It’s been a while since we’ve had a family day out, what with trying to arrange our new home into something vaguely liveable (read more at ruraljoy to throw some light on this one) and the weather becoming chillier and gloomier. So when a Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, it seemed a good time to take my son out on a quest for material for his art project on ‘conflict”.
We trawled the Internet to find somewhere in our home county of Kent that would make for an interesting visit, whilst fulfilling the brief, so to speak, choosing the Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Museum at Manston.
Situated on the old airfield site, the museum is easy to find and both parking and entrance are free, although there is a donation box, which merits your attention! You can also purchase items at the shop (I bought an interesting wartime-related cookbook) and enjoy a cuppa or a meal at the Merlin Cafeteria attached to the museum.
Although small, the museum does have rather a ‘wow’ factor, displaying one of the few surviving Spitfires and a famous Hawker Hurricane, each housed in their own room surrounded by interesting and diverse memorabilia. Indeed, there are some very poignant displays, telling the stories of the men involved in air combat in WWII. There are also examples of everyday items from the World War II era, giving more depth and understanding of the time.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and my son was able to get some great photos to help with his art.
On leaving the museum we noticed another building opposite, which turned out to be the RAF Manston History Museum – another little gem, so we discovered. With admission costing just £1.50 for adults and 50p for children, this contains items representing the history of the airfield between 1916 until the present day, with examples of both military and civil aircraft.
Displays include a section of a wartime street (my son found this particularly interesting), film footage of the bouncing bomb, aircraft of various types and ages and military vehicles. There is even a doodlebug!
We found the two museums very informative and enjoyable and I can definitely recommend a visit to them both, as they each have much to offer visitors – an enlightening experience!