The Tank Museum | Friends of The Tank Museum Events

Friends of The Tank Museum Events

Book now for 2019

Neil Grant, Friend of The Tank Museum and administrator for the Friends Facebook page, has created a fantastic schedule of events for 2019. 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 neilgrant2@yahoo.co.uk with the event you would like to attend and your membership number. 

March
Army Small Arms School (13 March, 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.

Vickers Machine Gun Collection (24 March, £5)
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, and may (no promises) include setting up a Vickers and demonstrating it using blank ammunition.

April
Escape Room Swindon (6 April, £20)
Can your team use their analytical and deductive skills to escape from the locked room before the time limit elapses and the air runs out? Note that there are multiple escape room set ups at the site, so you can do both the April and September dates if you want.

The Silk Merchant's house, Marlborough (13 April, £7.50)
A guided tour of the restored 1653 house and garden of Thomas Bayly, Silk Merchant. We'd suggest rounding this off with a cream tea in the picturesque high street, but that's up to you

Western-style Carbine shooting (28 April, £30)
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.

Stonehenge Stone Circle Special Access (Sunset) (5 May, £15)
This is one of two annual 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 will be after the monument closes to the public, and will finish more or less at sunset. There is a similar trip just after sunrise in September.

Battle Archery (18 May, £35)
This is effectively the archery equivalent of paintball – after a short practise session, teams of players are equipped with fencing masks and safety tipped arrows to take part in tactical skirmishes where they shoot, dodge and reload while moving from cover to cover, attempting to eliminate the other team.

June
Defence Academy Shrivenham (4 June, suggested donation)
This includes guided tours of the artillery hall and the armoured vehicle hall at the defence academy, which contain excellent representative collections of British and foreign equipment.

Axe & Knife Throwing Workshop (29 June, £35)
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.

July
VIP Spitfire & Hurricane Experience (17 July, £70)
A private guided walk around of restored Second World War Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, guided by the team who restored them, plus actually getting to sit in the cockpit of the spitfire and being talked through how to fly it. Located in Kent.

Armourgeddon tank museum (21 July, £6)
A visit to a small collection of Second World War and Cold War vehicles, some of which will be running during our visit. Located in the Midlands.

Crofton Beam Engines (28 July, £8)
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

August 
Fort Nelson (4 August, parking charge only)
Fort Nelson is one of the Victorian forts built to protect the vital Portsmouth dockyards from the landward side, and now holds the artillery collections of the Royal Armouries – everything from medieval cannon to railway guns. This session includes a guided tour of the fort and the collection, including firing demonstration of several artillery pieces.

Raglan Castle (11 Aug, £7 pay on day)
A chance to visit one of the most impressive ruined medieval castles in South Wales, just across the border.

Vintage Bus to Imber Restricted Village (17 August, 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.

September 
Escape Room Swindon (7 September, £20)
Can your team use their analytical and deductive skills to escape from the locked room before the time limit elapses and the air runs out? Note that there are multiple escape room set ups at the site, so you can do both the April and September dates if you want.

Vulcan Bomber Experience (14 September, £20)
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.

Avebury, Silbury & West Kennet (22 September, Free)
A guided tour of these related Neolithic monuments in Wiltshire. Note that this visit will involve a certain amount of walking.

Stonehenge Stone Circle Special Access (Early Morning) (29 September, £15)
This is one of two annual 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 will be before the monument opens to the public, so it is a very early start and you will need to be at the site by 0630. There is a similar trip in the evening in May, for those who don't want to get up so ridiculously early. 

October 
Tank Driving Day (6 October, £175)
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. Near Winchester, no prior experience necessary. 

To Be Confirmed 
Tudor Baking (TBA, £35)
Learn to make Tudor bread and cakes and bake them in a wood-fired oven in a historic property at the Chiltern Open Air Museum. The course lasts half a day, and you get the other half day free to tour the rest of the museum

Hands-on Falconry (TBA, £45)
A half-day session with a falconry school at a historic property in Northamptonshire. We will receive a talk about falconry, then fly three different birds (which ones will vary from day to day), which will actually fly to your hand. Definitely one to take the camera for! Note that this activity is weather dependent – basically, the birds don’t fly in heavy rain. Due to the very small group size, in order to allow each person a decent amount of time with each bird, we will find out who is interested and then arrange a time to suit those people.

“Artistic” Blacksmithing Day (TBA, £140)
This is a basic blacksmithing course with no prior experience required, run near Marlborough. As part of the course, you will make a metal ornament of your own design, hence the “artistic” label, to distinguish it from farriery or bladesmithing type blacksmith work. As the work is fairly small scale, no particular physical strength is required.

Polo Taster Day (TBA, £120)
This starts with an explanation of the rules and learning to hit a polo ball correctly on a wooden horse, before mounting up and learning to apply the knowledge on horseback. Note that the venue for this is likely to be in the Midlands, but may change. Being able to ride is a requirement for this session.

Horse Archery Day (TBA, £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. Being able to ride is helpful but NOT a requirement for this session – at beginner level the targets are in a straight line, and the horses are well trained to run straight.

Zombie Boot Camp (TBA, £99)
As part of a small group of survivors, armed with simulated modern weapons, you have to fight hordes of zombies in a 32,000 square foot purpose-built gaming area including streets, bunkers and tunnel complexes, some of them filled with disorienting lights and smoke. Then you get made up as a zombie, and get to try and eat the brains of the next group of poor fools..... Note that this is located in the West Midlands, and is a relatively physical day.

Visit to the French Tank Museum, Saumur (TBA, circa £500)
This will probably be a long weekend trip – travel down one day, two full days at the museum with an English-speaking guide and travel back on the last day. The price will include travel, hotels, admission and guide. We're still in the planning process on this and much will depend on how many people want to go, but it is likely to be toward the end of the year.