Bournemouth Air Festival: your essential guide

Picture by Rob Fleming

Picture by Rob Fleming

First published in News
Last updated

Never been to Bournemouth Air Festival before? Here are some handy hints and tips from traffic to where's best to stand and what else is going on. 

How do we get there?

You can see all the nearby car parks on our map here - but driving all the way into town can be a risky business; not so much getting in as getting out again. There’s no parking on East Overcliff, Grove Road, Manor Road or Gervis Road and roads in Boscombe and Southbourne are usually very busy by mid-morning.

We would recommend using the Park and Rides at Kings Park, Littledown or Redhill if you are bringing your car – it’s £10 per vehicle with a maximum of seven people per car, or there will be buses running every seven minutes from the railway station to Bournemouth square. More details about them here

How busy is it at the pier?

Very. The central flight line for the festival runs directly between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers, and there are stands, stalls and activities all along the beach. We recommend arriving early to get a decent spot, particularly at the weekend, when the Red Arrows are flying or when the Vulcan is expected.

People stake their claim on the best spots on the overcliff and beach from 7am onwards, so if you can’t or don’t want to wait all day, try further up the beach in both directions. Southbourne is usually much quieter although getting parking can be tricky.

The view may not be quite as good but you’ll still get to see everything, just with a bit more elbow room.

See also: Six places to watch the Air Festival you might not have thought of

What time are the Red Arrows? What time is the Eurofighter? 

Today's schedule is here and we'll have live schedule updates on our live blogs, which start from 9am. You'll be able to see the Red Arrows, Typhoon and Sea Vixen on Sunday. Plus, it has been confirmed that the Vulcan will be making its second appearance at Bournemouth Air Festival on Sunday. The weather forecast is looking good to don't forget the suncream as it is expected to be partly cloudy with highs of 20C, according to the Met Office. 

See also: When are the Red Arrows on? 

How loud does it get? Can I bring my toddler?

The noise level varies from plane to plane, with the Eurofighter Typhoon the loudest of them all (and that’s really loud). How scared your child will be depends on how they usually react to noise, but we would recommend ear defenders or ear plugs for children and anyone who doesn’t really like loud noise.


There will be some cloud, which has affected some aerobatic displays this week and there might be some wind, which has also meant some cancellations. Keep an eye out for our running weather forecast, starting later today. It can be windy on the seafront, so bring warmer clothes than you think you might need, and don't forget the sun cream!

See also: Is it going to rain?, our forecast story updated daily

Things that aren’t planes:

There’s lots to do and see away from the flying – from funfairs to falconry and face-painting for the children. It’s mostly centered around the gardens and seafront. You can see what’s happening where on our handy map.

Night Air:

There are no Night Air displays on Sunday.


There is no firework display on Sunday evening as they only take place on Friday and Saturday. 

Lost children:

The LV=KidsZone on the seafront will be operating as usual (more details here) but a tip from a reader – write your mobile number on your child’s arm, in case you get separated away from the beach. It’s always worth having a designated “meet here in case of emergency” place if your child is old enough.

First Aid:

Emergency staff from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital will be on hand to provide first aid for the fifth year running.

Four first aid posts will be set up at Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe seafront, two to be manned by emergency staff with assistance from the Red Cross.

Services include wound care, stitching, treatment for insect and weever fish stings, assistance for people suffering from dehydration and ECG heart monitoring.


All the toilets along the seafront are open, as are those in the gardens. See where they are here

Is there food at the seafront?

Yes. There are catering points along the beach front and on East Overcliff, where there will be a range of foods from noodles to fish to a hog roast. It’s always worth bringing water and snacks though, in case you don’t want to give up your prime viewing spot on the beach.

Don’t forget: 

A chair, sun cream, water, binoculars, a wind break, some warm clothes in case it’s windy and something waterproof in case there’s a sudden shower.


Try and leave as soon as the flying ends – either duck out early or hang around and explore the gardens, go for something to eat (but make sure you book as everywhere fills up very early) or relax and wait for the dusk displays.


Take your litter home with you!

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