Southport Airshow 2018
Beach explosions during a joint display by the MiG-15 and Vampire pair
The Southport Airshow moved from its traditional September slot to the early summer for 2018.
There were no fewer than seven displays on Friday late afternoon and going into dusk, starting with the Red Arrows and ending with the Tigers Parachute Display Team, the Fireflies and Brendan O’Brien lighting the skies with pyrotechnics.
Over the weekend there was a balanced mix of civilian and military aircraft, with an emphasis on classic aircraft. Very unusually, the MiG-15 and Vampire pair displayed together in a routine with explosions on the beach.
Southport, Merseyside, is on the coast of the Irish sea, not far from Liverpool. There is a very deep expanse of sand. As well as the sand, another backdrop for the displays is the very old but modernised Southport Pier, the second longest pleasure pier in Great Britain.
Southport is unusual in three respects. Firstly, because the beach is so deep there are displays over the sand, whereas at other seaside shows the aircraft would always be over water. The second novel feature is that Southport charges, so you have to buy tickets to get the best views. Southport has managed to make this work, unlike unsuccessful charging experiments at seaside shows elsewhere. Thirdly, some light aircraft land on the beach before the main displays, so there are ground aircraft movements, whereas at other seaside shows all displays would fly in and fly out.
|Red Arrows (Friday - opened the show at 19.30)|
|Typhoon (Sunday only)|
|Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane (BBMF) (Friday)|
|Grob Tutor (RAF) (Sat & Sun)|
|Spitfire pair. Paul Bonhomme and Steve Jones (Sat & Sun)|
|Matadors (Sat & Sun)|
|P-51D Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle' (Fri, Sat & Sun )|
|Blades (Fri, Sat & Sun)|
|Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers (Sat & Sun)|
|Otto the helicopter - Brendan O'Brien (Fri, Sat & Sun) |
|Fireflies (Fri, Sat & Sun)|
|Brendan O'Brien's Piper Cub (Friday only)|
|Turbulent Display Team (Sat & Sun)|
|MiG-15 (Sat & Sun)|
|Vampire pair (Sat & Sun)|
|Tigers Parachute Display Team (Fri, Sat & Sun)|
|Bronco (Sat & Sun)|
|Strikemaster (Sat & Sun)|
|CAP232 pair (Sat & Sun)|
|Bristol Blenheim (Sat & Sun)|
|Avro Anson (Sunday only)|
The Buchón will fly in formation with The Old Flying Machine Company's Spitfire
This will be the 26th Southport Airshow, which has been an annual event since 1991. The displays represent the normal seaside mix of military and civilian aircraft including warbirds, light aircraft, aerobatics and jets. On the ground enjoy static aircraft, children's entertainment, simulators, trade and military displays.
There is also due to be an evening programme on Friday 15th. The planned Friday dusk programme in 2016 had to be cancelled because of atrocious weather, so this will be a first for Southport.
The Red Arrows will not be able to display this year because they will be on an overseas tour but the RAF are otherwise attending in strength with the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Tutor display team, who have returned to the airshow circuit after a break in 2016. It was feared at one stage that the BBMF would not be able to display because of a problem with their Merlin-engined aircraft, but these, including the Lancaster, are now being returned to flight and the Lancaster is expected at the show.
Another highlight would have been the Sea Vixen but 'Foxy Lady' was damaged in a wheel-up landing at Yeovilton following a display at Duxford in May and is unlikely to fly again before 2019. Family favourites, a Breitling Wingwalker, will be there, however, and look out for spectacular night entertainment on Friday with the Tigers Parachute Display Team and aircraft lit with LEDs, releasing fireworks in flight.
|Aircraft due to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)
|Friday, Saturday and Sunday|
|BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane. |
|Saturday and Sunday|
|B-17G 'Sally B'|
|Hispano Buchón and Spitfire in formation|
|Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle' (Hangar 11)|
|Cancelled or withdrawn|
|Sea Vixen (damaged)
|All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints|
Getting to the Show
Use the postcode PR8 1RY until you get close enough to pick up the airshow direction signs. Follow the signs in preference to the sat nav once you see them, as there may be traffic diversions in place.
For a detailed route, select one of the routeplanner links on this page.
National Express have direct coach services from Liverpool (about 1 hour), Birmingham (express about 4 hours) and London (roughly 6 hours) with connections from further afield. All services terminate at the the coach station, which is close to the railway station and only a short walk from Marine Drive, parallel to the flying line.
Local bus services are operated by Merseytravel.
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 lists 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.
Click the blue Expedia name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into the link, so when the list comes up you just have to adjust the dates, number of rooms and guests as necessary.
Trivago will list competitive prices for a range of hotels, but they might not necessarily find them all, because some chains do not subscribe to their service. You may also get a better rate if you book direct with an hotel, especially if you are a member of a loyalty or rewards scheme.
The International Hotels Group have two Holiday Inn Express hotels in Liverpool and one in Preston, all roughly 18 miles away. They also have Holiday Inn hotels in Liverpool and Preston. Premier Inn have one hotel in Southport itself and another just outside, in Ormskirk, about 4 miles away as well as two in Liverpool.
Weather for the show area
The Met office seven-day forecast includes maximum, minimum and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind direction, gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.
The BBC's five-day forecast has overall conditions including temperatures, UV range and a description that may help to determine how pleasant the day will be for the visitor.
Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.