The Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum in London is one of the best free indoor days out for kids that I’ve taken my children to since starting this website. It really is fab and is a great option particularly in bad weather. We first visited in March 2018 and returned in January 2020 as we’d heard the museum had undergone refurbishment and a play area had been added. It’s an excellent free museum and has so much that will interest children. Since writing this review and updating it in September 2020 they have now introduced a booking system so if you do want to go it is free but you need to reserve tickets through their website.
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Where is the Royal Air Force Museum, London?
There are two Royal Air Force Museums. One in London and one in Cosford. The one we went to is in Hendon, North London. The address is RAF Museum London, Grahame Park Way, London, NW9 5LL. We travelled by car to get there from Milton Keynes. It took around 50 minutes and is a relatively straight forward journey down the M1, off at junction 4 and then a short drive to the museum. The nearest tube station is Collindale should you want to travel by public transport.
How much does it cost to visit the Royal Air Force Museum, London?
At the time we returned in January 2020 it was free entry. You only paid to park. The cost of parking was £4.50 up to three hours, £6 up to six hours and £9 up to nine hours. You pay on exit and you can pay by card. You could easily spend all day there but I think six hours is more than enough time. The car park is large and we had no problem getting a space. As you enter the car park you are at the far end of the building so you may wish to drive a bit further into it if you don’t want to walk too far.
What are the best bits about the Royal Air Force Museum, London?
There are so many fab things about the Royal Air Force Museum which will appeal to all ages. Much of it is inside so it’s a great option if the weather isn’t great. There are small planes to sit in as well as a huge boat to walk through. There are interactive missions on computers which will interest older ones. There are war planes and model planes as well as so many displays of equipment and uniform worn by pilots through the ages. My six year old son, currently a fan of David Walliams’ Grandpa’s Great Escape, told me he liked seeing the spitfire and the spike bomb. At many of the plans there are screens which allow you to watch and listen to information about the exhibits. There’s so much to see and taken in.
Is there a play area at the Royal Air Force Museum, London?
Yes! The play area at the Royal Air Force Museum is brilliant. It’s themed as you would imagine. We went in the middle of winter and it was still fine to play on. It’s great for role play and my boys aged six and four at the time we visited loved it. There’s a helicopter, planes, a building and other vehicles. I wish there was something similar closer – we’d go all the time. So make sure you allow enough time to play there. It is gated too.
Is there anything about the Royal Air Force Museum, London that could be improved?
It’s a really really good day out and it almost seems unfair to criticise it particularly because it’s free to go. However at the time we visited in January 2020, what was the old indoor picnic / play area wasn’t great and needs improvement as some of the play equipment has been removed since we went before so it’s now a bit bare. My 6 year old missed the pretend glider.
Any tips for going to the Royal Air Force Museum, London?
If you’re looking to keep costs down then take a picnic, it’s one of the few indoor places we’ve been to that has an indoor picnic area. You can pay for parking by card. If you’re looking to go when it’s quieter then we practically had the whole place to ourselves in the last half an hour on a Sunday then it’s worth another quick whizz around if your children want to sit in the planes. Bear in mind there are some payable activities in there so just bear that in mind if your kids spot the simulator or spitfire. If you’re travelling from Milton Keynes and only go there for a few hours then Leavesden Country Park is on your way or way back.
We enjoyed the Royal Air Force Musuem, where else can we visit that’s similar?
There are several other museums that are free to visit and within an hour of Milton Keynes – you can find them all on the free museums section of this website.
I'm Laura, mum to two boys aged seven and five. I run this website independently and free from advertising in addition to my day job. If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways you can say thanks and support Milton Keynes Kids.
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