Our last visit to RAF Cosford was around four years ago, back when the girls were 4 and 6 years old. We decided to re-visit to see what the girls make of it now.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford?
The best thing about visiting RAF Cosford is that admission is completely free! They do ask for donations to keep visits free for everyone, but there’s no pressure. Be aware that you do need to pay for parking, but it’s only £5 for the day and you can pay online in advance.
Although it’s free, you do need to book in advance. COVID-19 really has taken the spontaneity out of life hasn’t it? We booked the week before we visited and there were plenty of tickets available though.
If you’d like to add on a 4D flight experience, it’ll cost just £5 each. We didn’t, as the girls have never enjoyed any 4D experiences we’ve taken them to. Maybe next time.
Like all self-respecting museums, there is of course a gift shop. The girls can’t resist the lure of stationery, so they came away with notebooks, pencils and erasers. I bought a really cool little pack of replicas from WWII, including a ration book and kid’s magazine. When we’ve had free admission I’m more than happy to spend a bit of money in the gift shop to support a museum. There was definitely something there for everyone too: stationery, books, cuddly toys… even gin and leather aviator jackets!
As well as the gift shop, there’s also the opportunity to spend some money on refreshments. We had lunch in the Airfield Kitchen, which wasn’t too expensive. If you’re looking to keep the cost down, there are plenty of picnic benches around outside.
What Can You Do At RAF Cosford?
So, you know that you can shop and eat, but what else is there to do? Obviously, there are a LOT of planes to look at. Not just RAF planes either, but planes from all over. They range from tiny one-man suicide planes through to absolutely enormous bombers. I did wonder how they get the planes into the hangars! There’s information next to each exhibit and volunteers around who are more than happy to chat and answer questions. Some of the exhibits are interactive, with audio to listen to.
As one of the hangars focuses on the Cold War, there are tanks and other weapons to see too. The girls found this particularly interesting as my father-in-law was in the army and my husband grew up on barracks. It gave them some real-life context for what they could see and they love stories about Grandad driving tanks, seeing Grandad’s uniforms and hearing about Daddy climbing on tanks as a child.
As I mentioned, there is a 4D experience, which you can book in advance. We’ve had a go at a few 4D things in the past and the girls have never enjoyed them, so we gave this one a miss. If you have a child who is really excited by planes, it sounds like it would be worth it.
Outside, there is a brand-new playground; aviation-themed of course. As well the usual playground equipment, they have interactive audio instructing children through some RAF physical training exercises. P was quite interested, but far too hot to do any of it! I think had it been a little cooler on the day we visited, the girls would have happily spent a long time playing here.
What Was Our Verdict?
We all had a really good couple of hours here. I do wish I’d realised there were activities to download for us to do, I think it might have extended our visit a little. There are still plenty we could do at home though, so I’m going to bookmark them for another time.
The girls really enjoyed having some freedom to wander around and take their own photos. They didn’t really remember their previous visit, so it was like visiting for the first time. One of their highlights was sitting in the cockpit of a plane; P decided that there are too many controls, so she doesn’t want to be a pilot! They also both like the play area outside and could probably have stayed there for a long time if it hadn’t been so hot.
We think that RAF Cosford is a great place for a family day out and being free makes it even more amazing! If you’re looking to link your visit to a topic then WWII is the obvious one, but of course there are plenty of STEM links too. We didn’t go as part of a topic, but when we do cover WWII we’ll definitely be going back again.