The biggest event of the town’s calendar has to be the annual Bournemouth Air Show, held for four days at the end of August and the UK’s largest aeronautics event. Over 9.2 million people have been entertained by dramatic displays and daredevil dives since the show started in 2008, which stretches over a 1.5-mile section of the beautiful Dorset coast.
Bournemouth Air Festival
Bournemouth Air Festival
Air Festival, Bournemouth
Spectacular air displays include the latest modern-day aircraft from the Royal Air Force, as well as classic flying machines. The Red Arrow display is always a popular event – watch them shooting by in trademark formation, showing off their precision flying in the iconic Hawk fast jets. Insider info recommends the centre of the flying line as the best viewpoint of the displays. This is right in the middle of Bournemouth and Boscombe piers, either along the beach at sea level or higher up from East Overcliff Drive. Binoculars are a good idea to ensure you don’t miss a thing. You can also check out the sea-based displays. The Royal Navy always participate and you’re sure to find a rescue reenactment that will put Baywatch to shame!
The events don’t stop there. The festival continues long into the evening with dusk flying displays, family fun attractions and plenty of live music and entertainment – not forgetting the show-stopping firework display to round off the evenings. The dusk flying displays are a sight to behold; Bournemouth was the first festival to include LEDs and fireworks to add a bit of sparkle to the nighttime flights.
Whatever your preference, you’ll find live entertainment to suit everyone, from a Full Moon party to vintage-inspired music stages and the Royal Marines band. Raising thousands of pounds for UK armed forces charities through selling the festival programme (note that entrance is free for everyone), it’s a great day out for the whole family, as well as the chance to appreciate the amazing work of all three armed forces.
Attracting hundreds of thousands of people to Bournemouth over the duration of the festival, it’s a good idea to plan your travel arrangements in advance to avoid any last-minute surprises and endless jams. Any of our Bournemouth hotels would make a great base to enjoy the summer weekend’s festivities, with Bournemouth Central hotel just minutes away by foot if you like to be in the thick of it. If you’re going to drive, it’s recommended to use one of Bournemouth’s four park-and-ride locations – an easier and cheaper way than trying to park in the town centre.