribute to British aviation history.
AirSpace contains over 30 historic British and Commonwealth aircraft, including military and civil types such as:
|de Havilland Comet 4
English Electric Canberra
English Electric Lightning
de Havilland Mosquito
||American Air Museum
This incredible example of contemporary British architecture is home to the largest collection of American aircraft on display outside the US, including:
B-17 Flying Fortress
Hangar 2 is the main home of the ‘Flying Museum’, where Duxford's partner operators such as the Fighter Collection and private collectors maintain their airworthy aircraft.
A fascinating hanger where aircraft are serviced and restored.
A collection of FAA aircraft and maritime exhibits including:
X-Craft Midget Submarine
de Havilland Sea Venom
Armstrong Whitworth Sea Hawk
de Havilland Sea Vixen
||Battle of Britain Hanger
The Battle of Britain Exhibition tells the story of the dramatic events of 1940–1941 and the role Duxford played defending Britain.
Aircraft exhibits include:
||Land Warfare Museum
The Land Warfare Hall charts the changing nature of warfare in the 20th Century. Displays include:
The Normandy Experience
The Forgotten War Exhibition
FWD General Service Truck
The Eastern Front
Vickers Light Mark VI tank
Northern France 1944
Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambs, CB22 4QR
Tel: 01223 835 000
Click here for a google map.
Open daily except 24, 25 and 26 December.
Summer (mid March to mid October)
10.00am - 6.00pm
Winter (mid October to mid March)
10.00am - 4.00pm
Adults £16.50, Senior/Student £13.20, Children aged 15 and under go FREE (except at air shows). Other concessions available- see website for more information.