Bournemouth Air Festival is the one event that we book holiday for every year, so we get to enjoy the four days of fun with the kids.
If you have not heard of the Bournemouth Air Festival (airfest) before, you really are missing a trick!
Not only is it fun for ALL the family, but it is completely FREE! – OK, if you travel from farther afield you will have to pay for travel and accommodation, but 4 free days of entertainment – you cannot go wrong.
Because the event is held on the seafront, the kids can play on the beach and in the sea if they don’t want to see the planes and events around them. The promenade is packed full of things to do – tanks and military vehicles to climb on, helicopters to sit in and artillery to examine, plus with stands with toys and games like Little Tikes, Nintendo and Transformers, food and drink being given away – the kids appreciated the Barney Cakes and Haribo it really is a full day out.
We normally explore on a Thursday, as that is by far the quietest day, but we were joined by Nanny and Mollie and they didn’t want to, so we set up camp on the beach. The weather was dull and overcast with quite a high wind, so they did cancel the parachutes but the brave 94 year old wingwalker just beat the encroaching squally shower.
We sheltered for about half an hour at the National Trust stand, thanks Ben, before the shower moved on leaving blue sky in its wake. From then on in the show was fantastic and the crowd roared with appreciation as the Red Arrows and zoomed in, followed by the Lynx Helicopters, Battle of Britain Memorial, the Sea Vixen and more.
As the weather wasn’t looking great for the evening, we decided to head home after the last plane in the afternoon schedule, promising the kids we would see Night Air another day.
As we had not explored the promenade on Thursday as originally planned, we decided to do it Friday and as we arrived I knew we should have done it the day before – it was packed!
We started by Bournemouth Pier, which is always a bottle neck and just could not move for quite some time. The kids were excited that they found the Barney cake stand and Nintendo, so we had some fun with them and pretended to be Red Arrows Pilots whilst we waited for the crowds to disperse a little once the Red Arrows had finished their display.
My main frustration is that people just stop and look skywards if they hear a plane, they don’t move to one side and I have to admit I may have run over a couple of people with the buggy, but we were soon passed the worst of it and got to explore lots of military vehicles.
All the Military personnel that were manning the stands were brilliant. They spoke to the children and answered every question they had, showing them how to work the equipment and generally making them feel at ease.
We also got to see Optimus Prime from Transformers before stopping for a rest on the beach.
As you can probably tell from the photographs the weather wasn’t brilliant on Friday either and all the air performances did flat displays, which were still great to watch.
We decided against Night Air again, instead preparing for an early start the next morning to ensure we got a good spot on the beach.
On the way home I got a message from Bournemouth Echo. Throughout the air festival they were running a photo competition for people using their phones………I won Thursday’s with this photo!