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Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, near York

A fascinating day out - even if you aren't an aeroplane fanatic!

For a taste of aeroplanes ancient and modern, and war-time life, we visited the Air Museum at Elvington near York, England...

This isn't far from home for us, but unbelievably we've never got round to going there, until now...

...even though Ian's been there several times as a child, and is interested in aeroplanes.

We chose a rainy day, when we didn't feel inspired to venture out much further afield...

...and had a surprisingly enjoyable and interesting day - even me, a girl with not much genuine interest in aircraft!

Me on my visit to the Yorkshire Air Museum - Elvington, York

Ian, is a former air cadet, and grew up with a dad who was a World War 2 aircraft armourer in the RAF - so he did find the visit particularly insightful and interesting...

our visit to the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington

Of course, it all meant a lot more to him - but you can definitely find interest and enjoyment in a visit, if you aren't particularly an aircraft fan...

I still found the museum's realistic portrayal of wartime life in the RAF very interesting...

...and did enjoy just looking around the very many different aircraft here, as well as learning about local, aeronautical and wartime history.

Elvington Air Museum - war time posters

The Yorkshire Air Museum is based at the former RAF Elvington airfield. Together with the nearby Pocklington and Melbourne airfields, this formed part of 4 Group Bomber Command - the museum concentrates on the history of this group...

There are still all the old wartime, airfield buildings which house the museum.

wartime buildings house the Museum exhibits at the Yorkshire Air Museum

What to expect from your visit...

You will need to cross between buildings, so you might get a bit wet if it was raining, but luckily the museum itself is mainly indoors (apart from some of the aircraft).

aeroplane at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, York

Dogs are allowed (except in the restaurant and shop) - but need to be kept on a lead.

Stop your car where indicated, and pay at the gate (credit/debit cards are accepted, you'll just need to go inside the office to pay).

Do buy a visitor guide book - as it is only £1, and we found it was a very useful guide around the base - with additional site info, history and a map of the Yorkshire Air Museum.

Once you've paid, follow the road round, to the spacious parking area...

The guide recommends starting with building 9 (the Bomber Command exhibition), which is the main display hall, for a good overview - which we did...

...but not before we sampled lunch at the museum restaurant...

Lunch at the Museum

This is called the NAAFI Restaurant (NAAFI are the army catering suppliers).

eat out at the NAAFI restaurant at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington

This is housed in one of the original wartime buildings, and is basically a seating hall, with self-service/counter service and trays.

The food ranges from:

  • sandwiches
  • soup
  • cakes
  • crisps
  • fruit
  • snacks full hot meals.

On the day we went (a Saturday in June 2011) we had a choice of:

  • Chicken Korma and rice
  • Beef stew and dumplings
  • Cheesy veg bake
Served with a choice of chips, beans, carrot and veg.

veggie bake for lunch at the Yorkshire Air Museum

Veggie bake

I had the veggie bake and Ian had beef stew...

beef stew at the NAAFI restaurant at the Yorkshire Air Museum

Ian's beef stew

The food was pretty good - filling, hot and well-cooked - and did the job of filling us up perfectly!

Once we'd filled up on food, we proceeded around the museum - taking a look at all the exhibits...

What's to see at the museum?

To be quite honest, the information and aeroplanes were all a bit overwhelming - and now I can't remember which bits were in which buildings...

...but I still found all the information very interesting and certainly absorbing.

exhibits on display at the Yorkshire Air Museum

The bits I liked best were the 'pastiches' - recreated rooms and scenes from RAF war time life...

...bedrooms, workshops, offices, mess rooms - fascinating stuff!

I think Ian preferred the actual aeroplanes - which I did enjoy seeing close up, I must admit.

Ian at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

Some of our best bits:

  • The French Officers' Mess

  • The French Officers' Mess at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

    French Officers' Mess

  • The Control Tower

  • Elvington Air Museum - inside the wartime control tower

    Inside the Control Tower

  • The Airmen's Billet

  • The airmen's billet reconstruction at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington

    Airmens Billet

  • The Vehicle Workshop

  • Yorkshire Air Museum - vehicle workshop reconstruction

    Wartime Vehicle Workshop

  • 'T2' hangar - the main aircraft displays
  • Handley Workshop

  • inside the Handley Page workshops at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington

  • One of ony 2 nuclear bombs on display in the UK (deactivated - of course!!)

deactivated nuclear bomb at the Yorkshire Air Museum Elvington York

Deactivated bomb - scary!

