The Tank Museum and West Bay

This was a proper Dad and lads day. Big boys toys. And if I’m honest the best day I’ve had this year, easily. I’d had a bit of a thought and decided that I’d have a look at the Tank Museum, my eldest spouts many facts about tanks, planes and other WW2 facts, he’s been playing a game called War Thunder for a a while now and loves it. Well, why not try to tap into that enthusiasm and see if it plays out. It did, and then some. We all loved it. Now this isn’t a sponsored post, this is just me and my thoughts. The Tank Museum (Bovington Camp, Dorset) is brilliant, I didn’t count the tanks but there has to be well over one hundred, plus armoured vehicles and long range weaponry. There were plenty of boards to read about the tanks plus lots about the battles they were in (WW1 and WW2 especially), stories from those in the tank regiments. It was a proper “Dad has nailed it moment”. The boys loved it, they chattered all the way around, my eldest stood, before walking into each room, naming all the tanks from a distance, plus the gun size, shells they fired and more besides (fist pump emoji needed!!). The drive was a couple of hours from home, so I though that some decent food was needed on the return. We’d eaten a brunch in the Tank Museum cafe which was pretty good (sausages were ace) but I figured I’d stop off on the way home. West Bay was on our route home and proved to be a good choice, not too busy and a huge car park for £2 a day, plenty of pubs, cafes and eateries. After popping in a pub which wasn’t serving food yet, a cafe that was closing, we chose the beach side cafe which served some great pizzas. Perfect for us. I persuaded the boys into a short walk (they never believe me when I say it will be short!!), but this one was, up the cliff along past the golf course and a loop back through the path straight down the middle of the golf course. What could be better, Dad, lads, tanks, pizza and coastal walk. Plus I’ve got a year pass now, so we will be back!

Start – West Bay parking
Route –  West Bay harbour – South West Coastal Path –  East Cliff – Burton Freshwater – Bridford and West Dorset Golf Club – West Bay
Distance – 2.5 miles    Start time – 5.30pm    Time taken – 1hr 10mins    Highest Point – East Cliff 30metres ish
Weather – Windy, sunshine and clouds

© Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey FL 2020 SF

The tank regiment memorial outside the museum, a 2 hour drive to get here, now to see if it was worth it

Museums = masks now, bit of a shame on the photos of the boys but it didn’t keep them quiet nor stop a superb day

The original first tank, Little Willie, 1915 and part of the WW1 force. Little Willie was a prototype and the first real tank in use was called Mother but based on this design

Panzer 2 (I’ve deferred to my eldest to name all these), there were lots, over 100 easily. It needs two visits, we were there 4 hours and saw lots but it will need a second visit to take more in

Field gun from WW2. The initial section of this museum is set out into 6 sections, one for early tanks and WW1, 4 sections for WW2 and then some more recent tanks in Korea and Afghanistan. There a second larger section which is divided up into lots of other parts after this. Its a huge museum and took us 4 hours to get around

A T34, each tank was brilliantly presented and as the museum has only opened a week or so ago the number of people in here was reasonably low so photos were easily taken

Now I think this is a Panther tank, the guns from here on got longer and more substantial

A Cromwell, there were loads of tanks, in my element in here and the boys were bouncing


A Sherman, my favourite type of tank, simply because there is a beer of the same name made by the South Hams brewery

A Churchill, my eldest’s favourite tank along with about 4 others!

There were 10 types of this tank. All of them bare resemblance to the original ‘Mother’ tank. They were simply named Mark I to X, each was a slight improvement on the last, the only Mark 1 is setup above a trench behind me and shows the original WW1 setting it was used in

Matilda left and a Comet right

One of the original Sherman tanks. all the tanks here were used at one time or another, either used a training tanks, original tanks as they had shell damage in places which can be seen, or captured tanks during the wars. Some are also donated from other countries.

As you get into the second section the number of tanks build, so much that you are standing infront of 4, 5 or more tanks just in awe of them all

Lots and lots of tanks

This is a British Tortoise, the size of it was vast, easily the biggest tank in the museum and this was in the cafe!!

My eldest loved this bad boy, a Jagdtiger. They both had a good look around the shop. My eldest choosing 3 small tiger models to take home and my youngest a pair of Sherman tank slippers which he wore home in the car!! A brilliant place.

Now about 30 minutes from the Tank Museum is West Bay, there are a few eateries here so we had a wander and found a few, however the cafe on the beach served pizza until 8 so we went for that. This is the harbour and shows the River Brit flowing into the harbour

The beach at West Bay

Red flags flying today, the sea was rough, the wind strong and the waves crashing. We are heading up the cliff ahead

West Bay, the plentiful car park is good value at £2 for the day and allows for good walks and a nice harbour wander.

West Bay beach

Now this cliff is treacherous. I thought last weeks walk at Budleigh Salterton was in danger of the sea. But this is something else, I’m about 2 metres off the coastal path here looking straight down at the beach. There is also a golf course tee and green behind me about 10 metres away, precarious indeed

The path, the golf course left and the edge on the right

Such a great coastline. this is East Cliff

There are some fine golf holes along this section, this par 3 downhill would result in a palpitation or two

Heading down into Burton Freshwater

Landslips at Burton Freshwater beach

Brotherly love

Outdoor pools grabbed the attention of my two, to be honest the stiff southwesterly kept our fleeces on today, so maybe the water wasn’t a good idea, however there is an indoor pool which plenty of the caravan owners were heading to

Inland from Bridport and West Dorset Golf Course, just a superb landscape around this part. Golden Cap is just to the west of here, as is Lyme Regis making this is a great part of Dorset to visit

Heading down into West Bay

The light was starting to make some fine silhouettes of the cliffs as we made our way back

North Hill is inland from the golf course

Lovely views inland and out to sea

West Bay and those cliffs again. That is Golden Cap in the distance, that is the highest point on the South Coast of England, maybe next time we visit the Tank Museum we will head there.

Back at the car, as it says, this is still part of the Jurassic Coast, I’ve been on its far western edge at Budleigh Salterton, now I’ve been to a main part. And its fantastic


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