Summer is here and that means it’s a great time to get out and about exploring the rich military history of the UK. There are sites located around the country which mix history with education and simple fun, while celebrating everything that the armed forces have offered to the UK. The following are just a few of those related to the Army.
Royal Hospital Chelsea
Where: As the name suggests, the Royal Hospital Chelsea is based in Chelsea, London, at the following address: Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4SR
Why: The Chelsea Pensioners and their vivid red uniforms are one of the most striking visual symbols of the history of the British Army. Their base in Chelsea is still home to more than 300 veterans who have served in places such as Korea, the Falklands and Northern Ireland, but it’s also a museum detailing the rich history of the army from the 1700s onward. Guided tours are also available, during which you’ll be regaled with tales from a resident Chelsea Pensioner at the same time as enjoying the stunning architecture of Sir Christopher Wren.
The National Army Museum
Where: The National Army Museum is located close to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, making it the perfect choice if you want to spend an entire day exploring the history of the Army. The exact address is: The National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HT
Why: The free to enter National Army Museum has just been the subject of a multi-million pound renovation, and is now the home to five stunning galleries containing thousands of objects relating to every aspect of the history of the British Army. A rolling programme of exhibitions and workshops adds to the appeal, as does the Play Base, where kids can tackle an assault course and take part in activities like preparing food in the cookhouse or exploring an army truck.
Household Cavalry Museum
Where: The Household Cavalry Museum is located in the heart of London, close to many of the city’s green spaces and leading tourist attractions: The Household Cavalry Museum, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX
Why: The Household Cavalry Museum is an excellent example of a stunning historical site which also doubles as a thriving place of work. The building dates from 1750 and visitors get the chance to see troopers working with their magnificent horses in the 18th Century stables. The museum itself includes a collection of stunning rare objects, interactive displays and first-hand accounts of the lives of the soldiers based there.
Where: Bletchley Park is located in the heart of Buckinghamshire, close to Milton Keynes. The exact address is: The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3 6EB
Why: Bletchley Park was home to the UK code breaking efforts during World War II. A visit there offers the chance to explore an atmospheric Victorian estate, complete with imposing Manor House, at the same time as learning about the exploits of the British code breakers, and the huge part they played in winning the war. Interactive exhibits allow visitors to explore the code breakers huts, recreated as they would have been during the war, and ‘see’ and ‘hear’ the code breakers tell their own fascinating story.