Aeroplane Highlights:

the real stars are the planes - at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington

  • The Halifax Bomber - in the colours of the famous 'Friday 13th' Halifax

  • a reconstruction of the famous Friday 13th on a Halifax plane - Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

  • The DC3 Dakota - we went on-board, and saw where crew would sit, and peeped into the cockpit. A very helpful gentleman guide told us all about it.

  • the DC3 Dakota at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

  • Canberra cockpit - sit in the cockpit

  • Ian sitting in the Canberra cockpit - at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington near York

  • Cayley's glider - (replica)
  • Blackburn Mercury Mono-plane (replica) - from 1911
  • Mignet (the 'Flying Flea')

  • the Mignet Flying Flea at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, York

  • Handley Page Victor K2

Also see and try:

  • Flight simulator - in a Harrier jet
  • Gunnery simulator - £1 a go
  • Uniform displays

  • uniform displays at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

  • Lots of photos and memorabilia

  • historic photos at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

  • Pioneers of Aviation exhibition:

    • All about the great innovators and innovations in aeronautics based in Yorkshire...

      I had no idea Yorkshire was so very important in aeronautical history.

    • Includes:

lots of aeroplanes to see at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

I also really enjoyed the archives section - which included a map with all the crashed aircraft sites in Yorkshire...

Three of them around my village alone - I never knew!

The staff are all veterans and enthusiasts so are very knowledgeable...

They are very keen to share their knowledge, and tell you whatever you want to know about the exhibits.

They were all very friendly - we were made to feel very welcome visitors!

wartime exhibits at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington

There was so much to see - we looked around every part, although we did skim over some of the reading...

We were still there for around 3 hours (including lunch).

The Yorkshire Air Museum also includes a very moving memorial garden, and a nature walk, with picnic tables.

picnic tables at the Yorkshire Air Museum - take your packed lunch

The nearby Elvington airfield was having a motorsports day (fast cars) so it wasn't particularly peaceful on the nature walk - it runs right alongside the airfield...

a very pretty orchid on the nature walk at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

... but we did see some wild orchids. Part of the walk was closed off though, on the day we visited.

The Shop

Before you leave, don't forget to visit the little shop, for:

  • wartime memorabilia
  • T-shirts
  • model planes
  • books
  • pictures
  • souvenirs

lots to see at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington near York

We had a really good day here - relaxing, absorbing and very interesting...

...a real insight into real life on a wartime bomber command - and a fasinating close up look at lots of different aircraft - highly recommended - a great day out!

a pilot at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire

Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington on the Map

Find the Yorkshire Air Museum just outside York, close to the village of Elvington.

From York, take the Hull Road (A1079) road, out to the Grimston Roundabout...

Or, take the A1079 (Hull) exit off the A64 ring road around York.

Leave the roundabout at the A1079 (Hull) exit in the right hand lane, then almost immediately turn right at the traffic lights (down a hill)...

The Yorkshire Air Museum is a couple of miles along this road on the right hand side before you get to the village of Elvington (take care - some sharp bends on this road).

The way is well signposted.

This map is interactive.

  • Just use the + and - buttons in the top left corner of the map to zoom in and out.
  • Use the arrows to move about the area.

Yorkshire Air Museum
YO41 4AU

Tel: 01904 608595

Visit the official Yorkshire Air Museum website, here...


  • Daily - 10am-5pm (In winter - opens 10am-4pm)
Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day

There are special events throughout the year (some at extra charge to the usual admission fee). Many of the events have fly-pasts from historic aircraft belonging to the museum, or elsewhere.

The Elvington Airshow is always very popular. It's usually in August.

I'm pleased we visited the Yorkshire Air Museum - it was very interesting - a fab place to visit, very interesting...

...highly recommended for rainy days in particular - but sunny ones too!

You might also like:

...and a little further afield Eden Camp


  • York Maze (Summer only - Maize maze)
  • Yorkshire Museum of Farming - at Murton

More ideas for things to do in York, here...

Have you been to the Yorkshire Air Museum? What did you think? Where do you like to go in and around York? Tell us, here...

You could also visit:

Whitby Museum

The Captain Cook Museum in Whitby

The Captain Cook and Staithes Heritage Centre

The Rotunda Museum and Art Gallery in Scarborough

More about Yorkshire in British History

More ideas for things to do at the Yorkshire coast

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