Looking for ideas for the upcoming October Half Term break? How about a visit to Muckleburgh? Enjoy North Norfolk’s Andy shares his experience in his first ever blog:
One Sunday in August, the boys of our household (three quarters of the household, actually) were ‘encouraged’ to make our own plans and provide Mum with some well earned rest. I thought that visiting a place that offered an historical educational experience, with numerous military vehicles on display (as well as a cafe and a play area) sounded ideal. So, equipped with picnic lunch we headed to The Muckleburgh Military Collection in Weybourne on the North Norfolk Coast.
Personally, I had not visited Muckleburgh for many years so was eager to return.
The entrance to The Muckleburgh Military Collection is – to the boys’ delight, guarded by the first of many tanks. Driving down the tree lined road (Muckleburgh Hill), you are immediately transported into a world of militaria, with the 1948 storage compound on your right (used today for workshops and vehicle restoration), and the radar and NAAFI building straight ahead.
We were greeted by fabulous 1940’s music at the museum entrance and headed in. After a quick browse in the shop and a photo with the ‘soldier on guard’, we made our way to the Weybourne Camp Display room.
With a fantastic model of the camp in the centre of the room and history adorning the walls there was plenty to capture the eyes and imagination.
It is important to mention (and I did brief the two boys beforehand), that climbing on any equipment in the museum is not permitted (very sensible as, apart from anything else, the vehicles are getting on a bit and do need to be protected) and they should look out for moving vehicles. That said, there are interactive elements to Muckleburgh – in the next room was an Air Raid Shelter with gas masks to try on. Little Man posing in a gas mask is quite terrifying, let me tell you.
With a good look at “Copenhagen” a full scale wooden model of the thoroughbred charger ridden by The Duke of Wellington at Waterloo (on loan from the Rotunda Museum in Woolwich), we headed into the BIG rooms! Cue Field Guns & Artillery from WW1 & WW2. The boys were amazed by the scale of the guns and the model aircraft suspended from the roof. The vehicles seemed to get bigger and more impressive as we went along.
Not being able to get onto the equipment did not hamper the experience at all. Plenty of doors, windows, hatches, etc. were open to peer in, and some vehicles were illuminated inside to enhance the view. With a bit of lifting by me, the boys could see all.
Conveniently located half way through the collection is the Cafe and the children’s play area. A mural (‘The Muckleburgh Mural’) of The History of British Tanks takes pride of place on one very large wall of the Cafe – well worth a time studying. In the other corner a scary looking bear!
After snacks (and coffee for me) we headed outside for some playground fun. You’re treated to some great views over the former Weybourne Military Camp, Airfield and sea.
After our little stop, we headed back inside to the stunning Ammunitions Collection and the equally fascinating Naval & Land Warfare Models. The models really seemed to grip the boys imagination and took me back to my younger days of model making. We really enjoyed reading all the naval vessel names!
The final rooms on our journey house the very impressive Armourded Cars, Guns and Tanks. Here, two plaques caught my eye – one depicting the comparative fighting strength of the Luftwaffe (massive) and the RAF (not as massive) and a second showing the number of aircraft lost on each side. Makes you think. Look out for them.
Back in the shop, we bought a little souvenir and headed out for a well earned lunch. We’d spent a really good couple of hours at Muchkleburgh and the boys loved it. It was entertaining and informative (inspired plenty of questions asked about WW1 and WW2).
I personally could have spent longer with this collection of some 150 tanks, guns and vehicles, in addition to the light weapons, ammunition and other displays on offer. I will definitely be back to spend more time studying the fascinating Medmenham Collection of RAF Reconnaissance.
On leaving The Muckleburgh Collection, we passed the Military Vehicle rides in action. Unfortunately we could not do the ride this time as Littlest Man was not tall enough, but the rides are said to be “bumpy but fun” taking in the campsite and lasting about 15 minutes. One for the future – another good excuse to return!
We decided to head off to Holt Country Park for our picnic lunch and so ended what was a great way to spend a Sunday Morning. Military History is important to us all for so many reasons and it is shared here in a fabulous privately owned collection. Well worth a visit.
It is worth noting that dogs are welcome at Muckleburgh, but not in the museum. However to discourage dogs being left in the cars, kennels and water are provided with a refundable deposit.
The Muckleburgh Military Collection.
Weybourne Camp (off the A149), Norfolk, NR25 7EG.
Tel: 01263 588210 (Shop: 01263 588284).
Muckleburgh is open until 3rd November 2013 10am – 5pm with last Admissions at 4.00 pm.
Adults £8, Children £6 (Under 5’s FREE).
Please note that there are no Lorry Rides or Tank Demonstrations on Saturdays.