Hi my lovely readers!
There are some odd, weird, quirky and out of the ordinary museums out there in the world. One of these museums, at least for me, must be the Tank Museum in Dorset, UK.
This museum is fully dedicated to anything tanks and military vehicles related. It has a vast collection of tanks from WWI to today, from different eras, countries, uses and sizes. Around 300 tanks are on display, some even come with the shells used for the tank on display.
The Tank Museum in Dorset is one of the best tank museums in the world, which also offers life displays of tanks as well as explosives. They have a few shows on every year where visitors can also sit in the tanks and I believe even drive around in them a little. I definitely must go back for one of these events.
The Tank Museum has several permanent exhibitions that cover the history, use and importance of tanks through time. These include for example “The Trench Experience” where visitors can experience what it used to be like being a soldier during WWI living and fighting in the trenches.
Another one is the “Warhorse to Horsepower” exhibition, which tells the story of warhorses, what they were used for and how the tanks ultimately displaced them. Other exhibitions cover the different war times such as WWII, the Cold War or most recent Afghanistan.
I found the stories of war veterans particularly interesting as you hear from them directly what they had to go through and do during the war and how it affected them. Some stories were heartbreaking and others just unbelievable and also inspiring.
Visitors will also pass an exhibition called “The Tank Factory”, in which they will learn about tank design and production. For instance, the mobility, protection as well as gun power of a tank is very important and affected by its design.
If a tank is build using weaker and lighter material, it will be able to move and manoeuvre faster. However, at the same time the tank’s structure is less stable and safe and if hit easily destroyed.
11 ICONIC TANKS
You will pass hundreds and hundreds of tanks, but there are a few that are of particular interest and importance. The picture above shows you those eleven tanks that you should keep an eye out for. These are:
1. Tiger 131 – Most famous tank of the museum. It is the only running tank of its kind remaining.
2. Mark IV – Most numerous British tank of WW1.
3. Challenger 1 – First British tank to enter Kuwait in 1991. Holds record for tank-on-tank kill at a distance of 3.2 miles.
4. Challenger 2 – Main Battle Tank of the British Army. It entered service in 1998.
5. Sherman DD – Was fitted with a flotation screen and propellers to allow it to swim. was invaluable during the Normandy landings in 1944.
6. Sherman M4 – Was one of the key tanks in WWII.
7. Little Willie – The world’s first ever tank. It was a prototype.
8. Mark I – Only surviving example of its this type of tank that saw action during WWI. Also world’s first tank.
9. Centurion – A tank cut in two to allow you to see the inside.
10. Tog II – Only one of its kind built for WWII and heaviest tank in the museum.
11. T-34/85 – Most produced tank of WWII.
SHOP, RESTAURANT AND CAFE
The museum has a small cafe where you can buy some sandwiches, snacks and refreshments nested in between the exhibitions. There is a seating area to relax a little and eat. The setting is quite cool as you are sitting between these big and impressive looking tanks.
There is also a restaurant on-site by the entrance, which overlooks some of the tanks. We wanted to eat there as the setting was great, but unfortunately arrived a little late. We had to choose between eating and seeing the exhibitions.
When you finish your museum visit, there is of course a gift and souvenir shop on-site. The shop was rather big and had different souvenirs ranging from almost anything such as mugs, postcards and magnets to toy soldiers, puzzles, t-shirts as well as tank models and much more. I even saw a beer bottle that had a tank label on it.
I would also like to point out that the museum is fully wheelchair accessible. There are ramps everywhere so wheelchair users can get around the museum easily and experience it.
Furthermore, for people with walking difficulties and possibly the elderly that cannot stand and walk for hours and hours, wheelchairs can be hired free of charge.
- Opening times: Open daily from 10 am – 5 pm. Closed 24, 25 and 26 December. Opening times are subject to change
- Admission: Adults (17+) £15, Child (5 – 16) £9, Children under 5 go free, Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) £41 and Family (1 Adult + 2 Children) £28,75
- For more information please visit: The Tank Museum
- How to get there: By car – Linsay Road, Bovington, Wareham, BH20 6JG. The tans museum is signposted by the Brown tourist signs when coming from from Dorchester, Blandford, Weymouth and Poole. Free car parking available on-site. By Train/Bus – The closest train station is Wool, which is about 1,5 miles away from the museum, a 30 min walk away. Local busses operate on a seasonal timetable.
FINAL THOUGHTS …
The Tank Museum was a really interesting museum that I stumbled across more or less. It is truly unique and I learned a lot about tanks, what the different shapes and sizes are used for and much more.
I would definitely recommend this museum as the collection is huge, there is so much to see and I believe we even did not actually see all the tanks as we had to rush through a bit and there is a sort of hanger on-site as well with more vehicles that are being restored.
An extra bonus was the validity of the entrance ticket. It is valid not just for one visit, but for multiple! The ticket is valid for one year from the date of purchase. Hence, you can visit as often as you like to and see the exhibitions. Of course, special events are excluded, but my partner already said he wants to go back.
It is an interesting museum for everyone, but I did notice that the majority of visitors were boys and men. 😉