If your interest lies in pioneering aircraft including WWI, inter-war, up to WWII aircraft then the ideal Airshow venue has to be Shuttleworth (Old Warden), in Bedfordshire. This are several Air Shows throughout the season which are held in the lovely Bedfordshire countryside which houses the Shuttleworth Collection which contains aircraft such as the Bleriot Type XI (1909), Deperdussin (1910), Bristol Boxkite (1910), Blackburn Monoplane (1912), Sopwith Pup (1916), S.E.5a (1917), right up to the Spitfire Mk.Vc (1941) and many more. All of these aircraft are airworthy and many of the Shuttleworth collection are original but it needs to be a calm day to display the early Edwardian examples. There are several full airshows, and evening flying events throughout the season.
Duxford in Cambridgeshire is a very popular venue for warbird enthusiasts. There is an extensive museum which is free to look around during an Airshow and includes many WWII examples. Duxford is home to the Imperial War Museum Collection (IWM), The Fighter Collection (TFC), The Old Flying Machine Company (OFMC), The Aircraft Restoration Company (ARC), Historic Aircraft Collection (HAC), B-17 Preservation Society etc. The airfield itself is an historic site dating back to 1918. In the second world war it was home to the first operational Spitfire squadron. Duxford's fighters were frequently scrambled against the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. Duxford have several Airshows/Flying Days during the season including 'The Summer Air Show' and 'Battle of Britain Air Show. There are also several Flying Days which are free to IWM members. This is one of the best places to vist in the UK if you are interested in WW2 aircraft and warbirds.
Flying Legends Airshow
The popular Flying Legends Airshow was previously held at Duxford in July each year. On the 25th August 2020 it was announced that the 'Flying Legends' airshow, which is run by 'The Fighter Collection' (TFC), would no longer be taking place at Duxford and a new venue would be found to host this show. The first Flying Legends Airshow, away from Duxford, was to be held at Sywell Aerodrome, Northants, on 10th - 11th July 2021, however this was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This airshow features many Second World War aircraft including the 'The Fighter Collection' aircraft. The Flying Legends Airshow returned on the 15th & 16th July 2023 at Leeds East Airport however the airshow will not take place in 2024.
Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT)
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is possibly the largest military airshow in the world containing hundreds of modern military aircraft in the static line-up and air display from many different nations around the world. This popular Air Show is usually held at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire which is a large base used infrequently by USAF deployments which makes it an ideal venue for such a large Airshow. RIAT usually takes place over a weekend in July, with a shorter display now on the Friday. You can also view the aircraft on arrival days and departure day. As with most large airshows it is advisable to get to this event early to avoid traffic congestion.
Farnborough in Hampshire has a biennial commercial airshow. The Farnborough Airshow usually takes place just after the Royal International Air Tattoo so they can share aircraft with this event. There is a mixture of modern civilian and military aircraft from around the world. Farnborough is the oldest active airfield in the UK and is home to the head office of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. From 2020, the Airshow will run from Monday until Friday as normal but the public weekend will no longer take place. The trade days are in the week days (Monday to Friday) while the public can also attend on Friday.
RAF Cosford Airshow
RAF Cosford in Shropshire hosts a popular air display in the Midlands, usually in June. This is the only Royal Air Force Air Show now that the RAF Waddington Air Show has come to an end. The display usually includes modern RAF aircraft, sometimes foreign participation, display teams, and historic aircraft. It is also home to the Aerospace museum which is an extension to the main museum at Hendon and includes the new Cold War museum which is well worth a visit and the museum is free on airshow days. The runway is fairly short which means that modern jets are usually operated from nearby RAF Shawbury as they can't land at RAF Cosford. It is advisable to get to the Cosford airshow very early and stay for an hour or so after the show to avoid the usual traffic congestion.
