07. May 2013 9 min read

Day 10 of UK adventure - Stonehange, Tangemere, Brighton

It was a sunny day once again and we moved from our B and B not too early. We wanted to get to Stonehenge and we had quite a long travel back inside England heart. It was a pleasant journey mostly on A roads and few miles on motorways. Sun kept shinning. Landscape was not as flat as I have imagined from Stonehange photos, but it was seeded with small hills.


Once we arrived at Stonehange we were really excited. The monument if I can call it like that is on the slight hill but not higher than surroundings. That did not put the impression that is on official photos but we have managed to find exactly the spot from which photos were taken. Stonehange is one of the marvels of the world. Very heavy rocks were lifted into position by cave-men who had limited tools and it is not yet know how exactly did they make it. Either is it not know what they have used the structure for. The structure itself might be part of some bigger scheme as they have found similar pattern of stones on ground in area. Stonehange beside the rocks includes also some ditches. To my surprise we were not allowed to go near. I always wanted to be in middle of this structure just to check if there is anything paranormal there. Well English Herritage only lets you to come around 30 meters away from structure and no where near the stones and ditches. Your path is carefully marked. There were also many people there (as expected), so taking photos without them was a bit harder than what we were used to in other places. My advice is to wait for group to proceed and take photos after them. However it is a circle so be prepared that someone will show up on the other side. There is nothing more to say about Stonehange as we could not touch the stones there is no way of knowing if they are really that old or if it just some kind of prank and they are hollow.


After Stonehange we have decided to visit Salisbury. It does have a castle and church, but that was it. Not a whole lot to see in Salisbury, as the cathedral looks same as elsewhere.

RAF Tangemere aviation museum

From Salisbury we took the A36 and then M27 on our way to Brighton (where we reserved a hotel for today). Road took us near Southampton and Portsmouth where we found a nice and cheap Shell petrol station at exit Fareham. Then after Portsmouth a sign of Aviation Museum Tangemere got our attention. I knew RAF Tangemere played a critical role in World War II and but it was abandoned by army in around 60s. I never thought they have arranged a museum instead and we decided to follow the sign leading us to huge fields. We stopped in front of hangar with many new age jets parked outside. It was really nice to be so close to real aircrafts and I also searched for runway. Runway was missing and later friendly and very knowledgeable staff from museum told me that its parts were built into the motorway and that now there are fields where it once was. Sad ending for such a major monument of recent human history. Inside museum everything is oriented around World War II and post World War II aircrafts when Tangemere was at its peak glory. You can see whole Battle of Britain stories, kit, equipment, medals, also crashed and reassembled Hurricane aircraft, which then leads you to more recent room with F53 Lightning flight simulator. You can sit in its cockpit and make a simple takeoff and landing on Tangemere airfield. I wish they would add some action there, but it was adrenaline rush never the less to get the feel how real aircraft flied and where controls are really positioned. Also throttle is two level, which is not something you could have at home. After the simulator room you also have Special Operations Executive room, as Tangemere during World War II was the most important airfield in delivering and picking up SOE agents from occupied Europe. Lissander aircrafts took off Tangemere in bright moon light nights and flew across the Sea to Europe where they used rivers as navigation points and then searched for 3 SOE operatives standing in field with 3 lights which marked the landing spot. It was then the pilot experience to land on such field and after picking up agent and material takeoff. All this was happening under watchful eye of the Germans. The room also includes some ingenious equipment used by SOE agents as well as many stories about their missions and the life of pilots picking them up. After this you are invited into hangar. Tangemere was the place where two Englands fastest record breaking aircraft took off when breaking a record speed. They are both there for visitor to enjoy the great solutions of one of the fastest aircraft at that time. The fact that in 21st century English Air Forces still do not have operational aircraft faster than F53 Lightning from 60s tells you everything. And a F53 Lightning stands huge in the hangar with small steps next to it so you can check the huge air intake, touch the fiberglass nose and check all the special details. Hangar of course also includes the famous Spitfire, but to make museum more special in is a Prototype 2 Spitfire and not your average production one. In hangar you can also sit into ejection seat and of course strap in. Staff is very friendly and helps you practically with everything you might want to know or maybe even try. There are also few ammunition rounds from various aircraft which allow you to see and compare calibers of their bullets. Aircraft are displayed with drop tanks, rockets and even bombs. It is all there for a visitor to view. This is an absolutely must see museum for any World War II or aircraft enthusiast. Really a worth see location.


After spending a lot more time than we planned in the Tangemere we had to go on, as we had reserved a hotel in Brighton for the next night. On our way we briefly checked the Arundel Castle and then off we went to the famous beach resort on England`s South. After sunny Ardunel Castle we came to a bit more foggy Brighton which did not present itself nicely. We checked the church and the beaches to take some photos and then rested a bit in our hotel.
We continued with drive along the beach on next day.

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