World War 2 Museums in the UK & More

D Day Museum: Portsmouth, UK

Portsmouth D Day Museum

Photo showing outside view of D Day Museum: Portsmouth City Museum, Museum Road, Portsmouth

The Portsmouth D Day Museum is the only one of its kind as it solely deals with the D Day Landings specifically giving visitors the low down about how the landings were planned, executed and what the result was. The Normandy D Day Landings were an important stage of the war that influenced the outcome greatly.

The museum opened in 1984 on the fortieth anniversary of the landings. There are many interesting exhibits none more so than the Overlord Embroidery that depicts scenes from the war, while a commentary service via Dictaphone is available to hire so that visitors can have the history of the tapestry explained in full. The museum holds many artefacts and items from the war giving visitors a comprehensive look at what life was like during that peiod.

The Portsmouth D Day Museum is both educational and inspiring and opens every day of the year except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. There is plenty of parking space plus children under the age of seventeen do not pay if accompanied by an adult who will paying an entry fee. View the video below.

Address: Museum Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2LJ, UK

Tel: +44 (0)23 9282 6722

The Imperial War Museums in London, Manchester and Duxford, UK

The Imperial War Museum

Photo showing newly refurbished Imperial War Museum in London - 2014: Lambeth Road, London.

There are five bases that come under the banner of The Imperial War Museum. There are three in London, one in Duxford in Cambridgeshire and one in Manchester. The exhibits include memorabilia and items from the First and Second World Wars, while tours around the sites will educate and inform those of us who seek information and education regarding the conflicts.

IWM London

Located on Lambeth Road in London the IWM is an amazing place to spend a day looking at and learning about things that happened during the world war conflicts. The museum relates the story of war from the First World War through to more recent conflicts such as the war in Afghanistan. The IWM opened firstly in 1920 and moved to its present location in 1936 adding to exhibits as time passed and new conflicts erupted.

Visitors can also see an art display called Undead Sun by Jane and Louise Wilson that was commissioned to mark the hundredth anniversary of World War One. IWM London also houses an Exhibition of War Curiosities plus an exhibition telling the story of how ordinary people lived and coped through World War 2. All this and more plus free entry too!

Schools and groups are welcomed here along with families and individuals, while adult and professional groups along with overseas groups are also catered for. The IWM London is constantly changing, while details of how you can help or become involved can be found at the website.

Address: Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 7416 5000

IWM HMS Belfast Ship Museum

The Imperial War Museum: HMS Belfast

Photo showing HMS Belfast Museum Ship - The Queen's Walk, London.

HMS Belfast is a floating museum on the River Thames in London and is part of the Imperial War Museum group. Visitors to HMS Belfast can explore all nine of its decks to see just what life was like on board this amazing war ship. HMS Belfast served during D Day offering cover for troops as they landed on the beaches of Normandy and was also used in many Arctic convoys too.

The Belfast has an interactive operations room which is amazing to see, while the Gun Turret experience really makes us realise just what men on board this vessel went through during manoeuvres in World War II.  Feel the action and experience the fear! Taking a look around this retired war ship is a must do when visiting the English capital.

Address: The Queen's Walk, London, SE1 2JH, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 7940 6300

IWM North Manchester

There is plenty to see and do at this Manchester site of the IWM from the Horrible Histories Rotten Rationing Big Picture Show for the kids, through to the History of Conflict from 1914 to the present day. The multi award winning IWM North Manchester is free to enter and offers many exhibits, art displays and interactive features that will keep visitors busy for the whole day.

IWM North Manchester opened in 2002 and is the most recently opened of the IWM sites. Why not scale the inside of the amazing Air Shard that offers spectacular views of Manchester from its viewing platform or take a look at the 360 degree experience that is the Big Picture Show. Families, groups, school parties and individuals are all welcome here. Why not take a look at the IWM Manchester website to see what you can do during your visit?

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Trafford Park, Manchester, M17 1TZ, UK

Tel: +44 (0)161 836 4000

IWM Duxford

This site is the best preserved World War II airfield in Britain and is located in Duxford Cambridgeshire. The history of the site reveals the achievements made by airmen throughout the war, while the site features historic buildings that really take us back in time along with iconic never to be forgotten aircraft flown in those bygone days.

