There are a number of incredible Museums, heritage sites and memorials that explore and commemorate the important history of the Battle of Britain.
Some are located relatively close to Bentley Priory Museum (the Battle of Britain Bunker at RAF Uxbridge is 14 miles away, the RAF Museum in Hendon is 11 miles away) and some are slightly further away.
Please check their websites for details about opening hours and programme of events.
Located inside the Guildhall, the oldest surviving civic building in England, the operations room in Bury St Edmunds is the only example of the forty WWII originals that survives structurally intact. An immersive virtual reality environment supplemented by re-enactor performances will portray the tracking and reporting of incoming raids. The local connection will be established with an oral history, and artefacts belonging to key Observers. According to the RAF Air Historical Branch the project is “……of significant importance with regards to the preserved heritage infrastructure of the so-called “Dowding” integrated air defence system.”
For more information, please visit www.roc-heritage.co.uk
The Battle of Britain Monument on Victoria Embankment, London (on the same side as Parliament and directly across the river from the London Eye) was unveiled in September 2005 by Prince Charles. It consists of a 25-metre plinth, with a walkway through the middle, faced on two long sides with bronze sculptures by the artist Paul Day. These depict the war in the air and on the ground. The remaining faces carry panels showing the names of all 2937 airmen engaged, grouped by their home countries, of which there are fifteen. It can be visited at all times and is floodlit at night.
For more information, please visit www.bbm.org.uk
The Transmitter Block on the Bawdsey Manor Estate is part of the world’s first operational RADAR station. Visitors can explore the story of RADAR, and discover the team who developed RADAR and how their work helped win the Battle of Britain.
After a successful fundraising campaign, the Transmitter Block will be closed from September 2016 for 12 months for essential conservation work, and the installation of new interpretation.
For more information, please visit www.bawdseyradar.org.uk
East Grinstead Museum houses collections focused on the town’s general history and is proud to be the custodian of the Queen Victoria Hospital Collection. This collection tells the story of the town’s hospital which achieved fame during the Second World War due to its success treating severely burnt airmen under the control of pioneering surgeon Archibald McIndoe. McIndoe’s patients famously nicknamed themselves his ‘Guinea Pigs’.
The Museum displays some of the items from this collection, a touchscreen showing many of its images, and a Research Room. Other items can be viewed by appointment and the Museum works closely with the Secretary of the Guinea Pig Club who is also available, by appointment, to meet with researchers.
For more information, please visit www.eastgrinsteadmuseum.org.uk.
Visit the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne, on Kent’s famous white cliffs, for an inspirational family day out.
Maintained by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, the site is dedicated to Churchill’s famous “Few”, who defeated the Luftwaffe to keep Britain free from invasion in 1940. The high-tech Scramble Experience, opened in 2015, tells the story of the Battle, while the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall lists the names of those who took part and a replica Spitfire and Hurricane remind visitors of the machines they flew to victory.
The new Wing building includes a shop and cafe with stunning views over the Channel.
For more information, please visit www.battleofbritainmemorial.org
Have a great day out and learn how Radar helped shape British history! Housed in the original WWII Operations block, the Museum traces the history of the RAF Air Defence
Radar network from the Battle of Britain through the “Cold War” right up to today.
Visit the actual “Cold War” Sector Radar Operations Room and RAF Coltishall Rooms plus much, much more for all the family!
For more information, please visit www.radarmuseum.co.uk
The RAF Museum is FREE to enter and a perfect family day out!
Pop in to the RAF museum and check out a world-class collection of over 100 aircraft, special exhibitions, films, interactives, engines, missiles and more.
New for 2015 is ‘First World War in the Air, the HLF funded exhibition, which allows visitors to discover and explore the unique role of air power during the First World War through the incredible stories of the men and women who took part.
Free entrance, free Wi-Fi, onsite parking, easy access and a great Café and Restaurant.. Chocks away!
For more information, please visit www.rafmuseum.org.uk
Radar was only effective over sea so once enemy aircraft crossed the coast it was down to the Observer Corps to track the movement of these aircraft through a national network of observation posts, each reporting enemy aircraft movements to their local group control centres. From here the information was fed to RAF sector control rooms then onto RAF Group controllers and finally to RAF Fighter Command. This information was then used to direct RAF fighters, anti-aircraft guns or barrage balloons. In April 1941 the Observer Corps were awarded the “Royal” title for their work during the Battle of Britain.
For more information, please visit www.roc-heritage.co.uk
For over 1,000 years a church has stood on this spot. Originally built by Danes expelled from the City of London by King Alfred in the ninth century. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) and was in the care of the Knights Templar (1170-1312). Although not damaged by the Great Fire of 1666 it was rebuilt in 1681 by Christopher Wren.
In May 1941 incendiary bombs left only the walls and tower standing. In 1953 the church was handed into the keeping of the Air Council. It was re-consecrated in 1958 as the Central Church of the RAF.
For more information, please visit www.raf.mod.uk/stclementdanes
Home to an impressive display of historic aircraft and a unique collection of aviation memorabilia, the Museum is situated on the site of the former Battle of Britain airfield at Tangmere. Using a mix of traditional and interactive displays with specially made information boards, audio, video and touch screens, the Museum brings to life Britain’s aviation heritage from the Great War to the Cold War with special emphasis on RAF Tangmere and those who served there. With flight simulators, open cockpits, “the air raid experience”, a restaurant, picnic area and free on-site parking, Tangmere offers something for all the family.
For more information, please visit www.tangmere-museum.org.uk
The Battle of Britain Bunker at RAF Uxbridge – No. 11 Group Operations Rooms. It was this historic setting that decisions were made by the Group Controller to scramble the Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons to defend South East England against the Luftwaffe attacks.
The Bunker is today the only original Group Operations Rooms open for visits and Bunker looks as it did on 15th September 1940, the most decisive day of the Battle. The original plotting map remains and visitors can follow in the footsteps of such heroes as Churchill and Eisenhower.
For more information, please visit www.battleofbritainbunker.co.uk