UK tank museum becomes tourist hotspot due to live shows and gaming zone

Britain is filled with smaller museums which are great to explore when on a staycation somewhere new.

Whether you fancy visiting a Witchcraft museum, an exhibition on poo or even a vagina museum there’s something niche out there to suit most people.

The latest UK museum, hidden away in the countryside of Dorset, has gained a surprising following in recent years – mainly as it's become an unexpected YouTube star.

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The Tank Museum in Bovington has racked up over 100million views on its channel and has attracted tourists from around the globe – and even has more views on Youtube than the Louvre.

As you’d expect from a museum based on war machines, Bovington has some excellent video presenters who are experts in the field and have "passion and knowledge".

The museum’s top marketing honcho, Nik Wines, told the BBC that a huge number of views are coming from the United States where history buffs are plugging in to see what the English museum has to offer.

They now have over half a million subscribers showing off the collection of tanks and other wartime weapons. Nik said that the goal is to "tell the story of the tank and the people that served in them".

The museum itself homes 300 military machines from key battles in conflicts since World War I. It will take guests from the muddy Somme to the beach at Normandy and even later machines from Iraq.

Walking through the museum you can inspect some of the massive tanks, learn about who drove esteem and when and even walk through simulated trenches in a dynamic installation.

War medals, uniforms and other artefacts are also on display and the museum is great for children as it’s so interactive.

You can meet staff members in military dress, stick your hands in various sensory displays, help to power a tank with your body, walk within a number of the machines and wander through vintage sets like a Cold War living room.

Plus, you can even put on British military outfits from the hats to the bodysuits. Right now, there are also exhibitions from warhorses to tank power, including a Rolls Royce armoured car and an opportunity to see tanks in action in the incredible outdoor arena where explosions and smoke will make you gasp.

Bovington also has inclusive events such as quiet mornings where sound and interactive are shut off for those who need less sensory input and sign language tours of the museum.

You can also do a behind the scenes tour, enjoy film viewings or see the South West Model show of planes, shops, trains and tanks.

It’s fun for the whole family too as under fours can enjoy the interactive games throughout the exhibitions as well as an outdoor playground and soft play, as well as building their own tanks out of LEGO, racing tortoises like WWII soldiers in the desert, or learning battlefield codes.

Meanwhile, teenagers will love riding around the arena itself in their tracked vehicles – or driving their own in the Gaming Zone. It’s no wonder that the museum is going viral!

The museum first opened to the public in 1947 but is only growing in popularity and even makes around a quarter of its £2million turnover online.

Over on Tripadvisor it's clear that Bovington is a popular choice for tourists – it has a whopping full five stars out of five on the review site and almost 5,000 ratings.

One holidaymaker from Anglesey said: "I’m not usually interested in tanks myself but booked for my husband and I had more fun than he did, the show was outstanding, food was great and museum very cool Great experience overall."

A French tourist said: "A must visit if you have any interest in tanks. An amazing collection. Very well laid out with loads of information boards, video to watch and audio to listen to. Some excellent talks during the day. We were there for over four hours but will need at least another visit to do the collection justice."

Andrew, who says he visited with his 12-year-old added: "It really is the premier tank museum in the world."

Tickets cost £17.55 online for adults, £9.90 for children ages four to 15 and you can get family tickets for between £31.05 and £45.

Plus, full price admission tickets all come with an automatic annual pass so you can visit as much as you like.

There are also military discounts available and serving members get free entry. You can find out more on

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