Image © Imperial War Museum London via Facebook

Top 5 Military Museums

London Calling

Whether you’re a corporal in the making, an aviation enthusiast or perhaps an expert in espionage, we’ve got something for everyone on our of the Top 5 Military Museums.

1. Imperial War Museum

Image credit: Metro
Thought provoking and contemporary, the Imperial War Museum remains one the leading authorities on conflict and its implications in modern times. Combining groundbreaking exhibitions with their permanent collections, the IWM leaves you with a lot to think about. Much more than a collection of memorabilia and military equipment, the IWM collections break down complex conflicts in our recent history, addressing them through a variety of different mediums. While permanent collections largely focus on conflicts from WW1 onwards, discussing and analysing the impact of the world wars, the Holocaust, espionage and war heroes, the temporary exhibits address the recent past, depicting experiences in the Helmand Providence and the ‘War on Terror’. Relevant, eye opening, and thought provoking the IWM is top of the list for those who want to explore more than just a brush stroke version of history.

2. Royal Naval Museum Portsmouth

Image credit: National Museum of the Royal Navy
Royal Naval Museum Portsmouth is situated in Portsmouth’s historic docklands. For those with relatively little knowledge of the Royal Navy, the museum gives you a richly detailed history, spanning back to King Alfred’s first sea battle in 882. Exhibitions are interactive and varied, covering the golden era of maritime warfare. Highlights include the Nelson Gallery, which explores Horatio Nelson’s public and private life through a mixture of personal possessions, portraits and audio-visual exhibits. Additionally, to celebrate the centenary of the formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, the museum is hosting a special exhibition celebrating the role of women in the navy. Among the pioneering women featured is Hannah Snell, who disguised herself as a man to serve in the Royal Marines!

3. Winston Churchill’s War Rooms

Image credit: Getty Images
Winston Churchill’s War Rooms offers a unique insight into the plethora of secret activities that took place in the Second World War. Visit the secret bunker and museum that explores the story of Winston Churchill’s life and lasting impact on our perceptions of WW2. Permanent exhibitions let you explore the Cabinet Rooms that protected Churchill and his colleagues as they plotted towards Allied victory. From noiseless typewriters to gas mask adapted switchboards and Churchill’s favourite cigars, the artefacts in the War Rooms reveal what life was like for the veterans who worked in secret with Churchill. Audio-visual displays allow you to sample Churchill’s rousing wartime speeches and read hundreds of letters exchanged between Churchill and his wife Clementine during wartime.

4. National War Museum Edinburgh

Image credit: mbell1975
National War Museum Edinburgh is situated inside the legendary Edinburgh Castle and houses a fantastic array of military museums and exhibits. Entry to the National War Museum is included in entry to the castle and covers over 400 years of colourful Scottish military history. Visitors can explore the history of the formidable Highland warrior – an icon of Scottish identity – their dramatic story told through an array of stunning paintings, weapons, uniforms and of course bagpipes! As well as an impressive armory the museum houses a variety of exhibits on the role of the Scottish military throughout history, including defense of the British Empire and WW2.

5. Bletchley Park Museum

Image credit: Geograph
Bletchley Park Museum is perhaps not the most obvious choice for the military top 5, but it covers one of the most important events in WW2 – the cracking of the German Enigma Code. Alan Turing and the team of code breakers at Bletchley Park worked to decrypt German secrets to help the allies win the war. The Bletchley Park Museum allows you to view the original German Enigma machines as well as a reconstructed bombe machine used to decrypt German codes. Highlights include the restored code breaking huts, which feature interactive and interpretive exhibits that allow visitors to experience how it worked under-pressure during wartime at Bletchley Park.

Your inbox deserves a little culture! Get our monthly newsletter