Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, 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...
...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!
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...
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.
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.
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).
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).
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:
On the day we went (a Saturday in June 2011) we had a choice of:
I had the veggie bake and Ian had beef stew...
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.
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.
Some of our best bits:
French Officers' Mess
Inside the Control Tower
Wartime Vehicle Workshop
Deactivated bomb - scary!
Also see and try:
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!
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.
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...
... but we did see some wild orchids. Part of the walk was closed off though, on the day we visited.
Before you leave, don't forget to visit the little shop, for:
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!
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.
Tel: 01904 608595
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
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:
More about Yorkshire in British History
More ideas for things to do at the Yorkshire coast
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