IWM Duxford also has an amazing tank collection along with fabulous military vehicles and ammunition. Families are welcome here too with plenty for kids to see and do, you can even climb on board a plane, while the playground area, activity zone and restaurant are great places to relax after you have seen all the exhibits. Details of opening times plus what's on can be found at the website.

Address: Cambridgeshire, CB22 4QR, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1223 835 000

The Churchill War Rooms: London, UK

The Imperial War Museum: HMS Belfast

Photo showing the Churchill War Cabinet Room, King Charles Street, London.

Visiting the Churchill War Rooms is a very exciting experience as visitors can actually see the original Cabinet War Room and the actual bunker where Churchill and his cabinet would gather to shelter from the blitz. Visitors will be amazed at what went on underground while the rest of London endured the blitz, while the museum also features the life of Winston Churchill in great detail plus what Churchill left behind as his amazing legacy.

Located in the heart of Westminster the Churchill War Rooms are a must see for those who wish to learn about every aspect of World War 2. Many aspects of the museum are interactive making learning about the Prime Minister and his war cabinet both interesting and intriguing.

Address: Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AQ, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 7930 6961

Royal Air Force Museum, London

Royal Air Force Museum London

The RAF London museum houses over one hundred historic aircraft and can be found on the site of Hendon's London Aerodrome in Colindale. Planes from the early days through to modern aircraft can be seen here, while kids will experience a great day out as many of the exhibits are interactive with even a 3D cinema on site and a specially themed gallery aimed at youngsters.

The RAF Museum London  welcomes all comers whether it’s a school group, families or individuals. There is plenty to see and do here even for those who are less inclined to have an interest in aviation. Visitors here will learn about past aviation heroes and heroines, while gazing in awe at the many aircraft old and new on display.

Royal Air Force Museum London: Milestones of Flight

Photo showing The Milestones of Flight exhibition which is a comprehensive display of the major events that took place in the history of aviation.

Take a look at how the First World War was fought in the air or marvel at the life sized model of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet which is the only one on display in the world just now. All these amazing sights come free to visitors as the RAF Museum charges no entry fee! Why not take a look at their website in order to plan your visit ahead?

Address: Grahame Park Way, London, NW9 5LL, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 8205 2266

Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford

The Cosford museum houses seventy amazing aircraft, the National Cold War Exhibition and many interactive displays for visitors to engage with, learn and enjoy. Once again there is no entry fee to pay, while visitors will see the world's oldest Spitfire plane along with the legendary Lincoln Bomber!

Royal Air Force Museum Cosford: Supermarine Spitfire

Photo showing Supermarine Spitfire Warplane which is on display at the RAF Cosford Museum.

The Vulcan, the Victor and the Valiant planes are all housed here and visitors can even stand underneath the Vulcan Bomber which is an awesome experience. Cosford also houses a great missiles collection, while taking a turn at piloting a plane can be experienced in the Fun n Flight Interactive gallery. Further details regarding opening times can be found at the RAF Museums website.

Address: Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 8UP, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1902 376 200

The Violette Szabo Museum, Hertfordshire

The Violette Szabo Museum

The Violette Szabo Museum opened on 24th June 2000 and is dedicated to the memory of Violette Szabo who was an agent of the Special Operations Executive during World War II. Violette was posthumously awarded the George Cross by the British and the Croix du Guerre by the French in recognition of her bravery as she was captured, tortured and executed by the Germans during her second tour of duty at the tender age of just twenty three.

The Violette Szabo Museum is located in a Hertfordshire cottage named Cartref House where Violette spent many happy hours during her teenage years. The museum opens every Wednesday between April and October, while it is possible to join in a six mile walk that eventually leads to the museum where donations may be made to its upkeep.

This museum is dedicated to one of the bravest women involved in spying during the Second World War and is certainly well worth visiting in order to learn about the life of one of the wars true heroines. Further details regarding visiting the museum can be found at the website or by contacting the museum directly via the address and telephone number provided.

