The National Cold War Exhibition

With the first use of the atomic bomb on Japan to end the Second World War mankind demonstrated that it now had the ability to obliterate itself completely. Winston Churchill noted after the end of the War that an ‘Iron Curtain’ had descended upon the continent of Europe.

After experiencing over 5 years of ‘hot war’ conflict in Europe the Middle and Far East, there followed over 40 years during which the East and West stood either side of an ideological divide separated by the awesome prospect of nuclear holocaust; this was “The Cold War”.

In the initial years of the Cold War the Royal Air Force held Britain’s nuclear deterrent through its ‘V Force’ and ‘Thor’ missiles; that deterrent was later passed to the submarines of the Royal Navy. The National Cold War Exhibition highlights the ideologies of both sides, the social history of the era, the technological achievements which evolved from the competition between East and West and the eventual dissolution of the Warsaw Pact resulting in the world we live in today.

The story of the Cold War is therefore much larger than one of aviation alone; this national exhibition aims to inform and educate present and future generations about the immense threat posed to world peace and security during this significant period of the 20th century. More detailed information is available on the National Cold War Exhibition website.

See aircraft from the Cold War.

Cold War Medal

Did you serve in the Armed Forces during the Cold War? Have you applied for your Cold War Medal? Thousands of service men and women have applied for their Cold War Service Medal, produced by Award Productions. A contribution to the National Cold War Exhibition will be made for each medal sold.

Visit for details.

Wearing of Facemasks

Please note:

In accordance with current government regulations you must now wear a face covering in our galleries, restaurant* and shop, unless exempt from doing so.

You do not need to wear one when outside in our green spaces, unless it makes you more comfortable to do so. We would also ask that when in our buildings that our visitors be aware of others around them and where possible maintain a social distance of 1 metre.

*Except when seated.

Javelin 773wide