Even if you’re not an artillery aficionado, there’s plenty at Dorset’s Tank Museum to excite the whole family. The Bovington museum is a former tank crew training facility and opened as a museum to the public after WW2, in 1947. It’s packed with hundreds of years of historical armoured vehicles dating from World War One onwards. If you’re staying at The Acorn Inn or Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Spa, both just a 40 minute drive away, here are five reasons why you should visit the Tank Museum on your next trip.
It houses the world’s biggest tank collection
There’s nowhere else in the world – let alone the UK – where you’ll find such a vast collection of historical tanks. Featuring six enormous halls packed with over 300 vehicles that have seen action in all the major 20th Century wars, the Tank Museum contains everything from the first ever tank (called Little Willie) to modern-day rolling assault armoury.
Get an Access all Areas experience
For those wanting a more exclusive opportunity to get up close and personal with these powerful machines, the Tank Museum hosts ongoing Access All Areas experiences throughout the year. Here, visitors will get a fantastic guided tour of their Archive & Library and Supporting Collections Study Centre, where they can see a number of fascinating items that are not on public display. As well as and finding out how the Curatorial team work behind the scenes to preserve the tanks for future generations, visitors will also learn how the vehicles are maintained and restored by the museum’s dedicated workshop staff.
It brings history to life
Far from being just a collection of tanks, the Tank Museum brings the fascinating historical combat experience to life with explosive displays and life-size re-enactments. Discover what life was like in the depths of the trenches and see a compellingly comprehensive collection of over 2000 medals.
See the tanks in action
Aside from exhaustive static displays, the museum’s external Kuwait Arena hosts a thrilling Tanks in Action display during school holidays. Watch the vast vehicles as they rumble around a track and witness lifelike explosions, thundering engines and captivating commentary.
Every summer the mighty TANKFEST festival takes place at the museum. Featuring an incredible convoy of historical tanks from a vintage D-Day Convoy from 1944 to modern-day British Army vehicles currently in service. Attendees can also take the opportunity to hear the roars of the powerful weaponry and ride in M548 and Leopard Bathtubs themselves. It’s the ultimate day out for kids and adults of all ages.
If this list has got you in the mood to experience the sounds, sights and smells of battlefields of yore at the Tank Museum, a stay at the delightful The Acorn Inn or Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Spa will complete your trip.