Discover London’s fascinating aviation history
Discover London’s fascinating aviation history with visits to some of the unusual museums and experiences. Head northwards to London Colney to visit Britain’s oldest aircraft museum – the De Havilland aircraft museum. Make sure to book your stay at any of the aparthotels in London to pay a visit to the historic museum as this is where some of the most important aeronautical innovations were created including the first jetliner and the amazing Airspeed Horsa Glider used during D-Day.
You can see iconic aircraft like the De Havilland Mosquito – the Wooden Wonder – and the Tiger Moth used to teach so many Battle of Britain pilots to fly. Best of all, this is a working museum with aircraft under restoration, so there are always lots of volunteers around keen to answer questions and show you what they are doing.
Not far away is RAF Hendon, the where you can discover the story of the world’s oldest air force. This is definitely one of London’s hidden gems. Free to enter and explore the numerous hangers containing a vast range of aircraft used by the RAF over the past 100 years. There are seaplanes, an iconic Spitfire and Lancaster bomber, a Flying Fortress, Harrier Jump Jet, Mosquito’s and many very early aircraft dating from the first world war onwards. And it is not just aircraft, there are examples of vehicles used by the RAF as well as helicopters such as the Air-Sea rescue helicopter used by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge when he served as a pilot in Wales.
Try on uniforms and digitally design a plane – then see if it will actually fly! You can also take part in numerous special experiences, which have to pay for on the day such as the unique Dambusters Experience. Sit in a mockup of a Lancaster cockpit wearing a special headset and vest, then discover exactly what it was like to be on that incredible wartime mission. Look out of the window and see water rippling past as the plane flies low over the reservoir, not once but three times as it drops its bomb, then supports other bombers by distracting anti-aircraft fire.
Travel southwards across London to Greenwich and explore the amazing Emirates Aviation experience. This brings aviation history up to date as you take to the skies in a flight simulator learning to fly a commercial aircraft on a flight across the world. You can discover how a real Rolls Royce engine powers an aircraft, find out what happens behind the scenes during a flight, as well as entering the cockpit of an A380 plane. There are lots of hands-on activities such as a game allowing you to discover how fast you can get a plane ready for taking off.
If you’ve booked a few days in the capital, potentially in one of the beautiful Serviced Apartments in Central London, this is definitely a fascinating place to explore, and one that will definitely keep you busy and interested throughout your visit. Flying will never seem the same again!