Normal Ticket £45, Gift Experience £60
Sit in our Spitfire
Sit at the controls of an airworthy combat veteran Spitfire Mark 1.
Join one of our expert IWM guides in a unique opportunity to sit inside the cockpit of our very special Spitfire, N3200.
Get a sense of how Squadron Leader Geoffrey Stephenson would have felt climbing into the pilot's seat before flying this very aircraft over Dunkirk with 19 Squadron in 1940.
N3200 is now based at Duxford, the same airfield it took off from before it was shot down, crash landing on a beach and sinking into the sand.
The aircraft was eventually recovered and restored over 45 years later, and is now a treasured item in IWM's collection.
John Delaney: “The aircraft behind me is a Spitfire 1a, which is the only flying exhibit owned and operated by the Imperial War Museum.
This is a Spitfire 1a which is an eight -gun Browning version, which is the mainstay Spitfire aircraft of that period. It was flown by Squadron Leader Geoffrey Stephenson who was the Squadron Leader of 19 Squadron at the time and unfortunately flew it on its one and only mission and was shot down and crash-landed on the beach at Sangatte near Calais as part of the Operation 'Dynamo' Dunkirk evacuation.
The letters on the fuselage, QV, relate to 19 Squadron which is the Squadron based out of Duxford. In fact, this very aircraft flew from this very hangar on the day it was lost. After the aircraft was shot down and crash landed on the beach at Sangatte, it became something of a tourist attraction for the German soldiers in the area.
They all used to go along and have their photograph taken with it crashed on the beach and inevitably they would take a souvenir, i.e., part of the aircraft, they'd take away with them as a souvenir on the day, and as the war went on more and more of the aircraft went missing and the remaining superstructure and the engine and the cockpit section sank underneath the beach and remained there until 1986 when it was recovered. It was brought back to the United Kingdom in 2000 and the restoration commenced shortly thereafter, and it took 14 years almost to the day for it to be restored back to flying condition. It flew again in March 2014.
This is one of only four flying Spitfire 1a's left in the world of the Battle of France, Battle of Britain era so it's very important and it's important to the Imperial War Museum because it gives a real sense of what an aircraft looked like and sounded like when it was flying and this one regularly flies out of Duxford on Air Show days to demonstrate to the public what it was like, and especially the sounds of what it would have sounded like to have a Spitfire flying over your head in the Battle of Britain.”
The experience will begin with a 20-minute talk outside the aircraft exploring the history of N3200, including its role at Dunkirk and subsequent restoration to flying condition. We will also take a wider look at the role of Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain and the important role played by Spitfires in the summer of 1940.
You’ll then spend 15 minutes inside the cockpit where our expert will show you the controls and you can immerse yourself in the conditions experienced by the brave men of Fighter Command. There will also be a chance for family and friends to take your photo while in the cockpit.
Tickets will be emailed straight away for visitors to print themselves or show on their phone.
Give the incredible experience of In the Cockpit to a loved one to celebrate a special occasion. You can now buy this exciting experience in a gift tin with a card informing them of their unique opportunity to sit in Spitfire N3200, along with a pair of our IWM Spitfire socks.
A ticket for the experience will be included in the tin along with the Spitfire socks and the printed explanation of the experience.
Please read all of the important information regarding the In the Cockpit experience below before booking.
Ticket does not include general admission to IWM Duxford, which must be purchased separately.
Order online by 16 December for delivery in time for Christmas.
Unfortunately we cannot deliver gift experiences outside of the UK, including the Channel Islands, though gift experience packs may be collected on the day.
- Each time slot is for one person as we are only able to allow access to the aircraft one at a time. If you are looking to book for more than one person, we'd recommend that you book consecutive time slots.
- Although the cockpit experience is primarily aimed at an adult audience, we are happy to allow children aged 12 and over to participate. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
- Tickets must be purchased in advance, they are not available to purchase on the day.
- Ticket does not include admission to IWM Duxford, which must be purchased separately.
- Access to the inside of the Spitfire is limited due to the nature of the aircraft.
- To access the cockpit, you must be physically fit to be able to climb via a step onto the wing and then into the cockpit.
- If your guide feels it is not safe or possible for you to access the cockpit of the Spitfire, then we reserve the right to refuse access.
- Customers who have a concern regarding their ability to access the aircraft should contact us in advance to discuss their needs.