Yorkshire Air Museum – History and Education in one place

The Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial is an aviation museum in Elvington, York on the site of the former RAF Elvington airfield, a Second World War RAF Bomber Command station. The museum was founded, and first opened to the public in the mid-1980s.

The 20-acre site includes two aircraft hangars, the original RAF Elvington control tower, memorial gardens, a café built in the old Officers Mess, displays and many other things to see and do, including of course around 60 aircraft and vehicles, and the Air Museum averages around 60,000 visitors each year, and is dog-friendly.

The Air Museum is home to the only Halifax Mk III still in existence – this contemporary of the more famous Lancaster bomber, would have flown from RAF Elvington during WW2 on hundreds of missions with unfortunately only around 50% of these making it back safely. 

Visitors can also see the Victor Tanker, a large striking V-winged jet, which was built in the 1950’s and flew through to the 90’s, being used in the Falklands War as a tanker and to re-fuel British and American jets in the 1991 Gulf War.

Yorkshire Air Museum offers educational visits for school children, and it has an educational team who offer different topic threads such as WW2 or the history of flight, and they take the children around the site. This visit includes the opportunity for the children to go inside a Douglas Dakota, and they can sit on the seats where Paratroopers would have sat, and be put through their paces as if they were WW2 Paratroopers!

The aim is to provide pupils at all Key Stages appropriate information and access to knowledge to meet their needs. The team plans each school visit individually with the school and tailors its activities to the curriculum, ensuring that the pupils gain the most out of their visit.

At the heart of the Air Museum is the three-storey air traffic control tower, which was built in 1942 and is one of the main attractions. It looks exactly the same as when it was built, and the Museum is about to launch a ‘Save our Tower’ campaign, aiming to raise £100,000 to help to restore the control tower, including replacing the windows and rendering on the outside. As this is a listed building, these need replacing like-for-like and this is obviously a costly business.

Next year the Museum will be taking delivery of an Avro Shackleton, which was the post-war forerunner of the Nimrod. These mighty 4 engine propeller aircraft patrolled the seas around the UK, looking for enemy submarines as well as helping with search and rescue operations. 

For a wonderful and educational day out, the Yorkshire Air Museum is a fascinating place to visit.

For more information:

T 01904 608 595