THORPE CAMP VISITORS CENTRE

Thorpe Camp tells many stories. Because of the nature of some of the exhibits it is more suited to older children and we recommend that educational visits should focus on the home front.

We offer a range activities related to the Home Front for young people at Key Stages 1,2 and 3.

We also offer activities that relate to the Royal Observer Corps:

  • Seeing
  • Communication
  • Communicating
  • RADAR


Specialist area
Thorpe Camp was attached to the airfield at Woodhall Spa where 97, 617 (Dambusters), 619 & 627 Squadrons were based.

Ideal age range for visits
Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre is designed for aviation enthusiasts and people with an interest in the Second World War. Some of the exhibits are not suitable for young children so we strongly recommend that teachers visit the site before taking children and making sure it is suitable for their class or cohort.

There are ample facilities for children such as a café, toilet facilities etc and there are volunteers on hand to help answer questions but Thorpe Camp does not provide staff to lead education visits.

What is unique about this venue?
Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre has displays portraying every aspect of life at the airfield and there are special bays for each squadron that was stationed here.

The Centre tells the story of what it was like to be on an RAF base in the Second World War. It also provides an insight into the lives of civilians with displays on:

  • a commando's underground shelter
  • a domestic kitchen, home canning advice
  • a bomb-damaged house with bomb crater in front of it
  • air raid shelters
  • gas masks
  • posters: women wanted for evacuation services, knitting for the RAF
  • ARP station
  • wedding dress made out of parachute material


The centre has displays on escapee, Royal Observer Corps and Arnhem. There is also an area where aircraft are being restored and a new building being built.

On site
ATC Display
Cycle shed (old).


Main Hall A -The RAF

  • Records of the four squadrons.
  • Dioramas of the airfield, Tirpitz, Mohne dam and details of raids.
  • Many models of aircraft including. a Vulcan.
  • Air-sea rescue. Link Trainer.
  • NAAFI & shop, also Prisoners of war and escapes.
  • Radio Shack.


Main Hall B - Civilian Life

  •  ARP Post, Royal Observer Corps Post
  • Bombed house. Anderson Shelter.
  • Typical kitchen of those days. Pill-box models. Secret resistance display.
  • Also - the story of Arnhem.


War Memorial.
Toilets.
Picket-Hamilton Fort.
"Their Past - Your Future" exhibition. 
Fairchild Argus, Arrestor Gear and 1940's radio sets.
Workshop.
Small aircraft, Polish  contribution, bombs, wireless and telephone equipment. Meetings Room.
Recovered engines, V2 display,
Home Guard.
Model aircraft.
Lancaster cockpit and artefacts
Lightning.
Bloodhound (surface to air missile).
Ticket Office (entrance).
EWS - Emergency Water Supply.
Memorial Propeller at the car park entrance.

Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre has ample parking, toilet facilities, a shop and large outdoor spaces. Ideally school groups should be no more than 30 young people.

Visitor information

Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre is open every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from Easter to the end of September and on Wednesdays during July & August from 1 to 5 pm. Entry just £3. Please call Sean Evans on 01522 790569 to book a school visit.

Ample free car parking.
Guided tours can be arranged for organised groups at other times.

 

Venue Checklist

View / download risk assessment checklist (PDF)



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