Magnificent Muscial Flying Display (Drive-in)
August 15th 2020
DH88 Comet will fly to Holst’s ‘Mars’
Originally planned was the 23rd Flying Proms, blending exquisite flying in display sequences with classical music played by a live orchestra in the atmosphere of a British Proms.
However, the Covid-19 situation changed the format, which became the Drive-in Magnificent Musical Flying Display. Star flying displays were to be the BBMF Lancaster and a flypast by the Red Arrows, but these and other displays were cancelled because of the weather.
Although the Swiss Garden has been closed during earlier shows, it was open from 14.00-19.00 (no dogs) and vintage bus rides also returned. The house was also open for pre-booked tours.
Message from Shuttleworth
It was a difficult and disappointing day for all the pilots, engineers and ground crew who were poised throughout the event to take advantage in any improvement of the weather to meet the legal minima for display flying. We hope you will be able to enjoy a fuller air display at Shuttleworth and would be delighted to send tickets for any airshow in the 2021 season to any disappointed ticket holders from this event.
We don’t yet know what format these shows will be in – whether the Drive-in or one of our traditional air displays, but get in touch for a voucher with your unique ticket number and we will contact you when our plans are more certain.
About Old Warden
This is a relatively small venue, where flying feels closer to the crowd than in some bigger airfields, even since the change in the regulations. The venue also has a mansion, Shuttleworth House, which is usually open to visitors for at least part of airshow days, park-like gardens (Swiss garden) and huge children's outdoor play area.
Old Warden is home to the Shuttleworth Collection of planes from both world wars and earlier, including original pioneering aircraft such as the Bleriot (identical to the one that made the first crossing of the English Channel). There are around 40 airworthy planes in eight hangars.
The collection is on static display most days throughout the year. There are significant flying events about monthly between May and October, ranging from daytime full airshows to evening proms and additional smaller events.
|Aircraft that had been due to fly
|Before the main show|
|Red Arrows Flypast|
|Flying to Music|
|BBMF Lancaster 'PA474 Leader' Flying to 'The Dambusters'|
|Westland Lysander flying to ‘Habanera Hall of the Mountain King’
|Southern Martlet, DH51 ‘Miss Kenya’ and DH60X flying to ‘Blue Danube/Swan Lake’|
|Hawker Sea Hurricane, (Shuttleworth Collection) flying with the Spitfire to 'The Battle of Britain'|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-AWII 'AR501' (Shuttleworth Collection) flying with Sea Hurricane to 'The Battle of Britain'|
|Mew Gull & Hawk Speed Six flying to ‘Monte Carlo or Bust’|
|Gloster Gladiator (Shuttleworth Collection) flying to ‘The Gladiator’|
|DH88 Comet, Shuttleworth Collection flying to Holst’s ‘Mars’|
|Bristol Boxkite & Avro Triplane, OR Piston Provost, DH Tiger Moth and Dragon Rapide flying to ‘Those Magnificent Men’ |
|After muscial display|
|All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints|
Getting to Shuttleworth Airshows
Shuttleworth's Old Warden Aerodrome is about two miles to the west of the A1 near Biggleswade. It is about 20 miles from junction 13 of the M1 and from the south it is about 30 miles from Junction 23 of the M25. It is signposted from the A1 at Biggleswade.
The Post Code (for sat nav) is SG18 9EP but, as with all shows, ignore the sat nav in favour of local show signs as soon as you see them.
There are links to other route planners in the Travel Advice column if you prefer to plan ahead or don't have sat nav.
There is a train station at nearby Biggleswade, which is about 40 minutes from London Kings Cross and about 30 minutes from Peterborough. There is no bus service from the station to the aerodrome but there is a taxi rank close to the station.
Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.
The variety of rail tickets and fares can be very confusing. Trainline and Raileasy web sites list all ticket and fare options for the time and day of travel you choose but they both levy an admin fee. Click either of the blue ticket agency names to go to their web site.
Accommodation near the show
It is best to book as far as possible in advance. This is not only because nearby hotels and guest houses tend get booked up well before the date of an airshow but also because prices can be better when you book early online.
There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.
Expedia list a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. They also give, and take, Nectar points.
There are three Premier Inn hotels in Bedford, another two in St Neots and more in in Hitchen and Letchworth, all roughly 10 miles away.
The International Hotels Group have a Holiday Inn Express in Bedford about 6 miles away and another in Stevenage, about 14 miles from the show.
Travelodge have three hotels around Bedford, between six and eight miles from Old Warden and two more within ten miles.
Click any of the blue names to go to the corresponding web site. Most of the links already have the location built in, but please check, and change as necessary, the dates, number of rooms and number of guests.
Weather for the show area
The Met office 7-day forecast includes actual and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind speed, wind direction, wind gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.
The BBC's 14-day forecast has overall conditions including and hourly estimate of temperature, wind direction, wind speed and UV range.
Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.