Aviation history in Southampton

Solent Sky Museum

We were on holiday in East Dorset and it was raining and rather cold. So we decided to drive over to Southampton and with a little trepidation we decided to visit the Solent Sky Museum. The warm and friendly welcome was a welcome respite from the cold weather.

We’re not really into aircraft, but decided because of the weather it was the right time to visit an indoor museum. It was either this or learning about the Titanic at the SeaCity Museum. Solent Sky won out because it was cheaper!

White Quadplane

The enthusiastic volunteers were really friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. They really made our visit, helping us to sit in the various cockpits and describing the history of the different planes. As well as history they also talked about the science of flight and flying. Our children were engaged and learnt stuff. Actually we also learnt stuff too, the history of the blitz on Southampton and the Spitfire factory was moving and well told.

Our favourite plane was the huge Solent Sandringham, the Beachcomber, that dominated the museum.

Short Sandringham

With it’s huge wingspan you couldn’t miss it. What was really nice was that we were allowed inside the plane and sit on the seats and feel like what it would have been to be a passenger on a flying boat in the 1950s. One of the excellent volunteers allowed us up into the cockpit to sit in the pilot seats.

The children trail was fun, yet challenging, and actually a really nice prize at the end. Before we knew it we had spent two hours exploring the various aspects of the museum including a section on the local police and fire services.

RAF Tiger Moth

It was excellent value at £17.50 for a family of five and nice of them to recognise that sometimes families number five. We had an enjoyable time at the museum and would love to go again (as we gift aided our entry, we get free entry for a year), so we might.