Royal Navy International Air Day
RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset is home to the Royal Navy Wildcat HMA2 and Army Air Corps Wildcat AH1 helicopters as well as the Royal Navy's Commando Helicopter Force Merlin and Wildcat AH1 helicopters. There is usually an Airshow held here in July which features many Royal Navy aircraft as well as RAF and Army participation and usually ends with an exciting Commando Assault Demonstration. Yeovilton is also home to the Fleet Air Arm Museum which has more than 40 aircraft on display with as many again in storage or refurbishment. Unfortunately there has not been an air show here since 2019.
Abingdon Air & Country Show
Abingdon Fayre first started in 2000 as a small fete. In the years since then the show has grown in stature. Attendances have increased, and at the 2009 show there were over 10,000 people. For many years the show was known simply as the Abingdon Fayre, but in 2007 the show's title changed to Abingdon Air & Country Show to more accurately reflect the show's content. Although held on a military establishment, the show is a civilian event and is organised entirely by volunteers, with proceeds being donated to a local charity. There is usually a good mix of display aircraft and plenty of other activities on the ground.
Midlands Air Festival
This is a spectacular new aviation event for the Midlands which began in 2018. This Air Show takes place in the historic grounds of the famous Ragley Hall estate. Which is close to Alcester in Warwickshire. The Air Show takes place over the weekend with a Nightfire show on the Friday which includes aircraft streaming pyrotechnics from their wings and a choreographed hot air balloon nightglow in which you will see balloons light up like giant lightbulbs in time to music ending with a musical firework finale. This air Show features a good mix of aircraft as well as many hot air balloons and is held in the stunning grounds of the Ragley Hall Estate.
Little Gransden Airshow
First put on in 1992 with just a handful of cars and single flying act, the show has gone from strength to strength over the years, with show gradually increasing to its current size - with over 300 vehicle exhibitors and a flying display lasting more than 3.5 hours plus numerous other ground-based attractions. Superb air displays and on the ground everything from classic cars to craft shows, all set in the beautiful open countryside, at Little Gransden Airfield, near Sandy, in Bedfordshire.
Headcorn Battle of Britain Airshow
The 2022 Battle of Britain Airshow will be the 7th event, exquisitely blending choreographed Battle-of-Britain era aircraft displays with family friendly attractions and re-enactments. You will see engines roaring and crowds cheering for 12 one-of-a-kind air displays in the very airspace where the Battle of Britain took place over 80 years ago. Headcorn Aerodrome, formerly RAF Lashenden, is in Kent and houses a small museum of aviation relics which was established on the site at Lashenden Air Warfare Museum.
Old Buckenham Airshow
The Old Buckenham Airshow is a popular two-day event which takes place in Norfolk at the end of July or beginning of August each year. It has a 4 hour display each day and includes several warbirds such as Spitfires, Mustangs, B-17, as well as display teams and RAF aircraft such as the Typhoon. Old Buckenham Airfield is a former Royal Air Force Station which was built in 1942-1943 and used during the Second World War by the United States for the strategic bombing campaign against Germany.
East Kirkby Airshow
East Kirkby Airshow is Lincolnshire's biggest independent air show and usually takes place at the beginning of August each year. The air show helps to raise funds for the on-going restoration of Avro Lancaster (NX611) 'Just Jane' which can be seen making taxi runs at the show as well as many other taxi-run days from May to November. As well as the air display there will be trade stalls, vintage cars, Military vehicles, re-enactors and much more to give you an excellent family day out. East Kirkby is also home to a de Havilland Mosquito NF.11 (HJ711) which is the only existing version of this variant in the world.
Wales currently has two major displays including the Wales National Air Show in Swansea and the Rhyl Air Show.
South Ayrshire Council have announced that The International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight will take place at Ayr, Scotland in 2023.
Northern Ireland Airshows
Northern Ireland is hoping to replace the Northern Ireland International Airshow at Portrush in County Antrim with a new show called the 'International Causeway Airshow' which is to be held at Portstewart, Coleraine. If funding can be found then this show will take place every other year.
