The British DX Club
Radio Museums & Vintage Radio in the UK & Ireland
This guide is updated regularly on the BDXC web site and also occasionally printed in "Communication". All times are UK local. We recommend you check opening times before travelling, especially out of season. Updates and additions are welcome - please e-mail bdxc[at]bdxc.org.uk ** with any changes to the details below:
** When sending an email [at] should be replaced with the @ symbol. Email addresses are shown this way on our web site to deter spam.
Many museums in the UK are only open for limited hours or by advanced booking at the moment, some remain temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 situation. Please check directly with any museums before visiting.
- Military Intelligence Museum DISC Chicksands, Shefford, Beds SG17 5PR. Includes the Intelligence Corps Museum which charts the development of British Military Intelligence along with the Medmenham Collection highlighting the important role of aerial imagery. Combined with this is the BRIXMIS Collection - telling the story of Intelligence gathering in East Germany at the height of the Cold War. Finally there is the story of Chicksands - including its use in the Second World War as a "Y" Service intercept station of Enigma Codes and its post-war USAF intelligence gathering activities up until the late 1990s. Visitors BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Free admission. Passport or photo driving licence will be required for admission). Tel 01462 752896.Military Intelligence Museum.
- RAF Signals Museum RAF Henlow, Hitchin Road, Henlow, Beds SG16 6DN. The museum tells the story of RAF Signals, from the early days of wireless through to modern satellite communications and beyond. Galleries include a number of communications receivers and transmitters. Open first Saturday of month (except January) see web site for further details. Tel 07778837263. NB visitors must bring a photo ID (passport, photo driving licence etc) and book in at the Guardroom on arrival. RAF Signals Museum.
- Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley MK3 6EB - Britain's World War Two codebreaking centre is well worth a visit. Check web site for opening times. Tel: 01908 640404 Bletchley Park Trust
Bletchley Park also hosts two separate museums which operate independently::
- The National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park is run by volunteers from the Radio Socitey of Great Britain. It showcases radiocommunication technology and amateur radio.
- The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park is devoted to the development of computers and includes a rebuild of the giant valve "Colossus" computer (separate entrance, admission charge and opening times - check web site before travelling).
- Cambridge Museum of Technolgy at The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, CB5 8LD. The Pye room houses an exhibition on the Pye radio & TV company and Cambridge Instrument Company. Check web site for opening times. Tel 01223 500652 Museum of Technology web site
- Internal Fire - Museum of Power at Castell Pridd, Tanygroes CF43 2JS. Collections include a radio room and telephone gallery. The radio room has an extensive collection of valves from the John Lawrence Valve Collection. Internal Fire-Museum of Power web site
- On The Air Ltd vintage radio shop, The Highway, Hawarden, Chester CH5 3DN. Also publishes Airwaves vintage radio magazine. Tel 01244 530300.
On The Air
- Jodrell Bank near Holmes Chapel, SK11 9DL (off the A535). Science centre, planetarium, arboretum. Famous for the output of its Lovell radio-telescope project set up in 1974 to scan space. The visitor centre is open daily - see web site. Tel 01477 571766.
- Hack Green Nuclear Bunker near Nantwich, CW5 8AL (off A530 Whitchurch Rd). A complex communications infrastructure includes a BBC emergency radio studio, BT and military installations. WWII radar station. See web site for opening times. Tel 01270 629219. Hack Green
- The Lizard Wireless Station is located at Bass Point on The Lizard. This restored Marconi communications hut is only accessible by foot and is about half a mile from Lizard village. It is run by the National Trust. Phone for opening times Tel 01326 561407 or e-mail lizard[at]nationaltrust.org.uk.
- The Marconi Centre at Poldhu Cove near Mullion, TR12 7JB and the monument to Marconi's trans-Atlantic wireless transmissions can be seen on the cliffs above Poldhu Bay. Some of the concrete mast supports are still visible in the nearby fields. Check web site for opening times. Tel 01326 241656. Marconi Centre Poldhu or email g0wys[at]yahoo.co.uk
- Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno near Penzance TR19 6JX. The museum houses historic telegraph equipment in former secret wartime underground tunnels. Phone or check web site for opening times. Tel: 01736 810966. Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
- Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station near Helston TR12 6LQ. Visitor centre has been closed since 2014. Goonhilly
- The Wireless Works at Bugle, near St Austell sells and restores valve radios. Tel 01726 852200.
