Summer holidays are always a busy time for families and here at the Museum it’s no different. Finding things to keep the whole family happy and entertained for a day out can be difficult to achieve. Many visitors to the Museum are surprised at the diverse things to do and they often comment that we are more than just an air museum. So here’s our guide for this summer that gives some great tips on getting the most from your visit to our parkland location, here at the former RAF Elvington WW2 airbase.
Park for Free. Unlike the City Centre of York, which can be difficult to access and often needs Park and Ride or car parking charges, here we have ample parking. And if you’ve brought a picnic or all of the other things that young children need to bring along on days out, then your car is only a short stroll away and easy to access throughout the day. Escape the congestion and enjoy a great alternative to a City centre.
Pay once, return for free. Did you know that if you Gift Aid your submission, you can return to the Museum again throughout the summer for free?
Pick up Your Museum Quiz Trail at the Entrance. Our 2018 Quiz trail celebrates 100 years of the Royal Air Force and has a great trail and quiz with questions for all ages. Be sure to collect yours from our main entrance and get the maximum value from your visit.
We’re Dog Friendly. For many dog owners, finding somewhere that you can bring along every member of the family, including the four legged one, is very difficult. Here at the Museum, we are dog friendly and welcome well behaved dogs. They are welcome everywhere except the NAAFI restaurant and the Museum shop. All we ask is that they’re under control and on a lead.
Check to See What Our Guides are Talking About. Almost every day, our volunteer guides are presenting informal talks about interesting things here at the Museum. he talks range from an introductory chat about the Museum and the history of RAF Elvington to other subjects including our famous Halifax Friday the 13th WW2 bomber. And don’t worry about bringing along the kids, our Guides tell us they always have the most challenging questions!
Check to See Which Live Aircraft are Running. Several times each week, our volunteer team of aircraft engineers will be running our live aircraft within the grounds of the Museum. Ranging from our tiny Eastchurch Kitten and vintage SE5a WW1 biplanes, though the WW2 C47 Dakota and post war Devon, all the way to the mighty Cold War Buccaneer jet. As always, we rely on the co-operation of these lovely old aircraft, so aircraft runs are subject to operational availability.
Explore a Cockpit in the Air Power Zone, Daily, HP Hangar, Building 19. Our Canberra Bomber cockpit is exactly how the aircraft was configured in active service. Alongside the Canberra, we have a Jet Provost cockpit and a Handley Page Herald airliner, giving you a chance to experience the environment that trainee fighter pilots learned their trade in and view the flight deck of a vintage 1950’s airliner.
Put on a flying suit from our dress-up station and climb inside one of the cockpits for a souvenir picture!
Watch out for our collection of air power weapons, including the impressive nuclear bomb and the Russian Shilka anti aircraft vehicle while you’re there.
Meet Our Mirage IV. Daily Outside. Our Mirage IV nuclear jet arrived in March 2017 and has become a firm favourite with Museum visitors. The Mirage was a gift to the Museum from the French Air Force in recognition of the special relationship enjoyed by the people of the City of York and the French airmen who escaped from occupied France lived and served alongside the Royal Air Force in WW2. Visitors can walk beneath the nose of this amazingly beautiful Cold War Jet and compare her to Halifax Friday the 13th alongside. Read more about the Mirage IV project here.
Explore the Aircraft Collection. Daily, around the Museum. With over 60 historic aircraft and vehicles, our collections span the entire history of flight from the early pioneers of aviation through both world wars and on through the Cold War era. Our collection of Cold War Jets is always very popular, while we have a very diverse range of World War Two aircraft too.
Dakota Experience Daily, T2 Hangar or outside. Climb aboard our C47 Dakota, one of the world’s most famous military transport aircraft used by the Allies during WWII. Most days the big doors used for loading cargo or dispensing paratroopers are open for visitors to climb inside and experience that steeply inclined floor up to the old cockpit.
Visit the Radio Room Wednesdays and Saturdays, 11.00 am to 3.00 pm, Radio Room, Building 12
Here we have a whole range of authentic, fully working period radios carefully tended to by our expert volunteer team. Learn more about these devices, take a look at our Special Operations Executive (SOE) radio concealed inside a suitcase and learn how to spell your name in Morse Code.
Visit our Astra Cinema. The Museum’s own cinema shows a collection of period films and short documentaries that explain the sacrifices of the people that were based here at RAF Elvington in wartime, both No 77 RAF Squadron and the two French Squadrons that followed. A great location to rest your legs and learn a little more about this historic Yorkshire airbase.
Air Gunnery Simulator
Daily, Air Gunners, Building 3
Be a ‘tail-end’ Charlie. Have a go at our air gunnery simulator*. Your aircraft is attacked by six Me110 twin-engine fighters and you have a magazine of 57 rounds to defend yourself!
*a £1 charge applies.
Who was Amy Johnson?
Daily, Building 20
75 years after her death, learn about local aviation heroine Amy Johnson and listen to a recording of her talking about her Gypsy Moth biplane ‘Jason’ upon arriving in Australia in 1930 after flying 11,000 miles on her own. While you’re there, you can also have a go at designing your own aircraft on our design simulator.
Terror from the sky, Daily, Gas Bags to Super Zeppelins
Find out how the Zeppelin was born, how big it was, what made it fly and what is was originally used for. Learn about England’s response to the new threat of air raids in World War One.
Food and snacks in our NAAFI Restaurant The Museum’s NAAFI style restaurant is the perfect location for a break and to enjoy some food. Choose from our range of full meals or enjoy a slice of huge cake and a coffee.