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Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

4.3
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Children’s Museum · Historic Site
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There’s plenty to see and do as you explore the Royal Gunpowder Mills with a variety of exciting and informative exhibitions.

Set in 170 acres of natural parkland, there are more than 20 buildings of major historic value. It was known as ‘the island’ due to the network of canals which were developed to transport gunpowder to and from the site.

Step through the gates to discover this ‘secret island’ full of fascinating history and exciting science for a surprising family day out.

Award Winning Film & Exhibition

Travel back through time as this extraordinary film, complete with amazing special effects, takes you on a journey from the discovery of gunpowder to the race into space. Find out how gunpowder and explosives have literally shaped the world – both for good and ill over the centuries.

Discover the hidden truth about this top secret facility which has played a major part in the defence of the realm through the ages. Through a series of interactive displays, find out how gunpowder came to Britain, what life was like between the decks of a warship, how the famous bouncing bomb was developed and the vital role the Gunpowder Mills played in both World Wars.

The Armoury is an impressively comprehensive collection of small arms and militaria, displaying over 200 historic firearms covering the periods from the English Civil War to present day conflicts. Visitors are encouraged to handle and inspect a variety of historic weapons.

Visitors are able to enjoy is the ‘Rocket Vault’ where you will be able to see some of the secret rockets worked on at Waltham Abbey.

Professor Nitrate’s Mad-Lab is a fun-packed series of hands on experiments and activities set within the laboratory of eccentric rocket scientist. The Professor is always on the look-out for willing volunteers to test his latest theories so visitors will need to be prepared for fun-filled and, occasionally, smoke-filled adventures!

‘Women at War’ is a fascinating photographic display highlighting the vital and varied role women have played during wartime. The exhibition perfectly captures the unfolding social history as women took a significant step towards equality.

‘Dangerous Days’ brings together surviving artefacts, explosives-making equipment, pictures and sound recordings which reveal fascinating details about the dangers and heroisms of the people who worked at, and lived near, the ‘Royal Gunpowder Factory’ during the Second World War.

The 1940s Exhibition is an authentic recreation of the sights and sounds of an air raid; visitors can step inside an Anderson Shelter and view a a 1940s general store, post office and see a 1940s toy shop.

For nature lovers, the Wildlife Tower is perfectly positioned on the edge of the woodland, offering visitors a great vantage point with panoramic views to spot the resident wildlife. Get up-to-date information, photos and facts about the wildlife living on the site.

Then take a stroll down the Nature Walk to explore a large section of the thriving woodland from a network of boardwalks, bridges and footpaths.

The Military Truck or Land Train Tours are always popular, offering the chance to see areas of the site which are normally restricted. The area is home to plenty of wildlife and the remains of a number of buildings which were vital to the production of gunpowder on the site.

The tours last about 40 minutes and are accompanied by one of the site’s experienced guides. (There is a small extra charge for land train tours.)

Please see www.royalgunpowdermills.com

or call 01992 707370 for more information.
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Royal Gunpowder Mills reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
465 reviews
Google
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TripAdvisor
  • Every time I go it is closed. Looks a very interesting site but can't get in. No signs or anything to say why it's not open, especially after the focus on it in Countryfile 
    Every time I go it is closed. Looks a very interesting site but can't get in. No signs or anything to say why it's not open, especially after the focus on it in Countryfile  more »
  • What a great day out. The volunteers were really friendly and helpful. I must report that Professor Nitrate was just brilliant ...!!! He had everyone laughing out loud and the show was really... 
    What a great day out. The volunteers were really friendly and helpful. I must report that Professor Nitrate was just brilliant ...!!! He had everyone laughing out loud and the show was really...  more »
Google
  • Really entertaining family friendly day, with interactive learning, tractor and two different train rides, outdoor playground, interactive kids show (rockets, explosions), ammunition and rocket displays. Believe it is only open on Sundays at the moment, its really worth planning a trip! Hidden gem. Good outdoor space for a picnic on site too, clean toilets and nice cafe area with snacks and hot drinks
  • Had a great day out with the kids, who really enjoyed themselves. Tractor rides with a super knowledgeable guide, rocket making (one that you then let off high into the air- see photo), science shows with the very entertaining Professor Nitrate, and an impressive collection in the armoury were certainly the highlights. Staff are friendly and passionate about local history. Nice cafe and toilets were clean. Booking tickets was easy too. Would recommend to anyone who wants to see where gunpowder for the battle of Waterloo was made.

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