The Jersey International Air Display and the Guernsey Air Display takes place in September each year, on the same day however the Guernsey Air Display will take place in June 2024 as the Red Arrows are expected to tour in North America from mid-July onwards in 2024. The Jersey International Air Display usually includes some very interesting aircraft as well as international participants.
Airbourne (Eastbourne) Airshow
The Eastbourne International Airshow, also called Airbourne, is now one of the the world's biggest free seafront airshows which attracts nearly a million people over the four days from Thursday to Sunday in August. Participating aircraft include the Royal Air Force, Army, Navy, Civilian, Display teams, Warbirds, and International aircraft. There are also many ground attractions including a funfair, stalls, exhibits, arena displays, helicopter rides, and plenty of entertainment for the kids including giant inflatables, and trampolining on two designated beach areas.
The Southport Seafront Air Show is recognised as the North West's largest Airshow attracting up to 150,000 spectators over two days. Combining a spectacular air display with a host of ground activities, the Southport Airshow is an exhilarating and fun-filled experience that the whole family can enjoy. The flying programme includes a good mixture of military and civilian aircraft, classic jets, warbirds, helicopters, aerobatics and parachute displays. The show features a whole host of trade stands, interactive and educational displays, simulators and children's activities. In previous years Southport Airshow has included a Military Display including a dramatic simulated battle on the beach involving Army reserve forces complete with explosions and military vehicles. Many of the aircraft that display at Southport operate out of nearby Blackpool Airport.
The Clacton Airshow takes place on the sea front at Clacton-on-Sea in Essex. The show usually takes place on a Thursday and Friday in August and is expected to attract 90,000 spectators. This free, two-day event, includes a good mixture in the flying display including RAF participation along with display teams, aerobatic aircraft, and historic aircraft. On the ground there will be exhibits from the Army and RAF, children's activities, simulator, climbing and entertainment areas along the Clacton seafront. A wide range of trade stands and a food court with a sumptuous selection of refreshments will be on hand. After the show there will be a chance to do some late night shopping with many of the retail stores staying open late.
Bournemouth Air Festival
The The Bournemouth Air Festival takes place over four days in August. The FREE four day spectacular is set against the backdrop of Bournemouth's seven miles of award-winning beaches, beautiful bay and glorious gardens. The Festival includes amazing air displays (from classic flying machines to modern day speed machines!), Sea Displays, Interactive Static Displays, Fireworks, Familiy Fun Attractions, and Music & Live Entertainment. The festival takes place between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers and in the Lower Gardens and the number of visitors are anticipated to be in excess of up to 200,000 per day.
Blackpool Airshow is a free two-day event which takes place in August. Blackpool air display takes place over the famous Blackpool promenade between North and Central piers. The air display is usually about three hours long each day and there are also trade stands and simulators etc.
English Riviera Airshow
The first Torbay Airshow took place in 2016 and it was a free two-day event. The stunning bay and unique curvature make for a superb backdrop to the air display. The name of this airshow changed from the 'Torbay Airshow' to the 'English Riviera Airshow' in 2020. The air display usually include RAF participation such as the Red Arrows, as well as classic jets, warbirds and civilian display teams.
The first Teignmouth Airshow took place in July 2019. This event actually took place over three days (Friday to Sunday) with the air display taking place on Saturday. Live music and entertainment was ongoing between each display. Friday evening had live music and there was a family fun day on Sunday.
The Sidmouth Airshow usually takes place in August each year and usually includes a small airshow featuring the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
The Sywell 2024 Airshow will take in June 2024 and will be a quite remarkable airshow combined with ground attractions including classic cars and much more. Showcasing multiple classic aircraft from across Europe alongside modern jets, the flying line-up will include formation and unique display acts, some of which will be UK firsts.
You can click on the Google Map above to see the location of all these airshows.
Clicking on a marker on the map with reveal the airshow and provide a link to more information on this event.