Where to see the best UK air shows in 2017

Best UK Air Shows in 2017

A round-up of the biggest aviation events in the country to see everything from Spitfires to Concorde

Air shows are to ordinary transport shows what flying is to taking the bus: more spectacular, more thrilling, and just a teeny bit more nerve-wracking. In terms of sheer pulse-racing, adrenalin-fuelled, can-this-really-be-safe excitement, let's be honest: even the most immaculately restored steam tractor or vintage car can't compete with hundreds of tons of steel rushing a few hundred feet above the ground.

But most air shows have more going on than just aerobatics. Many have static displays, where you can get up close to the aircraft and admire the beauty of their design, unless they happen to have been designed for ground attack, in which case they're more likely to look like a piece of farming equipment. Some air shows open up a window on history, with historic aircraft and interactive exhibitions. And of course, there's always the chance to eat fried food from a van.

Here are some of the major UK air shows scheduled for later in the year.

Classic Evening Airshow
Shuttleworth in Biggleswade is home to the Shuttleworth Collection, one of the most extensive collections of vintage aircraft in existence, and they hold monthly airshows during the summer.
Shuttleworth, Biggleswade, 20 May, 17 Jun, 15 Jul

Duxford Air Festival
RAF Duxford is home of the Imperial War Museum Duxford, which contains a collection which, for aviation fans, is pretty much the motherlode: not many other places in Britain give you a chance to get this close to a Concorde and an SR-71 Blackbird. The May festival contains displays, plenty of food and drink and of course a chance to go around the museum.
Imperial War Museum Duxford, 27 28 May

Fly Navy
Fly Navy is heaven for naval aviation fans, and the 2017 festival features visits from some legends of naval flying: a DH Sea Vixen, a Fairey Swordfish, a Grumman Wildcat and no less than two Supermarine Seafires, among others.
Shuttleworth, Biggleswade, 4 Jun

Royal International Air Tattoo
The RIAT has the support of the RAF, and there are loads of aerobatic displays and plenty of activities for those who don't want to spend the entire time looking upwards. 2017 sees the ever-popular return of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, as well as displays from the USAF Thunderbirds and a chance to see an F22 Raptor.
RAF Fairford, 14–16 Jul

Scotland's National Airshow
Scotland's National Museum of Flight hosts the biggest air show in Scotland, with displays, fairground rides, snacks and a chance to meet the pilots.
National Museum of Flight, 22 Jul

Sunderland International Airshow
The Sunderland airshow is the only major air show in the North East, and there are civil as well as military displays, plus a visit from the RAF Falcons parachute display team. Plus, unlike most air shows, it's free.
Roker and Seaburn seafronts, Sunderland, 21–23 Jul

Southport Airshow
Merseyside's airshow is the biggest one in the North West, and it's the only seaside airshow where the aircraft can take off and land in front of the public. The 2017 show promises double the fireworks (yes, we mean actual fireworks), on account of having had to cancel them last year because of the weather.
Southport seafront, Southport, 15–17 Sep

Battle of Britain Air Show
The last big air show of the season, this commemorates Duxford's time as a crucial RAF station during 1940. There's a mass Spitfire flypast and loads of living history.
RAF Duxford, 23–24 Sep

Scotland's National Airshow

Over two hours of high-octane aerial displays ranging from historic warbirds to contemporary military jets. There are also family activities, fairground rides and a chance to chat to pilots and explore the hangers.

Fly Navy

This air show with visiting aircraft focuses on naval aviation and is one of the biggest aviation events in the calendar.

Duxford Air Festival

The historic airbase, home of the Imperial War Museum's aviation department, hosts this annual air show with displays, food and history galore.

Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show

Held at the Imperial War Museum this airshow brings to life Duxford’s finest hour as an important Second World War fighter station defending Great Britain from aerial attack in 1940. Expect historic aircraft, re-enactments, 1940s dances, a theatrical showground and a Meet the Authors tent.

Classic Evening Airshow

A classic evening of flying at Shuttleworth.

Southport Airshow

A seaside airshow, the largest event of its kind in the northwest.

The Royal International Air Tattoo

Expect an extra lavish display this year as the 2018 Air Tattoo has been selected by the RAF to be the international celebration of the RAF's Centenary. It's a three day event with over seven hours of flying each day and dramatic flypasts to celebrate the Centenary. In 2017, 246 aircraft from 32 air arms in 26 countries…

Sunderland International Airshow

This major air show attracts around a quarter of a million visitors every year, with spectacular formation flying over the North Sea. You can expect the annual visit of the RAF Falcons parachute display team.