- Wireless in Wales museum celebrates the contribution of Wales to the evolution of radio technology and broadcasting. The museum houses a fascinating collection of radios and ephemera from the 1920s to the 1960s collected by the late David E Jones. Located at Canolfan Iaith Clwuy (Welsh Language Centre), Lenton Pool, Denbigh LL16 3LG. Check web site for opeing details. Email info[at]wirelessinwales.org.uk. Wireless in Wales
- Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain is under construction in Derby. The museum will focus on all aspects of radio communication. See web site for details. Radio Communication Museum
- Military radio gear is on display at Bovington Tank Museum, near Wareham and the Royal Signals Museum, Blandford. Tank Museum
- Radar photos may be seen at Worth Matravers Tea Rooms near Swanage.
- The Haven Hotel at 161 Banks Road, Poole BH13 7QL, site of Marconi wireless tests, has photos of the event in its public bar.
- New and second hand radios are on sale at the Shortwave Shop at Zeacombe House Caravan Park, Blackerton Cross, East Anstey, Tiverton EX16 9JU. Phone for opening times. Tel 01202 490099. Shortwave Shop
- Lightvessel LV18, a former Trinity House Lightvessel, is moored at The Quay next to Ha'penny Pier, Harwich, CO12 3HH. In recent years it has hosted several offshore radio revival broadcasts including Radio Caroline, Radio Mi Amigo and Pirate BBC Essex. It was also the Radio Sunshine ship in The Boat that Rocked film. Now open to the public for tours, the boat has exhibitions of vintage radios, TVs and other radio memorabilia which used to be housed in the Old Harwich Lighthouse radio museum (now closed). LV18 is open most weekends and weekdays (except Mondays) in Summer. Details LV18 web site or call Tony on 07446 171320.
- Southend's Central Museum in Victoria Avenue (A127 next to Southend Library), Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6EW is home to the extensive EKCO (E K Cole) collection, telling the story of this iconic radio, television and plastics (bakelite) firm which had its wireless factory nearby. Open Tuesday-Saturday - see web site for details Tel: 01702 212345. Central Museum
- The Marconi Hut is an ex-army hut from the First World War, which was used as a laboratory by the Marconi Company from 1919 to 1960 at their site in Lawford Lane, Writtle. The hut, which is open only on special occasions, is at Sandford Mill Industrial Store, Sandford Mill Road, Chelmsford CM2 6NY Tel 01245 605700 or email sandfordmill[at]chelmsford.gov.uk Sandford Mill
- Chelmsford Museum at Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, CM2 9AQ has a "Bright Sparks" exhibition which includes some Marconi equipment. See web site for opening details. Tel 01245 605700 Chelmsford Museums Service
- Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker at Bunkerland Adventure Park, CM15 0LA was constructed underground during the Cold War to house regional government in the event of a nuclear attack. Now decommissioned and open to the public, its exhibits include an emergency BBC studio. See web site for visiting times. Tel 01277 364883 Kelvedon Hatch Bunker
- Museum of Communications 131 High Street, Burntisland KY3 9AA. The museum, formerly located at Bo'ness, is now installed at a new permanent location in Burntisland. The museum contains many items spanning telegraphy, telephony, radio, radar, television, audio technology, military and domestic electronics; including the extensive collection of the late Harry Matthews. Check web site for opening times. Tel 01592 874836. Email: enquiries [at] mocft.co.uk Museum of Communications
- The former HMS Collingwood heritage collection of naval radar and radio equipment has been put into storage following the closure of the museum.
- Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio Howth, Co Dublin. Located in Martello Tower North No 2 overlooking the harbour. Collection of old radios, music boxes, gramophones and related items. Entrance up steep pathway opposite Abbey Tavern, Abbey Street. See web site for opening hours. Tel +353 (0)86 815 4189 Hurdy Gurdy Museum
- Cork City Gaol Radio Museum Convent Avenue, Sunday's Well, Cork City. Location of the 6CK radio station opened in 1927. See web site for opening times. Tel +353 (0)23 4305022 Cork Radio Museum
- Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum, Co Kerry. The museum was opened in 1986 to mark 50 years of Irish broadcasting. 1200 items are on display, there is an extensive collection of receivers, many of which
are extremely rare. There is also an accompanying display of wireless paraphernalia: miniature crystal boxes, wireless trade signs, wet and dry batteries, and vintage wireless literature. There are impressive
broadcasting valves from Radio and the BBC, and studio microphones from the 1930s and 1940s. 2 Cherry Tree Drive, Listowel, Co Kerry, Ireland. Privately owned. Phone Eddie Moylan for opening hours: +353 (0)68 21652.
