Last weekend I took my boys to the Duxford VE Day Anniversary Airshow because my husband is a huge plane enthusiast (to be clear he isn’t a huge guy enthusiastic about planes, neither is he particularly enthusiastic about huge planes, he just really really loves planes).
Reporter: How do you feel about having a huge gay fan base? Joey: Wow, I don’t even know any huge gay people! (Friends)
My husband had an absolute ball, my 3 year old was entralled, though we had to adjourn to the car for a little while, and I was happy because my boys were happy.
Things you need to know:
1. Bring ear defenders, even for older children
The Jet almost made MY ears bleed, poor little man was scared by the noise because I didn’t bring our good ear defenders (mummy fail!), I purchased a pair there, but they were cheap and didn’t really get the job done. The jet went from screaming at you to just shouting at you – still pretty scary. My air defenders sitting comfortably on the couch at home would have made the jet almost whisper.
2. There is a lot of standing around in awe at airshows, so bring something to sit on.
Most people brought picnic chairs (the fold-able, carry-in-a-bag-on-your-shoulder kind). Again we had three of those snoring away in the garage, doing none of us any good. If you have a good back (unlike me) a lot of people simply sat on a picnic blanket.
3. Be prepared for a lot of numbers and letters to come flying at you:
Husband: Look that’s the 56038-x!!!
Me: erm… is that the pilot’s extension number?
Husband: Don’t be silly it’s clearly last year’s model because this one is the ‘Super-Juicer-Phantom-Crank’!
Me: Ok now you are just shouting appliances at me. (What a good idea though, maybe I should suggest this to the home and garden show organisers as their big finale, flying juicers and exploding toasters, now that would be cool).
4. Food is crazy expensive
Just like at airports and theme parks, they know you have no alternatives.
In the words of Jerry Seinfeld “Tuna is very rare here.”
That being said, some airshows actually have very good food vans, with a nice variety on offer that makes it worth a little splurge. At the Sywell airshow a couple of years ago they had some awesome food. Duxford had little choice in food vans, unless they were hidden somewhere, so we paid £20 for two hot dogs, chips and drinks – perfectly reasonable right?! Actually it tasted very nice, and I am not a big fan of picnic food so I was moderately happy. If you wish to save your pennies and/or you have more than one child who eats more than a mouthful of food, then you should bring your own picnic, most people did and there is a lot of green space.
5. Get there early
The actual air display was due to start at 2pm at Duxford, but we arrived around 12, which gave us plenty of time to walk the 7 miles from our car to the venue (yes I am exaggerating – slightly), case the joint, have some food, go aboard some actual Boeing airliners (Nate loved this), check out the souvenirs, go into the Imperial War Museum (IWM) etc. before the show actually started. If you arrive on time you will be walking with your head sky-ward, bumping into people, tripping over dogs for like 2 hours.
6. Ticket prices
Yes it costs the same as going to Legoland or Alton Towers for the day. Okay, maybe not quite as much, but yes these shows are around the £30 mark, per person, which as a plane-not-so-much enthusiast I did a big gulp! I was so glad that under 5s were free, phew! If you want to see the planes fly but are not rolling in tenners then you could always park down a country lane outside of the venue and watch from your car – no joking there was a huge line of cars doing that very thing as we left!
7. Bring an in-flight pillow
To stop neck ache. Okay, so I didn’t really do that, but I did consider it, and then I realised, I don’t actually have to look up at the 57th black-phantom-menace-spit-flamer.
In all serious-ness we did have a great day, the hubby was on-air (yep pun) for days and the little man had a great time, he really does love any transport and particularly planes, so he was amazed by the quieter airplanes, the somersaults and the ones that blow spoke out of their a***. Hubby was particularly excited to go aboard the Concorde in the Imperial War Museum (free entry was included as part of the air-show ticket). If you have a plane-crazy husband like me, there are air-shows all over the country all through the year. I found this list of British Air-shows website particularly useful. It’s a good day out for all the family, they have lots of entertainment, bouncy castles, toilet facilities etc.
Have you been to an air-show? Please share some tips with me below.
*This is NOT a sponsored post.