During the summer holidays we did a treasure hunt around Aldershot, which is only a ten minute drive from where we live. The hunt started outside the Aldershot Military Museum but it was sadly closed on the day we did the hunt, so we decided that we would add it to our list of places to come back and visit. Shortly after we made the trip and finally got to experience the museum.
Aldershot Museum is part of the Hampshire Cultural Trust and at the moment you need to book a slot in advance online to avoid overcrowding. We also paid for our family ticket at the same time. The first slot was a generous 10am – 2pm and we arrived soon after the Museum opened. The ticket office was marked with signs and two meter distances were clearly marked on the wheelchair friendly ramp into the first building.
After checking in with friendly staff, the children were given a map each and we were briefed on the one way system through the galleries. There were also colour pictures of interesting artefacts and military equipment for the children to spot in the galleries on the back of the map. This is something that always keeps the children interested during an educational day out.
In the first gallery we found out about the local history of Aldershot military town and the surrounding towns. It was full of historic photographs of locations as they were more than a hundred years ago that we now drive by regularly. We got to learn about the story of the local area as a military town and the first British army bases from the 1850’s. The galleries also touched on nearby Farnborough and its links to early British aviation and the pottery industry of Cove and Farnborough.
The second wooden building we came across was the Military History Gallery. There are sections recreated to show how barracks would have looked through the years and the type of equipment available to the British Army of the time.
There were so many photographs, exhibits and even a recreation of a living room from the original married quarters. Each section was decked out with authentic artefacts and details that really took you back in time.
We followed the map to the first outside section and saw a real Challenger tank up close and learned about the role the tanks played in more modern conflicts, such as the first Gulf War.
Each of the armoured vehicles on display has an informative board with it, detailing the history of the actual machine in front of you, along with fun facts and figures about the class of vehicle as a whole. For example, did you know that during the conflict, British Challenger Tanks are thought to have destroyed 300 Iraqi tanks without a single loss?
There were more vehicles on display in Montgomery’s barn including US Jeeps, large field guns and a British-made field ambulance. There’s even a horse drawn cart that has been used in various TV and movie productions!
The tour continued outside with more armoured personnel carriers and smaller tanks, each with its own unique history. The last large building to see was the Boyce Building, which used to be home to the Regimental Administration Offices. It was relocated to Aldershot Military Museum thanks to a heritage lottery fund grant. It was pretty empty when we visited, but one end was setup as the admin office complete with a picture of Her Majesty The Queen overlooking the desk.
We ended the trip out with a go on the WWII inspired assault course – based on the army physical training corps. With a solar powered timer at the start, the children loved trying to beat their time! There was a rope net to crawl under, logs of different heights to navigate and even a rope swing to master. Troy must’ve done the course half a dozen times, each one a second or two quicker then the last.
We had a great day out at Aldershot Military Museum and with unlimited readmittance for a year it’s great value for money too. Just remember to pre-book online at the moment even if you already have a ticket! We would definitely go back to while away a few hours as it has something for everyone and there are even hot drinks available.
You can find out more about Aldershot military museum and book tickets over on their website.