Listowell Vintage Wireless Museum
Isle of Wight
- The Bygone Radio Shop 296 Cheriton Road, Folkestone CT19 4DP. Tel 01303 277716.
- South Foreland Lighthouse on the coastal path one mile west of St Margaret's Bay was the site of Marconi's first international wireless transmission, between the lighthouse and France, in 1899. A cententery anniversary plaque was unveiled by Princess Elettra Marconi. Check opening times with the National Trust. Note there is no vehicular access. South Foreland Lighthouse
- The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD has an Information Age gallery on the second floor which covers more than 200 years of communication and information technologies. Exhibits include broadcast radio and TV, amateur radio, telecoms and the original 1920s BBC 2LO tranmsmitter. An older display on The Secret Life of the Home in the museum's Basement is also worth visiting. It includes many radios, TVs and other domestic appliances through the ages. Open daily. Free admission. Tel: 0333 241 4000 (020 7942 4000). Science Museum
- British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum 23 Rosendale Road, West Dulwich, London SE21 8DS. The museum hosts an extensive collection of vintage domestic radios and TVs. NOTE Visitors are welcome but the museum is only open by appointment. To arrange a visit phone 020 8670 3667. Email info[at]bvwtm.org.uukFree admission. Web site see BVWTM
- Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising has moved to new, larger premises at 111-117 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill W11 1QT. It includes a number of radios and TVs through the ages in its display cases, along with nostalgic packaging and other ephemera from the Robert Opie collection. Open Mon-Sat 1000-1800, Sunday 1100-1700. Tel 020 7243 9611. Museum of Brands web site
- The Design Museum is based in the renovated former Commonwealth Institute building at 224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AW. Radios and televisions are well represented amongst the displays. The core collection on the second floor is free to visit but other galleries have an entrance fee. Check web site for opening times. Design Museum
- Museum of Science & Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4FP has radio and TV displays in its Connecting Manchester gallery in the 1830 Warehouse; there are also some radio and TVs in the Collections Centre on the ground floor of the Great Western Warehouse. Open daily. Free admission. Tel 0161 832 2244. MSI web site
- RAF Air Defence Radar Museum, RAF Neatishead, near Horning, NR12 8YB (near the Broads). The museum has displays covering radar and military aircraft communication/monitoring. Open April to October - check web site for details. Tel: 01692-631485.RAF Air Defence Radar Museum
- Snellings of Blofield Heath now displays its collection as an online museum at Snellings Museum
- Grey Point Fort at Fort Road, Helenís Bay, Crawfordsburn BT19 1LD is a World War I Battery that has been restored by Grey Point Fort ARS and has both a military and radio museum as well as a permanent station. Check web site for opening times. Tel 02891 852731. See Grey Point Fort
- Northern Ireland's Secret Bunker off Derrylettiff Rd, Portadown near Craigavon is a restored cold war bunker that is open to the public and runs tours. It has had the original radio and telephone systems restored. See web site for details or contact info [at] nibunker.co.uk for opening dates.NI Secret Bunker
- Ulster Aviation Society at the former WWII airfield at Long Kesh on the Halftown Road near Lisburn has a museum and working radio station on site. Although the site and hangar are not open to casual visitors prearranged group visits can be arranged. See web site for details.Ulster Aviation Society
- Nottingham Industrial Museum, is located in the 17th century stable block of Wollaton Hall, Nottingham NG8 2AE. The telecommunications gallery has a display of domestic radios and morse code equipment. Open every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday - see web site. Tel 0115 915 3936. Small admission charge.Nottingham Industrial Museum
- Orkney Wireless Museum, Kiln Corner, Junction Road, Kirkwall KW15 1LB, houses a fascinating local collection of vintage domestic and amateur radio equipment, well worth visiting. See web site for virtual tour and visitng details. Tel: 01856 871400. Orkney Wireless Museum
- History of Science Museum, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3AZ, houses a collection of early scientific instruments. The telecommunications gallery has some historic apparatus used by Marconi and early domestic receivers. Check web site for opeing times. Tel: 01865 277293. History of Science Museum
- Hoswick Visitor Centre the radio museum at Sandwick has now closed.
