A former teacher and charity worker from the North East of England, I love people and places and like to try out new experiences wherever possible. Capturing that 'perfect pic' is all part of the pleasure. Access issues are a particular interest.
Update July 22nd 2014
The 2014 Sunderland International Airshow runs from 25th-27th July this years.
View my new article with up to date information on
Dynamic displays and daring deeds at North East Air Show
This July sees the 25th Anniversary of the Sunderland International Air Show with a special opening performance by the RAF display team, The Red Arrows.
This year's event starts from Friday 26th July with an evening launch party at Cliffe Park exhibition area in Seaburn with a very special evening performance from the Red Arrows, a new 'first' for this special 25th Anniversary celebration of the event.
RAF Red Arrows in Formation
Following this evening extravaganza there will be two full days of aerial action on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July from 10am – 6pm with the famous display team opening the show.
Sunderland City Council has promised this will be a great show which will see many old favourites and some new displays.
The air show takes place in the skies over Seaburn and Roker, the beachfront areas north of the City of Sunderland and is FREE. In recent years it has regularly attracted around 1 million visitors over the course of the weekend display period and brought millions of pounds into the local economy.
The sea front is lined with local businesses, hotels, shops, bars and restaurants as well as the Seaburn fun fair, all of which are getting prepared for the influx of people from far and wide.
The Cliffe Park exhibition area will have displays and activities for all the family so why not come along and join the fun? Just along the coast is Roker Park, with a boating lake and beautiful gardens. If you're looking for somewhere to stay how about The Roker Park Hotel or the Marriott Hotel at Seaburn? Both are right on the seafront for an action packed view of the air show.
At the time of writing, the exact schedule of events is still to be confirmed but some old favourites include:
The 'RAF Red Arrows' display team – I've seen them a few times and they are always amazing. Even more thrilling, our house is on the flight path from Newcastle Airport (where all the planes are based for the weekend) so a private display over our garden – close enough to see the pilot is not unusual.
The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight' – A working collection of WW2 planes including the 'Spitfire' fly in formation in a wonderful spectacle of pride and nostalgia, enough to please ordinary observers and aeroplane enthusiasts alike. The current aircraft include, Spitfires, Hurricanes, Lancaster Bombers, Chipmonks and Dakotas.
Wing-walkers – Daring feats using bi-planes from a bygone era.
Wing Walkers Thrill the Crowds
As usual, this will be a mammoth task for transport operators, but with Tyne & Wear metro services and local rail network trains running directly into Seaburn station, (about a 15 minute walk away) and buses terminating and picking up near Morrisons supermarket on the seafront, there should be rapid transportation to and from the area on the day. This usually means that some services such as the E1 and E2, with normal coastal routes from South Shields to Sunderland, will not be completing the full journey between the two towns. Instead they will be fast-tracked to pick up in either Sunderland or South Shields and turn around in Seaburn then return to base with passengers wishing to return home.
Whitburn Road, along Seaburn seafront (A183) is likely to be closed to normal traffic during the day over the course of the Air Show weekend.
Seaburn showfield car park charged £10 per car in 2012 but park and ride schemes operated from Fulwell, Roker and the Stadium of Light, (just off the A19 and A1231) shuttle buses running between there and the seafront every 10 minutes. It's always wise to check before you set off.
Most people take the opportunity to have a day at the beach so that while the kids are happily playing with their buckets and spades, dad can enjoy the show through his binoculars.
Stalls and vans will be out in force, selling refreshments such as burgers, hot dogs, chips and ice-cream.
But if you fancy something a little different why not try the special DFDS Airshow Cruise, which will be sailing from the River Tyne on the mornings of Saturday and Sunday 27th and 28th July along the coast towards Sunderland and return mid-afternoon. A hot and cold buffet will be served and there will be plenty of time to watch the display from the ship's deck before returning to port.
Cost £30 per adult and £15 per child – no passport needed.