Explore IWM Duxford outdoors at aviation museum's trail

The American Air Museum at Duxford, built by architects Fosters and Partners in 1997.

The American Air Museum at Duxford, built by architects Fosters and Partners in 1997. The following year, it was awarded the Stirling Prize RIBA Building of the Year Award and in 2020 gained Grade II* Listed status. - Credit: © IWM

Visitors will be able to explore an outdoor trail steeped in 100 years of history at an aviation museum.

IWM Duxford is set to welcome visitors back to enjoy the great Duxford Outdoors next month.

In line with government guidance, Imperial War Museums' Cambridgeshire site will open its outdoor spaces to the public from Monday, April 12.

Vickers Super VC10 being repositioned for filming.

Vickers Super VC10 being repositioned for filming. The airliner was designed to operate on long-distance routes from shorter runways. - Credit: © Duxford Aviation Society

Duxford Outdoors will give visitors the chance to walk the length and breadth of this mile long site, take a self-guided trail through nine 'discovery zones’ and keep their eyes peeled for historic and contemporary aircraft taking to the skies across the airfield.

From the architecture of the Grade II* listed First World War hangars and the Foster & Partners designed American Air Museum to the active airfield which first received the Supermarine Spitfire, IWM Duxford is steeped in over a century of history.

A Hawker Typhoon Mk 1B in fighter pen at North West corner of RAF Duxford, 1942.

A Hawker Typhoon Mk 1B in fighter pen at North West corner of RAF Duxford, 1942. - Credit: © IWM CH 18271


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Europe’s largest air museum, Duxford Outdoors offers visitors the opportunity to stroll its expansive grounds, follow a self-guided trail of discovery, and chat with IWM staff and volunteers who will be on hand to impart their extensive knowledge.

Walking visitors through nine ‘discovery zones’, the trail will take you past the Flying Aircraft hangar to explain how historic aircraft are restored and looked after, introduce the museum's collection of commercial airliners, explore the airfield’s role during the Battle of Britain and Dunkirk via the site of the original Ops Block, and see the architectural intricacies of IWM Duxford’s buildings up close.

During the Battle of Britain, this hangar was used as the Station Theatre where regular cinema shows, ENSA performances.

During the Battle of Britain, this hangar was used as the Station Theatre where regular cinema shows, ENSA performances, dances and boxing tournaments were staged. In 1968 during the making of the Battle of Britain film, an explosion simulating an air raid on an airfield destroyed the hangar and all that can be seen of it now is an empty expanse of concrete. - Credit: © IWM HU 58249

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As an operational airfield, there may also be the chance to spot a variety of aircraft take to the skies.

Information as to what may be flying on the day will be available on arrival.

The IWM Shop will be open for visitors to collect their site map and browse and purchase a range of books, toys and gifts.

Counting The Cost memorial by Renato Niemis, lining the path outside the American Air Museum, Duxford.

Counting The Cost memorial by Renato Niemis, lining the path outside the American Air Museum, Duxford. The sculpture comprises 52 glass panels engraved with the outlines of aircraft, one for each plane missing in action in operations flown by American air forces from Britain during the Second World War. 7,031 aircraft are depicted, and are displayed by Air Force groups or group. - Credit: © IWM ART 16644

A catering van will also be on site offering a variety of refreshments which can be enjoyed at one of the many picnic spots.

Duxford Outdoors will be open five days a week (Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm), with the exception of the weeks commencing April 12 and May 3, when the museum will resume a seven-day operation.

The museum remains closed and only outdoor spaces are accessible.

Tickets to Duxford Outdoors are priced at £15 and must be purchased in advance via the website iwm.org.uk 

The section of Mulberry Harbour on display outside the Land Warfare Hall, Duxford.

The section of Mulberry Harbour on display outside the Land Warfare Hall, Duxford. This 24m section was part of the floating, flexible roadway used to bring supplies and men to Normandy for the D-Day operations. - Credit: © IWM

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