Top Things to do in Blackpool - Spitfire Visitor Centre

Our History

The Lytham St Annes Spitfire Display Team was established in 2009 by Chairman John Coombes, to help raise funds for the RAF Memorial now located on Fairhaven Lake in Lytham St Annes.

In 1940 the residents of the Borough of Lytham St Annes raised a total of £6500 to purchase Spitfire Mark Vb W3644, sadly shot down in 1942, with the loss of her Pilot Sgt Alan Lever-Ridings

A full size replica of W3644 now sits proudly at the centre of the Spitfire Memorial at Fairhaven Lake (FY8 1BD)

The Spitfire Display Team continues to be the fundraising arm of the Spitfire Visitor Centre at Blackpool Airport and is available for hire for your event or show.

 

Discover More About WW2

Top things to do in Blackpool - What is there to see

The Hangar 42 collection has five Spitfire replicas, of various marks. Our collection also includes the Hawker Hurricane MKI and the Messerschmidt bf109e. All our aircraft being lovingly restored with original wartime parts, bringing these iconic aircraft back to life. For a small fee, visitors can take the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of one of our Spitfires and have a number of unique photographs taken to mark your visit. Please note that certain height, weight and age conditions apply for those wishing to access our cockpits.

Raven Cockpits operate the Spitfire Flight Simulator. To book your flight training or combat missions, please get in touch with them directly via their website. Packages start at £140 per Simulation flying hour.

We also have a rare collection of wartime RAF Airfield vehicles and ground equipment, all loving restored back to an operational standard.

On our Saturday open days, we host informative tours on our exhibits and talks of Lancashire’s’ wartime role. The Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team provide a fascinating collection of WW2 aircraft crash wrecks, from the P51 Mustang to the Junkers JU88 Bomber. Entry to our Saturday Public open days are by advance ticket purchase only.

Our Bellman Hangar

Hangar 42 was constructed for the Air Ministry in May 1939. Squires Gate was commandeered for the Royal Air Force and became a key Airfield for RAF Groundcrew and Aircrew Training. Night fighter cover was provided for the North West from Blackpool, with RAF and Polish Aircrews flying providing Night Fighter operations from Hangar 42 throughout the War. The building has been thoughtfully refurbished to its original WW2 appearance, whisking visitors back in time to 1940.

As a busy operational Airfield, running alongside the Vickers Aircraft factory, Squires Gate would have had Wellington Bombers, Hawker Hurricanes and Boulton Paul Defiant’s regularly in the circuit above Blackpool. Airspeeds Oxfords, Botha’s and the occasional Spitfire would have also been commonplace on the Airfield and within Hangar 42.

Famous Aviation Pioneer and ATA Pilot Amy Johnson also flew her last fateful mission from RAF Squires Gate in 1941.

Future Projects

All our projects are funded through the entrance fee and by kind donations from the Public. By visiting the Spitfire Visitor Centre you are helping our future restoration projects, which include plans for a new Education Wing for Community use and to also develop an operational warbird flying programme to the Hangar in the future.

We are keen to widen our community involvement giving opportunities to volunteers of all ages, keen to take part in the restoration and maintenance of our Aviation Heritage.

We have a Donation Scheme and welcome donations of WW2 RAF related artefacts, large or small. You can also make a financial contribution to our projects.

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