From the heritage airfield at IWM Duxford to the Cabinet War Rooms, where the government operated during World War Two, these historic sites in the UK commemorate and memorialise the Battle of Britain.
Beginning in July 1940, the Battle of Britain was fought entirely in the air. The largest attack took place on 15 September and featured some 1,500 aircraft. Whether you’re interested in the impressive monument on Victoria Embankment or historic aircraft, you can take a look at our list of the 5 best Battle of Britain historic sites.
1. Imperial War Museum Duxford
Imperial War Museum Duxford is dedicated to exploring Britain’s military history, with a particular focus on aviation. Located at at Duxford Airfield, one of the best preserved First World War airfields, IWM Duxford is one of the best places to explore the history of aviation in the country.
Most exhibits at IWM Duxford are contained in hangars. A permanent Battle of Britain exhibition, featuring two Hurricanes, a Spitfire and crash-landed Messerschmitt, is situated in a hangar that was used by Duxford’s fighter squadrons during the battle.
2. Battle of Britain Monument
The Battle of Britain Monument on Victoria Embankment is a spectacular, 25-metre wide monument created by sculptor Paul Day. It was unveiled by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in September 2005 on the 65th anniversary of one of the most famous battles in British history.
A series of friezes depict scenes from the battle as well as scenes from both military and civilian life at that time, while all airmen credited with flying combat missions during the battle are inscribed on bronze plaques. The centrepiece depicts pilots rushing to their planes, ready to intercept enemy aircraft.
3. Kent Battle of Britain Museum
Located in Hawkinge, England, Kent Battle of Britain Museum is a space dedicated to aviation history and particularly the Battle of Britain. Today, the museum boasts the world’s largest Battle of Britain collection, including artefacts from over 700 crashed aircraft.
The museum itself started as a private collection of relics from the Battle of Britain belonging to Mike Llewellyn. As well as original aircraft, the museum’s largest building features full sized replicas of Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft built for the 1968 film “The Battle of Britain”.
4. The Royal Air Force Museum London
The Royal Air Force Museum (RAF Museum) is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome in Colindale, North London. The museum’s five buildings and hangars showcase exhibitions dedicated to the history of aviation and the RAF, including the Battle of Britain.
Housing a fantastic collection of over 100 aircraft, the RAF museum has an impressive selection of planes including some of the most famous ever to have graced the skies. These include the Avro Lancaster S-Sugar and the only complete Hawker Typhoon.
5. The Cabinet War Rooms
Located beneath the streets of Westminster, the Cabinet War Rooms are part of the underground bunker complex now known as the Churchill War Rooms in London where Britain’s wartime government operated during World War Two.
The war rooms became fully operational in August 1939, a week before Britain declared war on Germany. During the Blitz, the complex was reinforced with a massive layer of concrete for added protection against bombing.