Bentwaters Cold War Museum
Building 134, Bentwaters Parks
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 2TW
+44 7588 877020
Fax +44 1394 460355
The Bentwaters Cold War Museum will be opening its doors for 2018 on Sunday 1st April and has become a popular attraction for visitors to the Suffolk coastal area and for those interested in aviation and military installations previously denied access to the public.
The museum is based in the United States Air Force (USAF) hardened command post on the former Bentwaters airbase which closed after the withdrawal of the USAF in 1993 and is believed to be the only such building open to the public in the UK and Europe.
Run by volunteers from the Bentwaters Aviation Society, the building is a large bunker made available to the public to view following 3 years of work to renovate and refurbish and opened in 2007. Further information on the society can be found at www.bentwaters-as.org.uk and for the museum at www.bcwm.org.uk
The main “War Operations Room” and “Battle Cabin” have been restored to original condition including the original decontamination showers and airlocks allowing members of the public to see these once top secret, high security military installations in detail in an eerie atmosphere evoking the Cold War period.
Other parts of the building have been turned into exhibition rooms, covering the history of RAF Bentwaters from W.W.II until the base closed in 1993. Included in this are histories of the units that operated from the airfield, particularly the 81st Fighter Wing. Also included is the other airfield which was part of the “twin base” complex – RAF Woodbridge, again covering the period from W.W.II until the present day. Of particular interest to families is a detailed timeline display of the Cold War which has proven of great help to those studying this period at school.
Further exhibition rooms feature information on the “Special Operations/Rescue Squadrons” that were based at RAF Woodbridge, and also the “Aggressor” Squadron based at Bentwaters.
Outside are the aircraft exhibits where the RAF Harrier and Phantom can be seen, and are joined by the USAF A-10 Warthog which was a familiar sight in the skies over Suffolk when this iconic type operated from Bentwaters and Woodbridge.
There is plenty of car parking space and the museum is suitable for all ages and has the added benefit of being an ideal all weather visitor attraction.
Plans for 2018 will see airframes continue to undergo work to bring them up to museum standard and it is expected some will be completed by the end of the year. The café and shop continues to be a great success offering light refreshments and souvenirs and card payment facilities.
Following on from the success of previous years, the open dates for 2018 have now been finalised and the museum will continue to open on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month and Bank Holiday Sundays & Mondays, from April until October.
Full details of the 2018 dates are as follows:-
April Sunday 1st, Monday 2nd, Sunday 15th
May Sunday 6th, Monday 7th, Sunday 20th, Sunday 27th, Monday 28th
June Sunday 3rd, Sunday 17th
July Sunday 1st, Sunday 15th
August Sunday 5th, Sunday 19th, Sunday 26th, Monday 27th
September Sunday 2nd, Sunday 16th
October Sunday 7th, Sunday 21st
Opening times 10.00 – 16.00
Child (14 & under) Free
Further information for the museum can be found at www.bcwm.org.uk
On arrival at the security barriers, please follow the BCWM signs to the museum car park, or follow the instructions from the security staff as required. The airfield is private property, so please follow all signs and do not access prohibited parts of the airfield unless instructed to do so by museum staff or the security staff
|BAe Harrier GR.3
English Electric Lightning F.53
Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt II
Gloster Meteor F.8
Hawker Hunter GA.11
McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.2
McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.2
SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1A