At last my thoughts have returned to my little bumblebee blog and here is a belated review of the fabulous Royal Air Force Museum in Shifnal, Shropshire!
Our second stay at the lovely Sambrook Manor Cottages near Newport in Shropshire (see our blog from last summer – Shropshire Sunshine) and a first time trip to RAF Cosford, this time as a family of 6. Accessibility is (obviously) at the forefront of our minds when planning a day out, and this time we also had my dad and his mobility scooter.
The short version is that RAF Cosford is completely accessible and is a fantastic family day, with genuinely something for everyone. It is also that rarity of being free to enter! There is blue badge parking close to the visitor centre, and everywhere is level with widened doorways. There is clear information about accessibility on the website and an excellent access statement with photos.
All the exhibition hangars are level with wide pathways, the National Cold War Exhibition hangar is on 2 levels but there is a lift and also a platform lift for 2 people. The floor surfaces are mostly concrete and all displays and barriers are at a low level.
Hangar 1 had some great activities for all ages, including a Virtual Reality Zone giving you a sample of a daredevil ride in a Spitfire, and a simulator flight! All areas of the museum have activities for all ages and interactive displays.
The sight of the WW1 and WW2 planes up close is almost like an optical illusion as you move through the museum and is just so impressive, and also an emotional experience being able to see the plane and gun turret a family member lost during a flight in WW2 would have flown in when serving as an air gunner.
The National Cold War Exhibition is equally impressive, with an opportunity to experience the intelligence hubs of the USA and of course more planes up close.
And of course we can’t forget the essentials of any family day out – the café and the shop! The main restaurant/café is back in the visitor centre, and there is a small café in the National Cold War Exhibition centre, along with a shop with lovely gifts, memorabilia, sweets and treats, and our family favourite – expensive tat!
You won’t fail to be impressed by a day out at RAF Cosford, there is so much to see and do that we didn’t actually see everything, so a return visit will be on the cards. I didn’t take enough photos to do it justice but then again I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Fantastic facilities, great accessibility, fascinating glimpse into the past and amazing exhibitions and experiences – what’s not to like? Oh and it’s open daily and it’s free entry. Why not head down there for some half-term fun and enjoy the ‘Drones, Robots and Virtual Reality’ themed week. Chocs Away!