Address: Cartref, Tump Lane, Wormelow, Hertfordshire, HR2 8HN, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1981 540477

Eden Camp War Museum

Eden Camp

Located in Malton North Yorkshire the Eden Camp Museum covers war history from 1914 onwards. Eden is one of the largest museums covering British military and social history in the UK and is well worth visiting for those who wish to learn about how we lived and fought back then.

This multi award winning museum is sited within the grounds of what used to be a prisoner of war camp and was established by Stan Johnson who wished to honour those who lived fought and gave their lives during modern day conflicts.

Eden Camp uses all kinds of audio and visual aids as well as themes that attack the senses such as smell and colour in order to portray the history of the wars. Since 1987 when the museum originally opened more and more artefacts have been added meaning it’s a great place for schools, groups and individuals to visit. Bookings can be made online, while the museum is open daily except for the two weeks over the Christmas period. Entry price details and opening times are available at the website.

Address: Cartref, Eden Camp Museum, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 6RT, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1653 697777

Museum of World War II: Boston, US

Visitors to Boston America will surely not want to miss visiting the World War II Museum that charts events of the Second World War from a military angle as well as from the civilian point of view. The museum puts on regular exhibitions such as The French Resistance exhibit or New York City during World War II while, they also have some seven thousand World War II items on display that visitors can actually touch and feel rather than being kept behind glass.

Due to the Museum of World War II’s layout plus the fact that artefacts are uncovered visitors must book in advance in order to tour the museum. War veterans are given priority when it comes to booking, while an audio guide is available so visitors can listen to details regarding all the exhibits. The museum also has a unique archives section that houses letters, diaries, journals, photographs, magazines and leaflets regarding the Second World War. These include

  1. Photograph albums
  2. Propaganda leaflets
  3. Black propaganda
  4. French Occupation and resistance
  5. Russian Invasion
  6. D Day
  7. Douglas MacArthur

Address: 8 Mercer Rd, Natick, MA 01760, United States

Tel: +1 508 651 1944

La Coupole France: Saint-Omer Pas de Calais, France

La Coupole France Museum

Photo showing La Coupole Bunker - Pas-de-Calais, France.

This museum is situated near Saint-Omer Pas de Calais and has a huge section that is dedicated to the Second World War La Coupole is a place that defines what Nazi oppression was in terms of the slave labourers who suffered and died while building the underground facility. The museum also combines factual information along with the scientific elements that influenced the war.

The museum has two routes to follow that eventually lead to the concrete dome. One is the cinematic route that tells the story in pictures and film while the other looks at science that created the V1 and the V2 rockets, predecessors to modern day rocket technology. Another element of this great museum is the memorial to the deported that exhibits photographs and stories of people that suffered such as many Jewish men women and children thought to number eight thousand. This section is harrowing but none the less is a very important part of the Second World War story.

Finally visitors will not want to miss a tour of the Mimoyecques Fortress that is a building designed by none other than Hitler himself. This was to house the V3 bomb that was to be used to destroy London.

Address: La Coupole, BP 284, 62504, Saint-Omer Cedex, France

Tel: +33 (0)3 21 12 27 27

Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, Russia

Museum of the Great Patriotic War Russia

Photo showing Museum of the Great Patriotic War - Moscow, Russia.

This is a relatively new museum by World War II museum standards as it only opened in 1995, while the exhibits and stories come from a Russian perspective detailing their struggle against Germany which entailed many terrible battles. The Second World War was a “Patriotic War” from the Russian point of view, and it is no surprise as the Russian people like many other nations suffered terribly during this violent period.

The Museum of the Great Patriotic War has many interesting exhibits in different areas of the building such as The Halls of Glory and Memory that has lists of those who lost their lives, The Picture Gallery and six Dioramas (three dimensional depictions) of great battles fought in World War II. There are two movie theatres, a hall where veterans of the war can meet and a large exhibition hall. Travellers who are visiting Moscow must find time to visit this unique museum, which is surely one of a kind. 

Address: 121170, Moscow, Russia

Tel: +7 (499) 148-71-73