Based on the former site of RAF Doncaster, the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum is home to a significant collection of aircraft and helicopters covering the whole of aviation history. Right from the first years of early planes, right up to technologically advanced vehicles of the modern day.
The museum is home to biplanes flown at the 1909 Doncaster Airshow, which was the first of its kind to be held in the UK. There are also Military-grade fast Jets such as the Harrier and Meteor, as well as examples of Civil light aircraft from around the world.
There are examples found at South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum that are unique in preservation, along with a wide range of familiar favourites, sections of aircraft like cockpits and even interactive exhibits that can be enjoyed throughout the year. There really is something for everyone!
Whether sunshine or rain, the museum is a great attraction for the whole family. The onsite shop includes a small cafe, serving hot and cold beverages, cakes, snacks and ice creams, meaning patrons can really make the most of their stay.
The refurbished museum is fully accessible for both wheelchairs and pushchairs, meaning that no matter what age or ability you may have, a great day out is guaranteed for all.
Originally opening as a civil airport in the 1930’s, the museum’s current buildings were built in 1938 by the RAF in preparation for what would become the Second World War. Although it had not been declared, Britain’s military was getting ready behind the scenes as the Nazi threat grew in central Europe.
Following the war, the airfield at Doncaster continued to be used by the RAF and subsequently civilian operators. The site on which the museum is currently was fenced off from the airport site to be used as a depot for the local water board. The rest of the airfield was gradually re-developed into the area now known as ‘Lakeside’, but the local water authority offices continued to use the site until the late 1990’s.
When Yorkshire Water finally vacated the site the museum’s staff and directors thought that it was an opportunity too good to miss and so they moved in. While empty, even for a short time, the site had been badly vandalised and so doing up the site presented a major challenge, meaning that the project is still ongoing in some areas, now more than 20 years on. With a lot of hard work and investment, the museum opened to the public under the new banner of ‘Aeroventure’ in 1999.
Since then the museum has gone increased the number of visitors it welcomes every year, with more exhibits and more display space keeping the story alive about British aviation up to the present day.
Volunteers have carried out many restoration projects on exhibits from complete nut and bolt rebuilds to simple cosmetic jobs and everything in between! While some of the projects currently in progress can be seen by the public, most are worked on inside the museum’s onsite workshop which isn’t currently open to everyone.
There is a flight simulator room which is popular for whole families, giving people the chance to be a pilot. The simple controls and program are suitable to children of all ages, from 5 to 55 and even older! The museum shop has refreshments, books, videos and model aircraft kits.
Special events are hosted throughout the year, and visitors can always check on the comprehensive website before they visit to see what’s on. However, if people can’t make the events, there is always something to see and do, including quizzes for younger visitors.