There is simply nowhere in the world quite like The Tank Museum, Bovington. Because here you will find the world's best collection of tanks, bar none.
The Museum aims to bring the history of tanks to life and does so not just through the countless static displays and interactive exhibitions in its vast, purpose-built halls, but with action-packed live displays in its arena.
Nowhere else in the world will you see so many historical vehicles still running - and Tankfest, the Museum's biggest annual show, features not just vehicles from the Museum's huge collection, but those of restorers, too.
The Museum describes itself as 'the biggest day out in history' - and with justification.
Firstly it is the original home and training base for the UK’s armoured forces, and has held this position since shortly after the tank itself was invented. The Museum collection was first started in the 1920’s, and so can claim to be the oldest such museum in the world. Its collection of First World War tanks, from the original prototype, ‘Little Willy’ through the Mark I (the first operational tank) to the Mark V and V* of 1918 is unique.
The inter war period contains important production and experimental vehicles and the World War II section has the most important tanks of all the belligerent powers. There are many unique or near unique vehicles in the expanding home of the collection, many of which are still running – the Vickers Medium, the Tiger 1, Valentine, Crusader, Stuart, Matilda II, T34 – to name but a few. The collection is kept right up to date with examples of all the main tanks from 1945, including a run of Centurions, Chieftains and Challengers and other Cold War examples such as the M60, M105 T54/55 and Leopard.
Keeping the tanks running is an important goal of the museum and one which fully occupies a workshop staffed by full-time and volunteer specialists. Every Year, in the summer, the Museum hosts its largest event – ‘Tankfest’. Each year a selection of the vehicles is prepared and run over a weekend, along with others from private collections. Each year thousands of visitors can experience the once in a lifetime chance of seeing unique and historic tanks moving under their own power. This opportunity to get close up and personal with the tanks makes for an unforgettable experience for old and young alike.