IWM Duxford

IWM Duxford – A day out with kids

disclosure: we were given free entry into IWM Duxford in exchange for an honest review

As you all know we’re big fans of transport here and do love our aeroplanes!  Monkey and I were spending a few days in Cambridge last week and decided we really should explore IWM Duxford whilst we were so close.

IWM Duxford

IWM Duxford is about a 20 minute drive from Cambridge city centre and stretches over an area of a mile with both indoor and outdoor exhibits.  We were guests of the site for the day so parked away from the main car park – I could see though, that were was plenty of parking available, all free too.

We arrived on a lovely sunny Tuesday so decided to explore the outdoor exhibits first. Unfortunately we couldn’t see inside any of the airliners on our visit, I’m not sure if they are only open at weekends but it was a bit of a shame.  Each plane has an information board which is useful, especially when visiting with children.

It was interesting to see the Bristol Type 175 Britannia 312 in the Monarch livery, my son was amused as we use the same airline to fly to see his grandparents.

As we walked along the display we realised that there were some smaller planes taking off from the grass beside us, these continued all day, and added that extra bit of entertainment as we watched them whizz around the sky above us.

You can’t help but notice the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber as you walk past the row of civil aviation planes.  It’s huge.  The American Air Museum is currently closed until Spring 2016, and the various aircraft have been re-housed across the IWM Duxford site. Although I have to say I prefer the B-17 Flying Fortress, Sally B personally.

As well as the outside displays there are 7 very different internal exhibition spaces with lots of displays (8 once the American Air Museum reopens).  You really can’t fail to be impressed by the amount of aircraft on display. IWM Duxford is somewhere that will keep children entertained as well as aviation enthusiasts.

The whole site is well signed and I was impressed with the abundance of toilet facilities –

The Land Warfare exhibition was an unexpected treat.  Housed at the far end of IWM Duxford and a must for tank enthusiasts.  I would have liked to wander around the exhibits more thoroughly but something spooked my son as we entered and sadly he wasn’t keen to spend much time inside.  The exhibition charts land warfare from 1914 and ends with the Normandy landings.

The 1940 Operation Room was fascinating, with the sound recording playing in the background you really get a feel for what life was like during an incoming German air raid.

IWM Duxford

For us it was also a great follow on from our trip to Dover Castle and the underground WWII tour we visited.

We got to see planes currently under restoration in the Conservation in Action hangar, we both really enjoyed the Battle of Britain display and the crashed Messerschmitt, complete with bent propellers fascinated my 5 year old.  We saw planes, helicopters and even lifeboats in the Air and Sea display too.

The Historic Duxford exhibition is also well worth a visit, there are a number of interactive displays as you walk through the lives of the people who worked at IWM Duxford over the years.

The whole site is very walkable, it’s flat and there’s plenty of space for families with prams and strollers to access all areas.  There are a couple of eateries offering hot and cold food with children’s portions and there was even an ice cream van when we visited.  Should you bring a picnic there are a number of picnic tables and wooden benches dotted around the site, so everyone is well catered for.  There’s even a play ground to keep the youngsters amused.

The AirSpace exhibition area is the first section you come to when you arrive and it’s fab, especially for children.  There are lots of interactive displays where children can learn all about aviation and how various parts of the plane works.  As well as the static displays on the ground floor (including a Vulcan, Concorde and a Lancaster bomber) there are a number of aircraft suspended from the ceiling.  This was another big hit with my son.  He got to go on his second Concorde, this boy is so well-travelled!

I was really impressed with IWM Duxford and I can thoroughly recommend it as a great family day out.  For opening times, prices and direction please pop over to the website.  I know we’ll be returning as Daddy P missed out on our trip.

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IWM Duxford


22 thoughts on “IWM Duxford – A day out with kids

  1. Wow! There’s such a lot to see! Looks like you both had a really good day out. My eldest used to love planes when he was little – he would have loved this!

  2. Oh my this looks like boy heaven! Mine would love a visit here, a shame you couldn’t go inside one of the planes or that Monkey got spooked in the exhibits, another couple of years and it might just be worth a revisit. The operations room looks fascinating to me. A wonderful place to visit and one I will certainly look out for if we ever find ourselves Cambridge way with the children. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

  3. This is on our list of places to go, it’s just quite a distance for a day. Having said that, looking at your post perhaps it would be worth it-we’d all love it.

  4. That looks like such a great day out and one I know the kids will love when they’re older. Hubby would love to go now! x

  5. What a fantastic review, it looks like you really know your stuff, my hubby would be so proud, he is a plane enthusiast. We were there only a couple of months ago when they had a huge airshow, it was pretty great even though I am not into planes. I hope you don’t mind me posting a link to my day out there: http://www.mumforfun.com/duxford-airshow-review/
    I know nothing about planes, which you will see from my review!
    Glad you all had fun, wish we had seen the playground when we were there.
    Katrina #CountryKids

  6. This places looks so cool to explore – my son would love it. What a shame the aircrafts weren’t open.

  7. Awesome, I remember visiting duxford on a school trip as a kid, looks like it is much improved since then, though it was pretty great back then! Definitely look forward to taking our Monkey here one day 🙂 xx #mondayescapes

  8. This looks like such a fascinating place. The boys loved the Museum of Flight just outside Edinburgh, so they would really enjoy this! #countrykids

  9. Firstly, love how Monkey has a Coombe Mill cap on! My Monkey was wearing that last weekend, too! Duxford looks like such a great and interesting day out – there are so many planes! Think we will have to make a visit there one day – I like the sound of the interactive displays and the playground. Great photos, too. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

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