- The Radio Museum at 5 Anchor Street, Watchet, TA23 0AZ reopened in June 2021. Displays of vintage radio, TV and ephemera, as well as historic BBC transmitters and studios. Open Tuesday to Saturday 1030-1600. Free admission. Enquiries to Neil neil [at] radiomuseum.org.uk or phone Neil 07544 620 621. The Radio Museum
- Montacute TV Radio Toy Museum, at the Tea Rooms, 1 South Street, Montacute TA15 6XD. A collection of memorabilia from radio and TV programmes as well as old radio and TV sets. Check web site or phone for opening times. Tel: 01935 823024. Montacute Museum
- Lindars Radios amateur radio equipment supplier at 2 Buckland Road, Pen Mill Trading Estate, Yeovil BA21 5EA has a small wireless museum display. Check opening times with the shop. Tel 01935 474265.
- The Bakelite Museum at Orchard Mill has closed. It is hoping to reopen at a new, more acessible location, in future. Bakelite Museum
- Sounds of the Past, Old Chapel, The Street, Monks Eleigh, IP7 7AU houses a collection of around 500 radio sets, some dating back to the early 1900s. Located in the former United Reformed Church building in the main street of Monks Eleigh. Phone for visting details. Tel Paul Goodchild 01787 372478.
- Amberley Museum, near Arundel, BN18 9LT an open air working museum, includes displays of vintage domestic and amateur radio equipment, as well as other electrical and telephone equipment. Separate BT Connected Earth exhibition. Check web site for opening times. Amberley Museum
- Bognor Regis Museum is at 25-27 West Street, Bognor Regis, PO21 1XA. Contains many old radios and unusual radio accessories. Check web site for opening times. Tel: 01243 865636. Bognor Regis Museum
- Hastings Museum Johns Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings, TN34 1ET has a room entirely devoted to John Logie Baird, who worked on early television development in Hastings in 1923-24. The room includes a replica of the 1926 Baird apparatus, on loan from the National Media Museum in Bradford. Check web site for opening times. Tel 01424 451052
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery.
- Newhaven Fort Museum houses a collection of vintage amateur radio equipment from the late Cyril Fairchild G3YY. See web site for opening times. Tel 01273 517622. Newhaven Fort
- Seaford Museum The Esplanade, Seaford BN25 1JH is located in the martello tower on Seaford beach. A large hall beneath the martello tower contains over a thousand radios, TVs, tape recorders and items of test equipment, a lot of it 1950s. See web site for opening times. Tel 01323 898222. Seaford Museum
- RetroTech UK is the new name for the National Vintage Communications Fair, held once a year in May at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre near Leamington Spa. Not to be missed if you are at all interested in collecting vintage radios, TV, telephones, audio, communicatins, early computer equipment etc. RetroTech UK web site
- Black Country Living Museum in Dudley has a 1930s wireless shop called Gripton's. Originally located in Oldbury, it was moved brick by brick to the museum along with a display of appropriate period radios. Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ. Tel 0121 557 9643. Check web site for opeing times. Black Country Living Museum
- Droitwich Spa Heritage & Information Centre hosts Droitwich Calling, a hands-on exhibition devoted to the UK's high-power longwave transmitting station at Droitwich, including a typical 1960s BBC studio. St Richard's House, 22 Victoria Square, Droitwich WR9 8DS. See web site for opening times. Tel 01905 774312
Droitwich Spa Information Centre
- Military Wireless Museum in Kidderminster is home to a collection of over 700 military radios from around the world including Japanese, German and French sets. The museum is open to individual visitors and groups by appointment, contact details email: military1944[at]aol.com telephone: 01562 743253
Military Wireless Museum
- National Science & Media Museum, Pictureville, Bradford BD1 1NQ covers film, television, radio, the web and photography. Has good displays of old TV cameras and receivers. Open Daily 1000-1800. Tel: 0844 856 3797. Science & Media Museum
- Y Station Museum opened in 2016 at GCHQ Scarborough. Details of public access not known.
Vintage Radio Publications
- The British Vintage Wireless Society publishes an excellent quarterly Bulletin for members. BVWS.
- Airwaves, published by On The Air, The Highway, Hawarden, Chester, CH5 3DN (sae for sample). Tel/fax 01244 530300. Airwaves.
- The Radiophile is no longer being published. Back issues are still available see The Radiophile.
Updated: 8 Nov 2021