The Fleet Air Arm Museum at the Royal Navy Air Station in Yeovilton, Somerset, is one of four museums owned by the Royal Navy, designed to preserve its history for future generations. Each museum represents a different branch, with the Fleet Air Arm representing the Navy in the air.

It was my first visit to a Royal Navy museum so I wasn’t sure what to expect, hoping it would be quite similar to USS Intrepid in Manhattan. The Museum building is colossal – it used to be the Navy’s aircraft hangar – and there are four exhibition halls with over 90 aircraft. Exhibitions include the Falklands, Kamikaze, and World War 2.

If I’m honest most of the exhibition halls didn’t enthuse me and you’d need to have a keen interest to really enjoy it. The Aircraft Carrier Experience – a helicopter simulator, which leads to a faux flight deck – is where you get your money’s worth. The simulator is quite exciting; you stand in a small darkened room with a red glow, you feel the floor vibrate and shake under your feet and up through your entire body, and experience the deafening sounds of being a passenger on a military helicopter.

The flight deck is another very dark, very noisy space but much, much larger. It allows you to see several fighter planes and catapults up close, with huge projection screens to help you visualise the landings and take offs.

You then make your way upstairs for a ‘guided’ tour (a man on TV screen), where you are immersed in a recreation of life on an aircraft carrier (HMS Ark Royal). If only the Navy had kept an actual aircraft carrier to rival USS Intrepid.

Winter opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-4.30pm. An adult ticket costs £13.50
http://www.fleetairarm.com/

On the way to the Museum I saw Stonehenge, so I have included a photo.

Stonehenge

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