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The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:00 pm
by elderlyfemalerelati1
A cautionary tale for anyone thinking of going to the the new Biggin Hill Museum. We tried this afternoon. No problem, we thought since we know this part of the world fairly well. Less than an hour's drive.
So we followed the signposts for Biggin Hill. A couple of them then nothing. Miles later we had to admit we' d overshot and retrace our steps. Still no signposts but we accepted defeat and put the satnav on. But then there was a funeral, then every school in Kent let out their pupils with every parent's car in Kent blocking the roads. Then we realised it closed at 4.00.
So 1) don't rely on the signposts. There aren't any even to the airfield, let alone the new museum
2) Don't go in the afternoon. The roads around there are narrow and it doesn't take much to slow you down
3)The leaflet is useless as far as directions go.

But will we give up? Would Biggles and co. give up?

Next week we will brave the wild Kent countryside and it's dangers and report back..

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:11 am
by Kismet
Look forward to your report when you find it using old school navigation methods (pole star - check). It seems ridiculous that it is not well sign posted. Has it run foul of one of those strange regulations where it cannot erect a signpost until it has proof of a certain number of visitors?

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:15 am
by Tracer
It does brass me off when simple admin. like this would be never gets seen to.

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:52 pm
by elderlyfemalerelati1
We once went to Chatham to visit the old rope works. Well worth a visit, IF YOU CAN FIND IT
Now, I don't wish to be rude, while no doubt Chatham has charms, but they are subtle and easily missed. And the rope yard is by far the most interesting thing there.
We finally got there, having walked about twice as far as necessary, and chatted to the lady at the reception desk about the lack of signage from the station and town centre. "Oh yes" she said " there were signs but the council took them down when it was repairing the roads and they never got replaced"

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:45 pm
by Fairblue
elderlyfemalerelati1 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:52 pm
We once went to Chatham to visit the old rope works. Well worth a visit, IF YOU CAN FIND IT
Now, I don't wish to be rude, while no doubt Chatham has charms, but they are subtle and easily missed. And the rope yard is by far the most interesting thing there.
We finally got there, having walked about twice as far as necessary, and chatted to the lady at the reception desk about the lack of signage from the station and town centre. "Oh yes" she said " there were signs but the council took them down when it was repairing the roads and they never got replaced"
Begs the question as to whether they ever bothered harassing the council to get them put back.

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:48 pm
by elderlyfemalerelati1
We didn't like to go any further with it, and ask the obvious. Fairblue. We knew when we were beaten

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:55 am
by kylie_koyote
That reminds me of the time my cousin and I had rented a car in Italy and stopped at a crossroads without a sign. We asked the old man sitting there if this was the road to Assisi. His response: "Of course it is. It has been the road to Assisi for three thousand years." :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:42 pm
by RAAF Spitfire Girl
elderlyfemalerelati1 wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:00 pm
A cautionary tale for anyone thinking of going to the the new Biggin Hill Museum. We tried this afternoon. No problem, we thought since we know this part of the world fairly well. Less than an hour's drive.
So we followed the signposts for Biggin Hill. A couple of them then nothing. Miles later we had to admit we' d overshot and retrace our steps. Still no signposts but we accepted defeat and put the satnav on. But then there was a funeral, then every school in Kent let out their pupils with every parent's car in Kent blocking the roads. Then we realised it closed at 4.00.
So 1) don't rely on the signposts. There aren't any even to the airfield, let alone the new museum
2) Don't go in the afternoon. The roads around there are narrow and it doesn't take much to slow you down
3)The leaflet is useless as far as directions go.
About 10 years ago, whilst visiting the UK, we decided we'd visit Biggin Hill. We rather naively expected to quite easily find remnants of the wartime airfield. We chose to go by public transport (a rather convoluted process, but finally wound up on a bus that went through our desired destination) and were dropped off at the modern Biggin Hill GA airport. We wandered into various offices asking where we could find the St Georges Chapel memorial. Absolutely no one could help us!! We were astounded to think that two Aussie tourists knew more about the history of the airfield (and its significance) than people currently working there. We wound up in a cafe (can't remember its name) where the walls are covered in WWII photos of pilots etc, including one with King George VI meeting some of them. It was a great place, full of atmosphere. So we asked the young girl who was serving if she knew anything about the Memorial chapel - or any other memorial. She knew the chapel - about a mile back along the road. So we walked back - and it was definitely worth the walk. We even had the good fortune to run into the chapel's verger and he gave us a personal tour, explaining all the stained glass windows etc. He was surprised that we'd had such difficulty in finding the place, and we pointed out that the information hadn't been really clear - just that it was at Biggin Hill.
And, rather like EFR, when we finally went to do the return trip, it was the end of the school day. The buses were full and chose not to stop to pick us up at a legitimate bus stop. A young schoolboy was waiting with us, and when Mr RSG pulled out his phone to ring the bus people and complain, he was quite impressed. We waited over an hour before a bus finally trundled along and collected us. So, like EFR, I would endorse all three of her points. The signposts were useless, afternoons are not a good time to travel (esp if using public transport) and the published information (at least in 2008) was not helpful.
BUT, if you do actually find St George's Memorial Chapel, it's definitely worth the effort, so I'm presuming the new museum will also be worthwhile.

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:03 pm
by elderlyfemalerelati1
Well, finally made it. Even knowing where it was we still overshot the entrance, as the sign into it is only visible from the other direction. I'm aware that these niggles make us sound a bit feeble, but when you're driving, you don't have much time to look at things..
I mentioned the outside signage, or lack of, to a volunteer and he groaned and said that yes, they knew, but signs were in the hands of Transport for London ( the governing body) and they'd been told they were on their way. Whatever.
At least there's a new bus stop just outside now.
Get there early, the car park is going to be totally inadequate if it gets popular.
The museum itself is well laid out, with lots of interesting snippets about the local area and how the base impacted on their lives. There's a state of the art interactive set to carry round too, Mine stopped working of course, and actually I wouldn't bother with one while you're going round. It's impossible to look at the exhibits and listen to the various commentaries at the same time. Perhaps going round then sitting down and looking at the hand set would be a good idea.
It's not that big and you have to be really interested in the subject, I think, like all specialist museums. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone who just wanted to kill a couple of hours. It's quite upbeat, nothing like as regretful as I expected. I suppose the chapel of Remembrance is for those who want to deeply reflect.

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:36 am
by Kismet
I'm glad you finally made it! I like to have museum reviews so if I find myself in the vicinity, I can consult my capacious memory and announce 'Aha! EFR went here and she said...'

Re: The new Biggin Hill Museum

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:08 am
by elderlyfemalerelati1
Glad to be of some use. I can't imagine anyone being on the vicinity, though. There isn't one. That's why I'm trying to say if you're very interested, it's worth the effort of getting there. If not, well...