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Flying High in Harrow – A look at the popular RAF Museum

As the year kicks into gear, many Harrow parents will be staring down half terms and summer holidays and wondering how they can entertain the kids without breaking the bank.

Harrow has a number of free and cheap family activities available and, in this article, we’re looking at one of the best – The Royal Air Force Museum.

Where is it ?

The museum – all six hangars of it – can be found on Grahame Park Way, NW9 5LL and can be reached from Junction 4 of the M1 or by bus number 114 from Kenton. The museum has customer parking between 9am and 5.30pm which is charged as follows (although there is a 30 minute free grace period for those just dropping off or picking up):

0-3 hours – £7.50 per vehicle on-site

3-6 hours – £10.00 per vehicle on-site

Where it all began

The site of the RAF Museum began its life as a civilian airfield after it was acquired in 1911 by Claude Grahame-White. This would, however, be short lived as, in 1914, the aerodrome was taken over by the military for Home Defence and began a new life as a Royal Naval Air Station used for training new pilots.

Flying High in Harrow - A look at the popular RAF Museum Harrow Online
Inside the museum. Image: Google Maps.

After a brief stint as accommodation for the No.601 Squadron (also known as the Millionaires Squadron), the site was once again called into action by the military in 1939 following the outbreak of World War II. After being utilised for a variety of military activities, the RAF Museum was opened on the 15th of November 1972 by Her Majesty the lateQueen Elizabeth II.

What to see

One of the most exciting museums in London, the RAF Museum is a great day out for the whole family and, even better, thanks to National Lottery funding, entrance to the museum is free of charge (although payment is required for special events and exhibitions). Across six hangars, the museum is home to some breathtaking aircraft – which visitors can get up close and personal with – including Lockheed Hercules WC130E, the Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI, the Sopwith Swipe and much much more.

Flying High in Harrow - A look at the popular RAF Museum Harrow Online
A Lancaster Bomber in the museum. Image: Google.

Current exhibitions include RAF Stories, The First 100 Years 1918–2018, – First to the Future and The RAF in an Age of Uncertainty.

Putting you in the cockpit

The museum features a state of the art 4D Theatre which allows visitors to experience the thrills and spills of intense aerial battle. Tickets for the 4D Theatre cost £4.50 for individual adults and children of £14.40 for a family ticket and bookings can be made HERE.

Flight simulator

Thrill seekers can also immerse themselves in the RAF Museum’s Flight Simulator experience with a six minute virtual flight over the Lake District in an RAF Eurofighter Typhoon. Tickets for the simulator cost £5 per person (£16 for a family of four) and are available at weekends between 10.40am and 4pm and during school and public holidays.

Taking to the skies this Easter

If you’re looking for ways to entertain the kids this Easter, days out don’t come much better than the RAF Museum. With so much to see and do, the museum recommends that you allow at least four hours for your visit.