Before WWll much of the land on which RNAS Yeovilton stands was owned by the Church of England, but the admiralty Air Division commandeered it in 1939 and the first runway was operational in 1941. During the war the station was home for an increasing number of naval air squadrons and afterwards became one of the main demobilization centres for the Royal Navy.
RNAS Yeovilton, also known as HMS Heron, is now one of two principal naval air bases in the UK, the other being RNAS Culdrose. Over 100 aircraft are based here, belonging to front-line squadrons and training units including all Fleet Air Arm Lynx and the Commando Helicopter Force.
Yeovilton also houses the vintage aircraft of the RN Historic Flight and the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
Not as big as some of the major RAF shows, (attracting around 30,000 visitors as opposed to Cosford's 120,000, for example), Yeovilton Air Day is nevertheless the biggest naval air display and a major UK air show.
One show each year, usually in mid-July. See the calendar for the date of this year's show. Flying may start late morning, not early afternoon, so check the times of this year's display to make sure you don't miss the beginning.
Air Day usually features the UK's headline displays, both military and civilian, and possibly the best range of naval aircraft in a UK show. It also includes military aircraft from each of the other UK services and a good variety from abroad.
The display usually lasts around 5 hours and includes fast jets, warbirds, helicopters, formation display teams and aerobatics. Also expect a Commando Assault Finale featuring troops, aircraft and pyrotechnics.
On the ground anticipate vintage, classic and military vehicles, demonstrations by the services, military bands, trade stands and side shows, a funfair and helicopter pleasure flights.
RNAS Yeovilton is on the B3151, five miles north of Yeovil and about forty miles south of Bristol. The B3151 is off the A37 from the north and south and from the A303 from the east and west. The nearest motorway is the M5, which most visitors would leave at junction 25 onto the A358 and then the A303.
The post code BA22 8HT can be used for sat nav but, as with all shows, ignore the sat nav in favour of local directions as soon as you see Air Day traffic signs.
Some coach operators offer excursions, normally with inclusive travel and entry tickets. Check the air show's 'visitor information' page for details.
National Express have a direct coach service from Weymouth (about 1 hour) which will get you there is time, but it is more difficult to reach the show in time from further afield because the air display usually starts late morning. Coach and bus services terminate at Yeovil bus station, from where there is a shuttle bus to the show site.
You can book National Express seats online. Click the National Express name to go to their web site.
The nearest stations are Yeovil Penn Mill and Yeovil Junction. From Yeovil Junction there is a direct service to London (about 2.5 hours) and Exeter (about 1 hour). From Yeovil Penn Mill the service goes to Weymouth (about 45 minutes) and Bristol (about 2 hours). There is a (not free) shuttle bus service from both stations to the show site.
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.
Click a logo to find hotels and guest houses near Yeovilton.
The venue is already built into the links, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates.
It is best to book in advance, not only because hotels and guest houses get booked up well before the date of an airshow, but also because prices are usually better when you book in advance online.
There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the best known ones are better at finding international hotels or bigger UK ones, and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.
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