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visiting london this april RAF museum vs Imperial war or duxford?

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I have been to London before but missed my airplane fix the last time.  I am going to leave the mrs(swmbo) and have some time to go off.  The  RAf museum in london is close we will be staying at St james hotel as well as the iwm.  Duxford is far   about 2 hour bus and train ride which limits how long I can stay.  I  went to hannuts the last time but did not go to the RAF in cosford that is only about 45 minutes away.  So recomendations?  I have been to  the washington  air and space many times  my daughter lives in the district.  Also the great museum in  windsor locks connecticut( that has open cockpit days I got to sit in a mig 15 and   F4 zowee)  missed the p 47 and mustang  boo.   anyway hope you guys  can give me some advise 

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FYI Duxford is also part of the Imperial War Museum.

 

You have a good chance of at least seeing something fly at Duxford and the restoration hangers. I rent a car at Heathrow and drive there for the day.  Very much worth the effort. I've been there five times now.

 

RAF Hendon (London) is also very much recommended and easy to get too.  The IWM in London is to me a little boring because it focus's on everything a little bit but nothing in depth i.e. a few planes, a few tanks etc. 

 

The Science Museum is also pretty good and has a pretty good area on flight, it's only a few blocks from Hyde Park (south)

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The Imperial War Museum has been dramatically dumbed down and caters for hordes of disinterested schoolchildren who just want to touch things.  The RAF Museum at Hendon was going the same way the last time that I went there.  Duxford wins every time, the contents of the hangars are are always changing as they store, service, and refurbish old warbirds.  For a more limited, but intimate, aircraft experience, try the de Havilland Aircraft  Museum, it has none of the disadvantages of the other two London museums, plus three Mosquitoes, including the prototype, and is housed in the same site that it was built.

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I still like Hendon,  it has a lot to offer like the crashed Halibag, S for Sugar Lanc, the only Wellington in one piece, J-u-88, Me-110, Me-109, Stuka and I think the Typhoon is back from Canada now and many many other examples of rare planes. There is a lot to see there.

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Duxford. Its bigger and as others have said its a live museum , theres always something going on. I still really like Hendon. We went recently and they have improved the lighting , which makes it a different place IMO , much better than it was. Shame they took the battle of Britain display away though. Having said that  , all of the planes that were in that hall are now in another hall so you can see them much more clearly.Wellington is now at Cosford.

Edited by gunpowder

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Another vote for Duxford here, then Cosford, then Hendon. 

 

Having said that, we've had a severe storm here over the weekend, with string winds, and this damaged the roof of one of the Duxford hangars.  Fortunately it did not go entirely - there was a risk of that at one point - but depending when you're planning to go there may be knock-on effects.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-51444639

 

https://www.essexlive.news/news/essex-news/eerie-m11-photos-empty-motorway-3829608

Edited by MikeC

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Duxford also has the benefit of being a working airfield, on our last trip there , I got to see SallyB B-17 waking up and then flying circuits , and then a couple of spits perfecting a display routine , and in prior trips  there we saw the Tigercat & a hurricane running engine tests , etc etc 

 

wonderful memories, 

 

I don't know how things are , but when we used to go , we got the Train from Kings Cross to Cambridge , and then a bus out to the museum  which is a a lot more relaxing than trying to navigate London by car!

 

colinR

 

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Another vote for Duxford. Apart from being packed with so many interesting aircraft and exhibits, as others have said it's a working airfield. It is also so deeply steeped in history, both RAF and 8th Air Force...and the connection with the movie Battle of Britain. I go every time I am in the UK, never gets tired.

 

After that, yes, Cosford and Hendon.

 

Richard

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The RAF museum in Hendon is much much easier to get to from Central London, just take the Underground Black Line to Colindale and walk 10 minutes. The museum is well-worth a visit and you must go to it. Free entry. 

 

Duxford is a beautiful museum and well worth a visit but it will take you a long time to get to it from Central London and back. You will need to make your way to Liverpool Street Station (or St. Pancras Station or King's Cross Station) and take the train to Cambridge, which can take up to 2 hours. From Cambridge you will need to take a local bus or a taxi to the museum. This travel will cost some money and on top of that you will need to pay for an entry ticket to the museum. Give yourself plenty of time to see the museum because this museum is huge - it is a functional airfield and there are hangars/halls with exhibits stretching from one end of the runway to the other. Bring comfortable walking shoes and be ready for lots of walking. On a good day you may see Spitfires and Mustangs in the air. 

 

Cambridge is beautiful. If you have a little bit of time, just go and see King's Parade! 

 

HTH 

Radu 

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If you go to Duxford get the train from Kings Cross, some trains take 50 minutes, some an hour and a half, download a train app so you can plan your journey, buy tickets, and check to see if the train is running on time, they seldom do - trainline is probably the best app.

 

Hannants near Hendon is pretty spartan, however if you place a pre-order they will have what you want plus you'll get 10% off.

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Hendon has been rearranged a bit recently, the BoB hall is no more, and the aircraft have been redistributed, some going for work, some to different halls, some to different museums, I think. The rest have been rearranged in the rest of the museum, with a bit more space around them, so they are a little easier to photograph.

 

https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/plan-your-day.aspx

 

Duxford is amazing. Just wandering about the workshops is inspiration enough, quite apart from probably seeing something up on air test as well!

 

 

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