Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Visiting The Tank Museum - Dorset

Despite living in Dorset all my life, there are still some local attractions that I have never visited. One of these is The Tank Museum, located in Bovington Dorset, a museum where you can find the World's best collection of tanks!

Located just 12 miles from my home town of Poole, the museum is sign posted and easy to find. You start seeing tanks and military signs as you arrive into Bovington and you know you're in the right area!



We visited on a bank holiday Monday and the car park was already pretty busy when we arrived but the museum is so large that the crowds weren't really an issue.

The museum has eight different exhibitions with almost 300 vehicles on display. The exhibitions are:

- The Tank Story, 1915 to the Present Day
- The Trench Experience, France 1916
- Warhorse to Horsepower, The Rise of the Tank
- Second World War
- Fury, The Exhibition
- Battlegroup Afghanistan, Helmand Province to Present Day
- Tank Factory, Design and Manufacture of the Tank
- Tank Men, The Story of the First Crews

I really enjoyed walking through the Warhorse exhibition and found it really moving. I discovered that approx 1 million horses were used by the British Army during the war and only 60,000 made it home. This exhibit was really good for Elliot because it's very interactive with lots of things to see and buttons to press! I loved the metal horses which reminded me of the puppets used in the Warhorse show. And it made me want to watch Warhorse again!



The Trench Experience was another favourite although it did give me goosebumps and I was keen to get through it as fast as possible!! I had been warned that it might not be suitable for young children due to the noises but Elliot wasn't at all phased. You really get a sense of what it was like for the soldiers of World War One with the smells, the noises, the claustrophobic conditions.


Whilst I really enjoyed reading about all the first Tank men, Elliot really enjoyed seeing all the different tanks and vehicles and he was very happy to see a soft play tucked away by the Afghanistan exhibition! The soft play is a decent size (and in the shape of a tank!) and has plenty of chairs for parents to sit and watch whilst having a cuppa. (Plus free WiFi!)

We even found some low tables with toy soldiers and tanks and this was really popular with the children, Elliot loves playing with figures so I think he could have stayed here all day!


As we went on a Bank holiday, we were able to catch the Tanks in Action display outside. The museum has a large outside area with lots of grassy banks to sit on and the Tanks in Action display is definitely worth watching. It's very loud though and can be dusty so be aware of that if you are watching with little ones! (See here for more info on when you can see the Tanks in Action)



After the display we headed for the cafe for a bite to eat - us and everyone else had the same idea so it was very busy! There was lots of choice on the menus and everything was priced reasonably. My husband and I had a big pasty each (ooops, naughty!) and Elliot had a kids box which you could pick different items. There was plenty of seating in the cafe, plus the grass outside is perfect for picnics on sunny days.

You will definitely need a full day to experience all the Tank Museum has to offer. There is just so much to see and we spent another few hours exploring the other exhibitions after we had stopped for lunch. Elliot even got to have a go on one of the tracked vehicle rides which he really enjoyed!


All in all the Tank Museum is a really interesting, fun day out for families of all ages - it is the kind of place that has something to appeal to everyone!

Prices:
Adults = £13
Child = £7.50 (under 5s free)
Family 1+3 = £29
Family 2+2 = £35

The brilliant thing is, there is a free annual pass included in the entry fee so you can return to the museum as many times as you like within the year! (Excluding special event days)

If you're ever in Dorset, I'd definitely recommend a visit!

*Disclosure - We received free entry in return for this review but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own
Run Jump Scrap!
Babyfoote

2 comments:

  1. How fab is that! What a day out! I'll bet Elliot loved a ride in a vehicle!
    It's ace that a day entry converts to an annual pass. It looks lots of fun here.

    Thanks for joining #daysoutwithatoddler - see you again next month :)

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  2. This looks like a fabulous experience and watching the tank display is the kind of thing that children remember for a very long time. It looks like its been done in a really interactive and thought provoking way - particularly the trench. #daysoutwithatoddler

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