Our Trip to the Bovington Tank Museum – Tank Fest 2019

My Partner has grown up on Army Barracks because his Dad was the regimental Seargant Major, highly ranked in the Army. This gave him an exciting Childhood surrounded by tanks, travelling Britain and Germany, but also getting driven around in some of those stunning armoured Vehicles.

Since the year 2000, the Bovington Tank Museum has held a tank fest in honour of the Armed forces Weekend, celebrating the British armed forces. Due to my Partner’s history and his family story he was excited to obtain tickets for such a big event and get to see battle reenactments and the army demonstrating real stunts performed by them everyday.

Admission and Prices:

The initial Event is held for three days and tickets cost up to £20/person per day with the opportunity to upgrade to grand stand seating or buying a bundle of tickets. A pass for a whole year is included in the price, meaning you would have the opportunity to visit as many times as you want for a whole year.

The Event:

The Event is run for three days on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday (usually at the end of June) to mark the Armed Forces weekend. A large variety of food and drink is on offer, including ice cream and friendly entertainment such as a mini tank for the little visitors. This therefore also makes it family friendly.

It is an advantage to arrive as early as 9 am in order to be able to have a look around the museum grounds, including the different privately owned tanks positioned in the dedicated tank park. It is also possible to go on a ride around the Arena by paying a small fee, starting at £4, depending on what vehicle is available to be passenger in.

On the Friday, the schedule is pretty light when it comes to the Arena itself, meaning there is not much going on apart from rehearsal in the afternoon for the grand event on Saturday and Sunday. From about 11 am up to 02:30 pm, talks are happening in the marquee, giving visitors the opportunity to meet some veterans, but also learning more about the event, vehicles and the museum. Followed by these, we experienced a fantastic Arena display, including the British Army Rehearsal, D-Day 75: Convoy Rehearsal, Cold War Warriors Rehearsal and the Final Reckoning Rehearsal. I personally did think it dragged a little bit because there was a lot of talking and not much action but it was very interesting to see.

We did not go on the Saturday because the Programme was the same as the Sunday. The actual weekend Event was a lot better in both our opinion. There was more action and an actual show. The whole day was filled with Arena display, giving us little time to have a look around the actual museum and hardly giving us chance to admire the vehicles in the vehicle park. The morning started off with a display of the D-Day 75 Convoy, followed by the Battle Groups and Armoured recovery, the double Dutch and British Army display.

My absolutely favourite display of the afternoon was the Army parachute Display. It was absolutely spectacular to watch, but there was also an opportunity for visitors to speak to the soldiers and even enter a prize draw to win a Jump with them. The Team has done about 8000 jumps before and reached a height of 3000ft, while accelerating to a speed of 140 m/h.

This spectacular display started of a fantastic tank parade and reenactments of the British Army Battle, RAC80, Final Reckoning, British Second World War Armour, Cold War Warriors and a Tank Carousel of 15 vehicles in the Arena.

My top five Tanks:

There are so many amazing vehicles at the museum that it is really hard to choose a favourite, so I am going to list my top five and tell you a bit more about them.

1. Fury Sherman M4 Tank

This is the actual Tank used in the movie ‘Fury’ starring Brad Pitt. I am sure many have watched this movie and loved it. It was exciting getting so close to this monster of a machine. It still runs and has been taken onto the Tank park from inside the museum itself. This particular one is the Fury Sherman M4 tank which was displayed alongside the tiger 1 tank in the making of the movie. The only reason this particular one is in my top five is because it starred in a fantastic movie. I also find it quite amazing that it still runs and works.

2. Challenger I

The Challenger I is a modern tank with a very powerful engine of about 1200 bhp and ultra heavy armour. The design for the Challenger I main battle tank was accepted by the Ministry of Defence as a replacement for the Chieftain. The heavy Armour was the unique key feature of this vehicle as it was in the form of Chobham which was a revolutionary system using a huge variety of materials, making it very strong and robust.

3. Challenger II

The Challenger II was an improvement of the Challenger I but faced heavy competition from the American M1 Abram. A private company was responsible for the production of this Armoured vehicle and was faced with an order of 140 battle tanks and driver training tanks, valued at five million pounds, making this the first tank purchased by the British Army on a very large scale. It also possesses second grade Chobham Armour with a chrome-lined gun, making it more resistible to wear but also fired depleted uranium ammunition.

4. Leopard II

The Royal Netherlands Army has lent this particular vehicle to the Tank museum so spectators could admire it driving through the arena but also take many valuable pictures. It replaced the Leopard I and had a huge advantage due to its echoing sounding engine. This way, the enemy could not really hear where it is coming from, meaning the soldiers had better protection and were more likely to leave trouble behind.

5. Chieftain

The Chieftain catches my eye because it was a battle tank which was in service for 33 years, exceeding the life span of many other tanks. This shows its strength and endurance in high stress situations. This tank had major upgrades on armour, effectively replacing both the Centurion and the Conqueror, but was later on taken out of service when the Challenger I took over due to it sharing a large number of features to the Chieftain.


I absolutely loved the event. It was interesting, an amazing opportunity to get up close to our history, but also experience it in a very personal way and manner. Tickets are already up for sale for the Tank Fest 2020, so if I have spiked your interest, experience it for yourself next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *