RAF Museum @ Edgeware

As I was scoffing my weekend fry-up at the caf, I saw a lorry carrying a Spitfire on the back!
The wings were folded up in an upright position and the plane looked like a bird just settled in its nest, making itself comfortable by rearranging its feathers.
Being mega excited by the fleeting glimpse of Spitfire, I begged Hubbie if we could visit the RAF Museum in Edgeware, North London.

I was calm then, very calm…

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Taken aback by my sudden animated plea at first, Hubbie soon warmed to the idea of our fun day out and we set out in our car, armed with TomTom, the sat nav.
Even though the sky was rather overcast,  I was beaming. I had never seen a real Spitfire in my life. But it was about to change!

However, our journey to the museum was far from smooth.
From our street, the sat nav led us through Highbury & Islington, Holloway, Archway to Highgate via the A1, then to the North Circular westbound. At the spaghetti junction around Brent Cross, the sat nav coaxed us to join the M1! Not having enough time to react, we ended up on the M1 heading north. Then, a chirpy male voice cheerfully informed us ‘You have reached your destination!’ What do ya mean????!!!!
Yes, I had to type in the post code of the museum because you did not give me any relevant point of interest in the menu. Then, you idiot decided to lead us to the middle of nowhere on the motorway?!
We were foaming at the mouth with outrage and frustration – this was not the first time this useless TomTom led us into a trouble. While we panicked, our destination hurtled away from us into oblivion so we had to leave the motorway at the nearest service and rejoin the M1 London-bound. Once safely away from the motorway, we ditched the damned TomTom and found our way by Google Map. *SIGH*

Having a sigh of relief at the car park.  We made it in one piece!

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At the entrance, we saw a dashing RAF man in the famous blue uniform!
I couldn’t help shrieking with delight while Hubbie glancing at me sarcastically.

Through the entrance, which appeared to be the newest building in the compound, we climbed the stairs to the first exhibition, ‘Milestones of Flight”.

The space was filled with the aeroplanes from various eras…

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From a concoction of balsa wood and canvas to an all steel alloyed modern jet fighter, the exhibition demonstrated how far the aviation had traveled in a short period of time.
During a little more than a century, the technology progressed from the Wright Brothers’ glider to the Lockheed Martin F-35, being spurred on by the demand of a changing world, including  conflicts.

Blériot XI

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EurofighterTyphoon

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Face to face with the Typhoon…

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Swordfish which sank the Bismarck

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Hawker Tempest

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An early helicopter…

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As we came down from the upper level, I noticed an attraction simulating the famous Red Arrows flight…

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It’s only 3 quid. Can we have a go?
Hubbie shrugged, “what the h*ll”. So off we climed into the pod…

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We were told by the attendant to press a red button if we felt sick (!) and the lid closed with a hissing noise. Then a man with a ruddy complexion appeared on the screen and told us to hold on to the bar in front…

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Once the ride commenced, surely enough, our bottoms slid left to right on the plastic seat like a butter on a hot toast!

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Every now and then,  he shouted ‘Turn NOW!’ ‘Smoke NOW!’ and the pod we were encased shook rather violently.
Unfortunately, the image was a bit too grainy to be believable for anyone older than a pre-teen child. We emerged from the pod feeling rather embarrassed.

Then we moved on to the second exhibition, “Bomber Hall”.

This space was much larger. As its name suggested, the exhibition was dedicated bombers and bombs…

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A remain of a rear gunner tower from World War II…

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One of the exhibits which pulled the attention of most visitors was a remain of a Halifax bomber…

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The bomber was discovered at the bottom of a Nordic fjord in 1971 and in 1973, it was pulled out of the water.

The salvaged engines on a display…

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The stricken bomber came down on the frozen lake Hoklingen.
All six crew survived a forced landing and five of them managed to escape to Sweden and one was taken as a prisoner of war.

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Upon learning about the safety of the crew, a relief was obvious on every visitor’s face, including on mine.

We moved on to the next exhibit, an Avro “Lancaster“…

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It was simply impossible to capture this huge plane in one frame!

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The nose art of the Lancaster…

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A colossal bomb bay of the Lancaster…

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It reminded me the belly of Thunderbird 2!
The lancaster, viewed from the observation deck nearby…

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An american Bomber Boeing B17G, the “Flying Fortress”…

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Its GI crew, about to get on board..,

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However, one plane which truly took my breath away was behind this shiny black classic car…

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Its vertical stabiliser was just visible. Can you guess it? How about from this angle?

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Ahhhh! It was an Avro “Vulcan“!!

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The size of this bomber, I still can’t get over it. It was gigantic!
The distinctive shape of its wings emphasised the enormity of the aircraft even further.

A row of the bombs on a display…

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A little boy was skipping and counting the number of the bombs – nuclear warheads, innocently.
The sight of it unsettled me quite a bit.
When I was his age, the world around me was in the thick of Cold War. And the Nuclear Holocaust was a distinct possibility.
I sat underneath the bomb bay and contemplated..,

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Before moving on to the Historic Hangars, we had coffee & cake at Wessex Cafe.

I had a cup of latte and a coffee & walnut cake…

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I must say that the people who ran this museum were outstanding.
Every one of them was courteous and helpful. We were most impressed with their hospitality.

After the replenishment, I went to see my all time favourite, a Boeing Chinook

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Regrettably, the exhibit was a cut-out of the helicopter.
Still, I could see the cockpit in close-up and was very chuffed about it…

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The young visitors were having a great day out at this museum…

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Running around and climbing up and down the numerous observation decks in this indoor space as large as an athletic ground surrounded by magnificent airplanes. If I were a child, I would have run around like them too!

Behold a Supermarine ‘Southhampton’
Is this a boat? Or a plane? Or both?
This strangely wonderful specie, a flying boat, undertook long range flights between UK to Singapore and beyond.

The hull was constructed with timber…

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It gleamed like a long cherished furniture…

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The plane was damaged by the storm in 1928 and its hull was converted to a houseboat. However, it was recovered by the RAF Museum and added to their inventory.

We came to the end of the main exhibit and walked out of the museum through a gift shop…

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We had never seem so many aircrafts in one go and were a bit overwhelmed.
My whim turned out to be an outstanding family day out!

The museum is highly recommendable to anyone, young & old. The access throughout the museum was barrier-free, therefore no problem for push-baggies and wheelchairs.
Please add this treasure in Hendon on your “must visit” list. You will be surprised to discover an inner child in you…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

2 thoughts on “RAF Museum @ Edgeware

  1. Must take Charlie there! I have memories of it from my childhood..and strangely my dad, who went to boarding school in the UK whilst his parents lived in Greece, used to fly home to Athens in a converted Lancaster bomber..it used to take 2 days with a stop in Rome! xxx

    • Oh yes, your Charlie will have a great time there. A lot of interactive fun rides and a gift shop full of cool toys! I am a secret military mad girl and enjoyed the visit immensely. However, my husband wasn’t that excited with war planes… I am definitely going back there again for more. I am so jealous of your dad. Flying with a Lancaster bomber sounds amazing! (^0^)

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