Come and explore the airfields and hangars of the National Museum of Flight, Scotland’s top attraction for lovers of supersonic experiences and fascinating stories. The history of aviation is at your fingertips at the National Museum of Flight, with a world-class collection of aircraft, interactive galleries, and hangars to see during your visit. This museum is a stellar place to spend an afternoon in East Lothian and caters to adults and children alike!
Let’s cover all the essential details to know and the attractions to look forward to while you’re there.
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Details to Know
The National Museum of Flight is one of the top national museums Scotland offers visitors and holiday-goers, with plenty of things to do during your trip. The museum is open to the public and highly accommodating, with dogs (assistance or pet) allowed on the premises as long as they are on a leash.
Parents will also be glad to know there are newborn changing facilities on site, and the National Museum of Flight has extensive wheelchair access throughout its visitor centre, hangars, and other buildings.
How to Get There
This national museum is nestled within East Lothian, close to Scotland’s capital of Edinburgh. Visitors can use various methods of transportation to reach the National Museum of Flight, from cars to buses and trains.
Those driving from Edinburgh should follow the A1 South Exit after reaching the Abbotsview Junction. Continue following the A1 until you reach the roundabout at East Linton. Take the third exit onto the A199.
Your next turn is on the B1347, after which has signs that lead to the National Museum of Flight. The museum has free parking unless a special event is ongoing. The journey to the National Museum of Flight should take about 40 minutes.
The closest station to the National Museum of Flight is at North Berwick via ScotRail, from which the National Museum of Flight is about a 20-minute drive.
A bus drop-off and pick-up point zone within the National Museum of Flight grounds lets you easily reach the museum without any tertiary travel necessary. The 121 bus services that travel between Haddington and North Berwick between April and September.
There are also regular bus routes between Edinburgh, Haddington and North Berwick.
The National Museum of Flight is open throughout the year, but opening times vary throughout the year. Between April and October, the National Museum is open daily between 10:00 to 17:00. For the rest of the year, the National Museum of Flight is open only on the weekends between 10:00 to 16:00, with exceptions on holidays.
Adult tickets cost £14.00, Children (5 – 15 years old) tickets cost £9.00, and Concession tickets cost £12.00. Children under 5 enter for free. If you book online through the museum website, you’ll be able to receive a discount on your ticket.
Now that you know where to go, how to get there, and how much it’ll cost, let’s focus on the reason you’ll want to visit the National Museum of Flight — the attractions! Here are the top things to do while at the National Museum:
Discover the Hangars
The historic hangars of the National Museum of Flight are home to several family-friendly fantastic flightcraft and aeroplanes throughout history. Once you’ve traversed the National Museum of Flight’s runway, you can enjoy a varied collection of aircraft with numerous interactive galleries and exhibits to watch.
Discover a world-class collection of aircraft vehicles, with the following as some of the highlights you can experience:
The Concorde Experience
The Concorde is a plane that once flew at supersonic speeds through the Scottish skies and lives in stories of people who love innovative aviation. The Concorde exhibition at the National Museum of Flight lets you get up close and in person with a Scottish Concorde G-BOAA.
Board Scotland’s Concorde and learn about the history of what a transatlantic flight was like for its passengers and crew and the supersonic legacy that the Concorde has left behind. As the fastest aircraft recorded, looking at Scotland’s Concorde to discover what transatlantic flight entailed is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Concorde Experience near the plane will inform you about all the fascinating history surrounding this infamous flight, from the race to break the sound barrier to Concorde films that show it in action. Before leaving the Museum of Flight, don’t pass up an opportunity to see this outstanding aircraft.
The National Museum of Flight covers a massive array of civil aviation history, so much so that it can be overwhelming to know where exactly to start! Luckily, the Museum of Flight has outlined three distinct museum trails for you to walk if you want a bit of structure to your tour. Of course, if you’re going to freestyle your tour and visit the friendly & fantastic flight gallery, that’s perfectly fine, too!
I Spy Under 5s Trail
If you visit one of Scotland’s top attractions with some young ones, then the I Spy Under 5s trail is a great place to start. The trail takes you through the museum, with plenty of things to spot in a game of I Spy, including different colours, shapes, and aeroplanes to count.
Grab a museum trail map and take photos of the National Museum of Flight.
Flying into the Future Trail
The Flying into the Future trail is an informative and engaging trail that covers how engineers are making aero engines and other aircraft parts more efficient and environmentally friendly. This tour is superb for young and older teens interested in engineering and planes to spark their passion.
Grab the museum trail map and fly into the future of flight with your friends and family while in East Lothian.
Second World War Trail
Another popular family trail is the Second World War Trail, which covers all you need to know about the fascinating history of the East Fortune Airfield and its involvement by the Royal Air Force during World War II. The history of this site is absolutely fascinating, with plenty of highlights to see, including the blast shelter and parachute store.
The East Fortune Airfield once held over 2,000 people during its height in 1944 — Hear the fascinating stories from their war times through the Second World War Trail.
Learn about East Fortune Airfield
The East Fortune Airfield played an extremely important historical role as a bastion for Scottish troops during the First and Second World Wars. East Fortune Airfield was a prominent location during the First World War due to its proximity to the North Sea, and in September 1915, the very first aircraft arrived at the airfield hoping to win the fortunes of war.
Only a year later, the airfield was notified of an aerial attack on Edinburgh and set out. War bells rang, and a pilot set out to defend the city but was unable to find the threat. Throughout the 1916s and 1917s, the airfield was further developed to include a 200-metre air hanger, more aeroplanes, and barracks for soldiers.
During the Second World War, after a short period of peace, the East Fortune Airfield was an operational training base for New Zealand, Australian, Canadian, and Polish soldiers. Young cadets would be trained at the airbase in de Havilland Comet Dominies.
There’s plenty more to learn about the history of aviation, from the First World War to the present day and immerse yourself in the war gallery at the National Museum of Flight. The people’s personal stories about the De Havilland Comet and Avro Vulcan pilots are astounding.
Enjoy an Outdoor Picnic
Feeling a little peckish while exploring the National Museum of Flight? An outdoor picnic area lets you experience the gorgeous views of the aeroplanes, weather permitting. Keep in mind that no gas stoves or barbeques are allowed on-site.
Once you’ve enjoyed your picnic bonanza, ensure you pick up all your rubbish responsibly.
Grab a Bite to Eat at the Aviator Cafe
For those who don’t want to bring their own picnic food, why not enjoy a bite to eat at the Aviator Cafe? The cafe has locally sourced, organic, and fair trade food to enjoy at the restaurant, from paninis, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, and even a selection of soups to enjoy as well.
Don’t tackle one of Scotland’s top attractions on an empty stomach; grab a little something for you and your friends at the Aviator Cafe at the National Museum of Flight.
Take on the Assault Course
That’s right, the National Museum of Flight has its very own assault course! Here, you can put yourself to the test and see how you would have fared as a young cadet. Before you set out your day with a visit to the Assault course, ensure that you’re cleared on how to use the safety equipment.
There is hand sanitiser on the Assault Courses premises for your convenience.
More Scottish Museums to Visit
- Black Watch Museum
- Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
- Edinburgh Writers Museum
- Glasgow Science Centre
- Highland Folk Museum
- Museum of Childhood
- Museum of Edinburgh
- Museum of the Isles
- Museum on the Mound
- National Mining Museum
- National War Museum
- People’s Palace
- Riverside Museum
- Royal Yacht Britannia
- Scottish Maritime Museum
- Shetland Museum & Archives
- St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
- Surgeons’ Hall Museum
- V&A Dundee