Friends of The Tank Museum Events

As a Friend of The Tank Museum, you are invited to a variety of special visits to other military collections and historical locations. 

Neil Grant, Friend of The Tank Museum and administrator for the Friends Facebook page, has created a fantastic schedule of events for 2022. To keep prices low, these are not exclusively Friends of The Tank Museum events and spaces are limited. Please get in touch with Neil at [email protected] with the event you would like to attend and your membership number. Due to the ongoing pandemic, outdoor events have been emphasised this year

There are a couple of events which will happen this year, but we’re still waiting confirmation of the dates. We’ve indicated when we hope these will happen, but they depend on the dates we are given by third parties and may change. We’ll try to update this as soon as the dates are finalised

TIME
ACTIVITY
LOCATION
15 March

Army Small Arms School (suggested donation)

A guided tour around the army’s own gun collection, which contains examples of pretty much every weapon the army has issued, tested or captured since the 1870s. Even better, it’s a working collection, not a museum, so there unless something goes wrong, there will also be a handling session with some of the weapons.

Near Warminster
20 March

Combined Military Services Museum (pay on the gate)

A military museum near Maldon, Essex. Note that this is indoor, and the museum advise that all visitors will need to wear masks.

Near Maldon
3 April

Avebury, Silbury & West Kennet (Free)

A guided tour of these related Neolithic monuments in Wiltshire. Note that this visit will involve a certain amount of walking, and that we may cut it short and skip West Kennet if the weather is bad.

Wiltshire
9/10 April

International Living History Festival (pay at the gate)

Lots of historic re-enactment groups and trade stands selling equipment for re-enactors. The festival is held at the Avoncroft museum of historic buildings in Worcestershire, including more than 30 historic buildings rescued from destruction and re-built on the site.

Worcestershire
10 April

Prehistoric Butchery (£80)

Last year we did the “flint knap your own prehistoric stone tools” workshop, so we’re following up with teaching you how to use stone tools to butcher a deer. You don’t have to have attended the previous workshop – flint tools will be provided, and using modern steel is an option for those who just want to learn basic butchery. Our instructor will be Karl Lee, who appeared on the recent “Attenborough & The Mammoth’s Graveyard” TV programme.

TBA April

Western-style Carbine shooting (£40)

A chance to shoot full bore western style lever action carbines at an indoor range in Birmingham. The session starts on. .22 semi-automatics to teach the basics, before switching to the full bore (.357 & .44) carbines. Ammunition is included; you will get around 40-50 shots, with a variety of weapons.

Birmingham
30 April

Falconry – Hawks and Owls (£70)

A half day hands on session with a number of birds, located in Northamptonshire. Places are limited to ensure each participant gets enough time with the birds, but we’ll try to arrange extra sessions if not everyone can fit on the first session.

Northamptonshire
1 May

Stonehenge Stone Circle Special Access I (£15)

Something unusual for the old Celtic festival of Beltane! This is one of two special stone circle access trip that allows a limited number of people inside the rope barriers around the monument, and into the circle itself. We get an hour inside the circle for photography etc, and there will be a short, optional talk pointing out some features not normally visible from outside the circle. Note that this trip is in the early morning before the circle opens to the public and will allow you to visit the exhibition at the visitor centre afterwards, which the evening trip in September won’t.

Somerset
2 May

Crofton Beam Engines (£10.75)

A visit to the Victorian static steam engines near Marlborough, which pumped water for the Kennet & Avon canal on a day when the engines are in steam. Please get it touch as soon as possible if you are interested so we can book tickets.

Near Marlorough
8 May

Horse Archery Day (£185)

This session is Hertfordshire. It starts with a short ground session teaching the specialist horse archery draw before mounting up and learning to apply the knowledge on horseback. You need to be able to ride to at least a basic standard for this session – at beginner level the targets are in a straight line, and the horses are well trained to run straight.

Hertfordshire
15 May

The Shuttleworth Collection (£18)

A visit to a collection of historic aircraft and vehicles in Bedfordshire.

