RAF Biggin Hill Museum Reopens With New Name And New Look

By M@ Last edited 12 months ago

Last Updated 03 April 2023

RAF Biggin Hill Museum Reopens With New Name And New Look
A gallery of aircraft stuff

(Extreme) south London has a new-look museum, as a revamped Biggin Hill reaches for the skies.

If Colindale's RAF Museum gets your propellor spinning, then here's another bright dot for the radar — at the opposite end of London. The former fighter station of Biggin Hill in Bromley has reopened to visitors after a major refit.

The new-look museum tells the stories of the brave pilots and ground crew who served at the air base during the second world war. Biggin Hill was at the forefront of the Battle of Britain, protecting London and the south-east from Luftwaffe aggression. It's estimated that 1,400 enemy aircraft were shot down by Spitfire and Hurricane crews from Biggin Hill.

New displays also look beyond the war to explore Biggin Hill's role before and after. The site served, for example, as an early home of wireless research. It continued under RAF control until the 1970s, though with increasing use by commercial aircraft after Croydon Airport shut down in 1959.

A man brushes snow off a Spitfire
A thin layer of snow was enough to disrupt our train line and prevent us getting to the press view... but the museum soldiered on...

Visitors to the new-look museum can explore its history through a range of new displays, including a "Messerschmitt engine from a Luftwaffe aircraft, the first secret radar interception, a 50kg bomb, an Anderson Shelter air raid installation, an English Electric Canberra ejector seat, Prisoner of War papers & unseen letters, logbooks and diaries".

The museum also includes a permanent gallery to the little-known histories of women who served in the Battle of Britain. The base's St George's RAF Chapel of Remembrance can also be visited, as well as gardens, a cafe and shop.

Another view of the galleries

The refit comes with a change of name. The former Biggin Hill Memorial Museum is now to be called the RAF Biggin Hill Museum & Chapel. We reckon it's London's most southerly museum, even closer to the Kent border than Down House.

Make sure it's on your radar.

RAF Biggin Hill Museum & Chapel is on Main Road, Biggin Hill TN16 3EJ, London Borough of Bromley. If coming from central London, the best route is a train to Bromley South from Victoria (17 mins), then catch the 320 bus from outside the station (about another 20 mins). Open Tue-Sun, 10am-5pm