After enjoying the refreshments, we then headed to the Vehicle Conservation Centre. This part of the museum is relatively new. I have been going to The Tank museum at Bovington for a number of years and before the Vehicle Conservation Centre the tanks not yet restored were left in a yard on site. There was no shelter for these tanks and so they were continually being battered by the British weather, their condition deteriorating. Since the building of the centre, the tanks and military vehicles are being restored by volunteers and the centre has modern technology so that the temperature is controlled in order to help preserve the vehicles. During Tankfest days, you are able to walk amongst the vast collection without barriers and see the size of them for yourself. It is worth going to Tankfest just to see these as the centre is not normally open to the public the rest of the year.
With plenty more to see, we then had a look around the various stalls, selling a huge range of things from books and remote control tanks to clothes and children's toys. There are also quite a few stalls where you can get original and replica military items from uniforms to weapons.
Situated next to the stalls is the living history area, where re-enactment groups have set up 'camp' as it would have been throughout the tank years in many different nationalities. If you are into your history, this is a really great place to expand your knowledge, as the men and women in their 'camps' will be more than willing to talk to you about the lives they are re-enacting.
By lunch time I have just got around looking at the site (Not including the museum itself), so we then take our place on the grass bank to watch the arena displays. It is such a wonderful sight to see these incredible machines driving round the arena, giving you an insight into how mighty they once were. One of my favourite parts of the day and my most looked forward to time is when they do the 'main battle'. Every year is a different theme whether its modern warfare, the cold war or either of the world wars. These create the most amazing atmosphere amongst the visitors and if you didn't really understand the events of the time being re-enacted ... you will by the end of it. I have never seen an arena surrounded by thousands of people fall a deadly silent before as happens at Tankfest as the drama unfolds. It really is something to be seen...
Rather than talk about individual vehicles I thought I would just share a few of the photos I took during the event below.
|Vehicle Conservation Centre|
|Fury - The latest exhibition|
|The museum includes other warfare weapons as well as showing an insight into the daily life of a soldier|
This is such a good family day out with something for all the family. As a bonus, if you keep your ticket from the Tankfest event, you can then get into the museum free for the rest of the year. Therefore I would highly recommend looking at the Vehicle Conservation Centre, the re-enactment camps, stalls and arena events and then come back another time to see the museum properly so that you can take your time as it really takes a whole day to look around it properly.