THE Tank Museum enjoyed thousands of extra visitors this summer as the Dorset attraction celebrates 100 years of existence.

The museum, in Bovington, was recommended to be a museum in 1923 before officially opening to the public in 1947.

Bovington has long been a training centre for tanks, becoming the UK’s main hub in 1916, before further bases were created in Swanage, Wareham and Lulworth two years later. 

But in its centenary year, bosses at the museum have hailed a bumper summer, saying that the rain and cloudy weather this year means more are opting for indoor activities.

Bournemouth Echo: Tank Museum in Bovington

It features some 300 tanks ranging from the very first ‘real tank’ built, the Little Willie, right through to tanks and machinery from Afghanistan this side of the century. 

The museum also features the famous Challenger 2 tank – two of which were sent earlier this year to fight in Ukraine in the war against Russia. 

After entering service in 1994, the British Army has nearly 400 Challenger 2s and each one weighs about the same as 80 Mini Coopers. 

But it’s also the tank with a killer reputation – Germany’s WWII-era Tiger – which draws in a lot of people, according to staff there. 

Bournemouth Echo: Tank Museum in Bovington

The armour was 100mm thick at the front, making it impervious to allied guns, yet a shot from its 88mm gun could penetrate 100mm armour at ranges of up to one kilometre. 

Despite this, the tank did have its flaws: it was unreliable and caught fire easily. 

The Tank Museum also has a game zone that was launched in 2021, and funded by the video game World of Tanks. 

Bournemouth Echo: Tank Museum in Bovington

It was created to provide a free and unique history-learning experience for visitors. 

World of Tanks is a free-to-play tank warfare game where tank fans can take control of history’s most famous tanks and compete against others. 

Visitor experience general manager Rosanna Dean said: “The Tank Museum is voted the number 1 Dorset visitor attraction on TripAdvisor and we had a brilliant summer welcoming visitors from all over the world. 

“In the Centenary Year of The Tank Museum, we continue to offer an unparalleled visitor experience by improving the facilities and offering new activities for the whole family.”