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Aviation nerd in London, England. What to see?

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Aviation nerd in London, England. What to see?

Old 18th Dec 2022, 12:22
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Yes, to second other recommendations, the Science museum is worth a look. It's not the Smithsonian, but they have at least one really historic aircraft, the Vickers Vimy that Alcock and Brown crossed the Atlantic in:

https://collection.sciencemuseumgrou...plane-aircraft
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 13:04
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As an American Duxford would be really good as it has a very very strong US content, partly because this area of UK (East Anglia , the area north and east of London) was home to the 8th AirForce in WW2 and there are still US bases in area today.

If you can make the trip out, fast trains to Cambridge from Kings Cross station take an hour and then a taxi is best but do check opening times. Christmas is a much bigger deal in Uk than the USA and lots of places close on additional days.

i wish you good luck with the weather too

PB
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 13:21
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All the above look like good suggestions. Would add https://www.solentsky.org in Southampton, quite "doable" in a day by train, if they are operating, from Waterloo Stn in London. Would echo the advice to check opening times over the Christmas / New year period.
Enjoy your trip what ever you choose to do. Oh, the "fired up" Lightning could be a challenge too far...Used to be done at Bruntingthorpe but now closed.....

Last edited by Planemike; 20th Dec 2022 at 08:22.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 13:39
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There is a brilliant spot to watch the short field landings at London City Airport - take the DLR to Cyprus station and walk south five minutes through the University campus until you get to the water front. The airport is immediately in front of you.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 13:47
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I dont have a problem with any of the recomendations but please check opening times before you travel.

It is Christmas and I guess many places will be shut. And we may have rail strikes!!

Enjoy your trip.
I was going to mention both these points, which tend to happen in the UK at this time of year. The tubes are working, so an Oystercard will get you here there and anywhere within a huge range of Central London, but outside zone 6 (Zones 1-6) you have to pay separately for transport. Depending on where you're staying in London might influence where you can get to outside the capital, as getting across the city can often take as long as getting to the outside the city destination due to various factors.

That said, all the suggestions are great, you'll be spoilt for choice!
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 14:08
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I suggest that as there will be limited time, the rest of the family to consider, Christmas closing times and potential rail strikes, it would be best to limit visits to within easy reach of the Underground network, however appealing other potential locations may seem.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 14:14
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Originally Posted by DHfan
I suggest that as there will be limited time, the rest of the family to consider, Christmas closing times and potential rail strikes, it would be best to limit visits to within easy reach of the Underground network, however appealing other potential locations may seem.
Sound advice. May whet the OP's appetite for a longer return trip when the weather is also more clement....
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 14:47
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Hendon, Duxford and Old Warden would be my suggestions. Those three would cover 95% of the aviation interest in the entire S of UK imho.
If I were to miss one of those it would be Hendon as both Duxford and Old Warden are museums with active aircraft. Rent a car and do those two with an overnight stay in a pub in between...they're not far apart.
But for a visiting American and short of time I'd suggest Old Warden is the one with unique content unavailable in the USA. More or less all the rest can be seen back home.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 14:55
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If you go to Duxford, you may also wish to include a brief visit North Weald on the way. It defended Londoon against Zeppelins and Gothas in WW1 and was a key fighter station in WW2, also hosting two of the US Eagle squadrons, as well as Norwegians, Canadians Czechs and Poles. The Battle of Britain and Band of Brothers were both partly filmed there too. A nice English tea should be available at The Squadron.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 15:44
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For the OP, unfortunately, as others have said, you're arriving at a notoriously difficult time to travel any distance in the UK, plus, there's a bit of a travel hiccup or two at the moment.

However, Hendon will keep you occupied for a very long time....the Sunderland alone isn't something you will want to just give a quick glance around...fascinating aircraft
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 15:52
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Depending on your level of nerdness, take the tube to Hatton Cross, and enjoy aeroplanes passing overhead every 90 seconds or so.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18817472

It's close to the threshold of 27L at Heathrow. I can't recall if/when they swap to 27R when on westerlies. It might be worth finding out.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 16:09
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Originally Posted by Midland 331
It's close to the threshold of 27L at Heathrow. I can't recall if/when they swap to 27R when on westerlies. It might be worth finding out.
Yes, they swap from 27R to 27L (or vice versa) when on westerlies, as your linked article makes clear. That happens daily at 3 pm.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 16:27
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Yes, they swap from 27R to 27L (or vice versa) when on westerlies, as your linked article makes clear. That happens daily at 3 pm.
You get a superb view from Craven Cottage (Hammersmith end)
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 17:10
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Quality History Science Museum Spitfire and Hurricane

Originally Posted by ZFT
The Flight section of the Science Museum is well worth a visit
The science museum has two very historic machines that can be viewed up close.
Both are genuine BoB veterans and in near original condition.
Hurricane KW-Z was a 615 machine that flew from Kenley, and P9444 flew with 72 Squadron.
In fact P9444 also 'visited' Kenley much later for the Film Reach for the Sky.
There is something significant with the London location as both machines flew within sight of the capital on ops and of course London itself became a main target that changed the course of the Battle.
615 (County of Surrey) squadron was a Kenley resident whilst, 72 Squadron was Biggin and Croydon based during that hectic time.
Of course if you are that close to Kenley which is the most original of the 11 group airfields left then a visit there really ticks all the boxes, and you can walk over the entire airfield area when gliding is over. (Croydon and Biggin only 15 mins away !!!)
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 17:12
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A lot is possible from London, but if you want to play it safe with travel times, stick to RAF Museum Hendon (Colindale tube station), The Science Museum (South Kensington) and the Imperial War Museum (Lambeth North). If you want some other non-aviation but military-themed options, consider HMS Belfast (opposite the Tower of London) and the Cabinet War Rooms (just off Whitehall). All within the London tube network. You can easily do the Brooklands Museum from central London as it is 30 mins away from Waterloo station, just jump on any train that stops at Weybridge, its a 25 min walk from that station. A lot of the other options are further afield and be sure to check opening times. I know I've been burned by that at one point when FAST turned out not to be open on weekdays (or something like that, I cannot remember exactly when I found myself nearby and tried to visit).
If you've got room in your suitcase and the ladies haven't maxed out your credit cards, the Aviation Retail Direct shop at Hillingdon is within the M25, so you could say it's within London.... see: https://www.aviationretaildirect.com...opening-hours/
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 18:21
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Originally Posted by Brutha
Yes, to second other recommendations, the Science museum is worth a look. It's not the Smithsonian, but they have at least one really historic aircraft, the Vickers Vimy that Alcock and Brown crossed the Atlantic in:

https://collection.sciencemuseumgrou...plane-aircraft
This would be a good idea as many of the OP's countrymen believe that Lindbergh was the first to cross the Atlantic by air.

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Old 18th Dec 2022, 18:32
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Originally Posted by DHfan
This would be a good idea as many of the OP's countrymen believe that Lindbergh was the first to cross the Atlantic by air.
They would be no better informed if they believed that Alcock and Brown were the first either...
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 18:43
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Ask them who invented jet aircraft.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 20:18
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Ze Germans ? ;-)
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 20:47
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you may also wish to include a brief visit North Weald
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