Bedfordshire
21 May

Tank Driving Day (£250)

Pretty much what it says on the tin – you get to drive four different military vehicles – a Chieftain tank, Abbott self-propelled gun, Stormer load carrier and FV432 APC. This is located near Winchester, no prior experience necessary.

Winchester
22 May

Vulcan Bomber Cockpit Experience (£15)

A chance to get on board one of the most iconic British cold war aircraft. We get a walk around the aircraft with the ground crew, who will talk us through how to arm, fuel and maintain the aircraft. We will then see the aircraft being powered up from ground power, so we can see control surfaces move, open the bomb bay doors etc. Finally, we get into the cockpit for a talk from former air crew about flying the aircraft operationally.

29 May

Greenham Common Control Tower & Walk (donation)

A visit to the control tower of the old Cold War airbase, including an exhibition. and a walk around the rest of the former airbase to look at other areas.

Berkshire
18 June

Fresh Air Sculpture Festival (£10)

A festival of modern outdoor sculpture, with over 100 pieces on show and located in Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire
15, 16 & 17 July

Bronze Age Axe Casting (£100)

A day with an experimental archaeologist learning to make a mould from clay, melt the metal using period technology and then cast your own bronze axe that you can finish by removing the flash and take away at the end of the day. Each course is only one day, but we’re running three days as only a limited number of people can be accommodated on each.

24 July

Axe & Knife Throwing Workshop (£45)

A half-day session learning to throw tomahawks, axes and throwing knives, located near Bath. No previous experience is necessary, and the session will be tailored to the people attending, so if you want you can concentrate on axes or whatever.

Near Bath
14 August

Indoor Skydiving (£75)

This basically uses a wind tunnel standing on its end, with fans powerful enough to suspend you in the air as if you are flying. You start by learning to hold a stable position, then you will be shown how to manoeuvre yourself within the air column and even do aerobatic manoeuvres. The package includes 4 sessions in the tube, each roughly as long as a free-fall from 18,000 feet.

17 August

Army Small Arms School (suggested donation)

A guided tour around the army’s own gun collection, which contains examples of pretty much every weapon the army has issued, tested or captured since the 1870s. Even better, it’s a working collection, not a museum, so there unless something goes wrong, there will also be a handling session with some of the weapons.

Near Warminster
20 August

Vintage Bus to Imber Restricted Village (pay on day)

In 1943, the village of Imber (near Warminster) was requisitioned for military training. The civilian population was never able to return after the war, and the village continued to be used for urban combat training. As it is in the middle of a restricted military area, it is not normally accessible except for one day a year, when a special service runs trips out to it in vintage red routemaster double decker buses. Date to be confirmed after Easter.

Imber
10 September

Stonehenge Stone Circle Special Access II (£15)

This is the second of two special stone circle access trip that allows a limited number of people inside the rope barriers around the monument, and into the circle itself. We get an hour inside the circle for photography etc, and there will be a short, optional talk pointing out some features not normally visible from outside the circle. Note that this trip is in the early evening after the circle is closed to the public, which may work better for people coming a long way, but means you won’t be able to visit the exhibition at the visitor centre afterwards as you can with the May trip.

Somerset
21 September

Pottery Day (£60)

A one day pottery course for beginners, with no prior experience necessary, located in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire
25 September

Tank Paintball (£110)

You will be assigned to a team of three for each tank (actually an FV432 with a Rarden turret, which is close enough for this purpose) and everyone gets to try out as driver, gunner and commander. You then sort out which of you takes each of those roles as you take your tank out to do paintball battle against other teams in their tanks. The day also includes free entry to the Armageddon Military Museum. Located near Rugby.

Rugby
16 October

Vickers Machine Gun Collection (£10)

A definite must for anyone with an interest in the Great War, this gives us an afternoon of hands-on access to a very extensive collection of…well, pretty much everything to do with these iconic weapons. The visit will include a talk and handling, as well as setting up a Vickers and demonstrating it using blank ammunition. The collection is located near Swindon.

Near Swindon