THE BENTWATERS COLD WAR MUSEUM

The museum is based in the former USAF hardened command post on the former Bentwaters airfield, we believe that currently this is the only such building open regularly to the public in the UK and Europe. The main “war operations room” and “Battle cabin” have been restored to original condition, the BT telephone exchange room, and decontamination showers and airlock are also as original. Other rooms within the building have been turned into exhibition rooms, covering the history of RAF Bentwaters from W.W.II until the base closed in 1993. Included in this are histories of the units that operated form the airfield, particularly the 81st FW.

Another room is dedicated to the history of the other airfield which was part of the “twin base” complex RAF Woodbridge, again covering the period from WWII until the present day. We have other exhibition rooms featuring information on the “Special Operations/Rescue Squadrons” that were based at RAF Woodbridge, as well as the “Aggressor” Squadron based at Bentwaters. A miscellaneous exhibition room has Cold War exhibitions and a Cold War timeline, as well as displays about the 81st Fighter Wing at Shepherds Grove, the USAF Cobra Mist installation on Orfordness, and the 2164th Communications Squadron.

2024 Open Dates & Times
  • Open between 10am and 4pm on:
  • March 31
  • April 1, 7, & 21
  • May 5, 6, 19, 26, & 27
  • June 2 & 16
  • July 7 & 21
  • August 4, 18, 25, & 26
  • September 1 & 15*
  • October 6 and 20

*September 15th is the BCWM Annual Open Day – TO BE CONFIRMED

What are the admission costs?

Adult – £7.50
Carer(x1) – Free
Child (14 & under) – Free
Concessions/Military Personnel – £6.00

We accept debit and credit cards payments(over £5) as well as cash.

Facilities at the BCWM

Toilet facilities are available in the museum, please note that these are the original toilets from when the building was operational.

Disabled access – due to the nature of the building, disabled access is difficult, although not impossible, and a couple of rooms will be inaccessible, but you will be able to look into these rooms from the doorway. Please also note that there are no disabled toilets on site, and the doorways of the toilets are too small to fit a wheelchair through.

Please contact us in advance if you do wish to visit so that we can fully discuss the situation with you, and help to plan your visit.

A copy of the BCWM Access Statement can be found here.

How do I get to the BCWM?

To plan your route to the museum,  you can use Google Maps and enter the postcode IP12 2TW as your destination.

If you use What3Words you can use the phrase “initiates.baths.pills” to find us.

Can I donate to the BCWM?

Absolutely! All donations to the Museum and Bentwaters Aviation Society are gratefully accepted, and can also include Gift Aid. Online donations can be made here: 

Can I bring a dog?

Yes – dogs are welcome but must stay in the Museum compound where we also keep dog bowls for drinking, and are not permitted inside the Museum. However, Guide and/or Assistance dogs are allowed inside the museum.

THE BENTWATERS AVIATION SOCIETY

The Bentwaters Aviation Society (BAS) was formed in 2002 by a group of enthusiasts wishing to keep alive the memory and record the history and heritage of both the Royal Air Force and United States Air Force activity at RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge. Members of the Society also administer and operate the Bentwaters Cold War Museum, which opened to the public on Sunday 27th May 2007.

POPULAR PRODUCTS ON OUR STORE

Admission

Please note that your admission ticket allows you entrance and access to the museum between 10am and 4pm.

Admission to the museum is ticketless – all you need to do is arrive at the museum after you have made your booking, provide your name at the museum entrance and that will be checked against the bookings made for that day.

Admission does not incur any postage costs as they are virtual and confirmed by email.

Admission tickets do NOT include access to the Restoration Hangar tours – they must be booked in person in our shop.

After ordering admission tickets you will be sent an order confirmation email for your records – please check your Junk or Spam email folders to ensure it doesn’t get filed away in there! You will also be sent a reminder of your booking several days before your planned visit by email.

UK/US/Other Email Membership

£20.00

Annual UK Subscription is from January – December each year and by becoming a Member you will get free admission to the Bentwaters Cold War Museum, priority booking access for events, copies of the superb colour 12 paged ‘Command Post’ newsletter published three times a year, invitations to our monthly talks (often including guest speakers), 10% discount in the Diner, a visit to the BCWM restoration Hangar,  membership of the Bentwaters Model Club, and the opportunity to become a staff member/volunteer at the Bentwaters Cold War Museum.

Please note that it can take up to 1 week to process and confirm your new membership.

BCWM Gift Card

£5.00£250.00

Gift card for use at the BCWM. The card can be purchased in various amounts and used for any product from the BCWM online store including admissions. Please note that all gift cards are valid for 365 days. If you already have a Gift Card, you can check it’s balance here.

Select amount This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page

VISIT THE BCWM

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MUSEUM DINER AND TOILET FACILITIES ARE ONLY AVAILABLE TO TICKET HOLDING VISITORS.

Admission tickets are available from our online shop where you can book in advance for any of our open days in 2023. Admission tickets are booked electronically so all you have to do is book and arrive on the day of your booking at the time you choose during the booking process – we will have your details and know when to expect you! There are no physical tickets issued and no postage is required.

If you would like to support us in these difficult times, there is always the option to make a donation or even join the Bentwaters Aviation Society – you can get more details about both here.

When we are open the details below are still relevant:

The museum is open on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month as well as Bank Holiday Mondays, from April 2023. Outside the museum is our shop and snack bar serving a selection of hot & cold drinks and cakes(for ticketed museum visitors only), as well as selling BCWM merchandise and much more!

Group visits are sometimes possible by arrangement at other times, however as the museum is fully run by volunteers most in full time employment, this is only possible subject to volunteer availability and a minimum group size of 30 people. Get in touch with us to talk to us about your groups here using our Contact page.

For former based personnel we will always try to open the museum where possible, so please contact us to let us know that you wish to visit us.

BCWM Prices 2
OPEN DATES
2024 OPEN DATES
March 31
April 1, 7, & 21
May 5, 6, 19, 26, & 27
June 2 & 16
July 7 & 21
August 4, 18, 25, & 26
September 1 & 15
October 6 and 20
BCWM Prices
POPULAR!
Admission Costs
Adult Admission £7.50
Carer(x1) – £ Free
Child Admission (14 & under) £ Free
Concession Admission £6
Military (with Armed Forces ID) Admission £6

CAN YOU HELP THE BCWM?

As a registered charity, the Bentwaters Aviation Society undertakes numerous fund raising events throughout the year, but also greatly appreciate donations from the general public that allow us to maintain, run, and improve the Bentwaters Cold War Museum.

Should you wish to help us by making a donation, you can do so using the button below. All donations are extremely gratefully appreciated.