If a classic car fan were to dream up their perfect place to work, it would probably look a lot like Bicester Heritage. As the UK’s first park for the restoration, storage, and enjoyment of vintage and classic cars (and motorcycles and aeroplanes, too), it sits comfortably on 348 acres of a historic 1920s RAF bomber station. The refurbished redbrick buildings, hangars, and tree-lined avenues provide an authentic period setting for specialists, vehicle owners, and enthusiasts alike.
(Photos above courtesy of Bicester Heritage // Amy Shore Photography with the permission of Bicester Heritage)
Managing Director of Bicester Heritage, Dan Geoghegan, had the vision to grasp the unique potential of the 1920s RAF base and transform it into a classic car hub.
The now-historic car hub has a long and rich history dating back to the early 1900s. The flying history of Bicester predates its development as a bomber base: a Bristol Boxkite flew from the town as early as 1911. The first military occupiers of the airfield were the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, which became part of the newly formed Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918 when RAF Bicester, as it now was, became a Training Depot. In the three years from 1925, the airfield was transformed into a state-of-the-art Bomber Station. In 1936, it expanded as the country prepared for war with Germany. As Britain went to war, RAF Bicester was home to such legendary flying machines as the Hawker Hart, Bristol Blenheim and the first flight of the Handley Page Halifax four-engined bomber, the Royal Air Force’s first heavy bomber to enter production. By the time the Allies were ready to liberate Europe, training was well under way at RAF Bicester for glider pilots and their tug aircrews. Soldiers of the Glider Pilot Regiment trained at Bicester before setting off for D-Day, Arnhem and, eventually, the Rhine Crossing. As the battle moved towards Berlin, RAF Bicester was transforming to become a busy maintenance unit dealing with both aeroplanes and motor transport. Now RAF Bicester continues to transform as its war department specification redbrick buildings are restored and updated as new specialists join the campus– just in time to celebrate the centenary of powered military flight at Bicester’s airfield in 2017.
The future of Bicester Heritage looks bright. With over than 30 businesses on the site, there are plans to add more and potentially even a hotel and conference centre. We are honoured to be a part of the Bicester community and look forward to welcoming our loyal customers along with new faces to our premises in the coming months.