Where to see the best UK airshows in 2018
- Rowena McIntosh
- 2 February 2018
A round-up of the biggest aviation events in the country, see Red Arrows, parachute display teams and hot air balloons
Air bases are normally shrouded in secrecy, with armed guards on the gate and ID passes needed to get inside, that is unless any of the air force use Strava. However, UK air bases across the country open their doors for annual air shows, as do aviation museums where visitors can enjoy daring flight displays, get up close or even inside planes and enjoy family activities, food and trade stands.
Here are some of the major UK air shows scheduled for 2018.
Midlands Air Festival
This new aviation event includes an exciting air display with classic WWI and WWII fighters, high energy aerobatics, classic jets, parachutes and helicopters. It also includes a hot air balloon festival with up to 50 balloons expected. On Fri 18 May you can enjoy Nightfire, a night time aerobatic air display with pyrotechnics, followed by a hot air balloon display set to music and, finally, fireworks.
Ragley Hall Estate, Fri 18, Sat 19 & Sun 20 May.
RAF Cosford Airshow
Held on a working air base the RAF Cosford Airshow features aircraft spanning the 100-year history of the Royal Air Force, which is showcased in the flying display and in a special RAF100 static exhibition. Crafts taking to the sky include a Bristol Blenheim I, an Avro 504, a Supermarine Spitfire PRXI and a Bölkow Bo-105 among many others. This year the popular vintage village, home to classic vehicles, period entertainment and a vintage tea room, has been extended to three different villages.
RAF Cosford, Albrighton, Sat 10 Jun.
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 participated in the Air Tattoo. As well as flying there is a techno zone with hands-on activities, a vintage village, an RAF village and an autodrome.
RAF Fairford, Fri 13, Sat 14 & Sun 15 Jul.
This major air show attracts around a quarter of a million visitors every year, with spectacular formation flying over the North Sea. You can also expect the annual visit of the RAF Falcons parachute display team. The 2018 celebrates the show's 30th anniversary, so expect something extra special.
Roker and Seaburn seafronts, Fri 27 & Sat 28 Jul
Scotland's National Airshow
The air display features aircraft old and new, with fantastic formation and single flying, from international and United Kingdom based teams. On the ground you can meet pilots and crew, explore one of Europe's best collections of aircraft and take part in aviation-themed family activities.
National Museum of Flight, East Fortune Airfield, Sat 28 Jul.
Shuttleworth Family Airshow
Shuttleworth is an aeronautical and automotive museum located at the Old Warden Aerodrome. Their August family airshow features thrilling aerobatics from visiting aircraft, a pilot chat about the Chipmunk, a veteran & vintage vehicle parade, children's discovery zone, rides on vintage buses, live music and the Richard Shuttleworth trail.
Old Warden Aerodrome, Sun 5 Aug.
A free event on Clacton seafront featuring aerobatic displays, exhibition stands, a food court and on-site entertainment. The lineup is yet to be announced but displays in 2017 featured the Red Arrows, the Tigers Parachute Display Team and the Twister Aerobatic Team.
West Greensward, Clacton, Thu 23 & Fri 24 Aug.
Scottish International Airshow
After the close of the Leuchars Airshow in 2013, Danny Anderson and Doug Maclean decided to bring the Scottish public a new airshow, based in Ayrshire. Last year the event extended to a full weekend event, with flying displays on both days. Highlights from previous events include a Avro Vulcan bomber, a F-16 Fighter Display from Belgium and the iconic Red Arrows. This year there will be more exciting international participation.
The Low Green, Ayr, Sat 1 & Sun 2 Sep.
Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow
Held at the Imperial War Museum this airshow brings to life Duxford's finest hour as an important WWII 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.
Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Sat 22 & Sun 23 Sep.