14 Spitfires to take to the skies at IWM Duxford's 2021 Battle of Britain Air Show

A Spitfire (front) and a Hurricane (back) fly in tandem.

A Spitfire (front) and a Hurricane (back) fly in tandem. - Credit: IWM

Fourteen Spitfires will take to the skies at IWM Duxford’s 1940s inspired Battle of Britain Air Show next month.

After being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, the fabulous Battle of Britain display returns on Saturday, September 18 and Sunday, September 19.

And it's time to practise your Lindy Hop and dust off your tweed jackets as IWM Duxford will be transporting visitors back to the summer of 1940 as the historic Cambridgeshire airfield prepares for a weekend of vintage showground entertainment and historic flying displays.

A fleet of Spitfires fly in formation at Duxford’s last Battle of Britain Air Show in September 2019.

A fleet of Spitfires fly in formation at Duxford’s last Battle of Britain Air Show in September 2019. - Credit: IWM

Following a successful return to air shows in July, IWM Duxford will welcome visitors back for its final show of the season, which will see the historic site transformed with living history groups, 1940s music and dancing, and plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained.

IWM air show event manager Phil Hood said: “The Battle of Britain Air Show is always a very special event at IWM Duxford given the important role the site played during this pivotal moment in the Second World War.

"We also get to pay homage to the iconic Spitfire, an aircraft with a very close association to Duxford as the first station to receive it in 1939, and seeing 14 of these warbirds close out the air show is guaranteed to be a spectacular sight.

"It has been great to welcome visitors back to our air shows this year and we are thrilled to be able to increase the capacity to this event, allowing even more people to enjoy our air displays and showground entertainment.”

A Spitfire on the airfield at IWM Duxford, along the Flightline Walk.

A Spitfire on the airfield at IWM Duxford, along the Flightline Walk, which will be included for all ticket holders at the Battle of Britain Air Show. - Credit: IWM


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What is the Battle of Britain Air Show 2021 flying list?

A crew member helps a Spitfire pilot before taking off.

A crew member helps a Spitfire pilot before taking off. - Credit: IWM

The Battle of Britain Air Show will also see a spectacular array of aircraft take to the skies, including the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

They will open the show’s packed flying programme with a Spitfire, Hurricane, and one of only two airworthy Avro Lancaster bombers remaining in the world.

 Re-enactors with the BBMF Lancaster behind them at IWM Duxford.

Re-enactors with the BBMF Lancaster behind them at IWM Duxford. - Credit: Gerry Weatherhead

Air displays throughout the day will showcase the best of World War Two aviation, with plenty more Spitfires as well as seaplanes, and Thunderbolts.

Also featuring are the Great War Display Team, who will be performing a choreographed dogfight with authentic First World War aircraft.

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Avro Lancaster at IWM Duxford.

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Avro Lancaster at IWM Duxford. - Credit: Gerry Weatherhead

The Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show line-up is subject to change.

All confirmed flying is subject to weather and serviceability on the day.

'Sally B', the last airworthy B17 Flying Fortress in Europe.

'Sally B', the last airworthy B17 Flying Fortress in Europe at IWM Duxford. - Credit: IWM


What else will be happening at Duxford over the weekend?

Living History groups will set up all over the Duxford airfield

Living History groups will set up all over the Duxford airfield, giving people a chance to experience different aspects of wartime life – including costumes and dancing. - Credit: IWM

The showground will offer no shortage of entertainment including, for the first time, a vintage fairground complete with a carousel and Ferris wheel, jazz and big band sounds from The Debonaires, and 1940s classic songs from the cover act Perfect Vintage.

There will also be the chance to dance the Lindy Hop or try your hand at a swing dance, and be sure to say hello to living history re-enactment groups, including Spirit of Britain, who will portray the life and roles of 19 Squadron, based at RAF Duxford during the Battle of Britain.

Re-enactors from a living history group stand in front of a Hurricane at IWM Duxford.

Re-enactors from a living history group stand in front of a Hurricane at IWM Duxford. - Credit: IWM

You can also explore static aircraft inside and up close, and meet both current and former pilots to hear their stories of life in the air.

IWM Duxford is Europe’s largest air museum, with a fascinating history that dates back to the First World War.

Spitfires line the Flightline Walk at IWM Duxford at sunset.

Spitfires line the Flightline Walk at IWM Duxford at sunset. - Credit: IWM

All IWM Duxford hangars and exhibitions will be open throughout the weekend, including the recently opened Ops Block, an audio-visual experience that captures how men and women defended Britain from Luftwaffe attacks in the former nerve centre of RAF Duxford during the Battle of Britain.

With the stories of real people who served at Duxford alongside their uniforms, keepsakes, and testimonies, the Ops Block links the personal to the extraordinary feats in the sky.



What are the COVID entry requirements for ticket holders? 

Imperial War Museums will be asking that ticket holders over the age of 18 produce evidence of either a negative coronavirus test result or proof they have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Refer to the website www.iwm.org.uk/airshows/coronavirus for full details regarding entry requirements and other measures IWM will be keeping in place to keep everyone safe at this event.

Tickets for the Battle of Britain Air Show are available to buy now and are selling fast. 

This event is advance tickets only. Adult tickets cost £42.50, children 5-15 £14.25, and children under 5 and carers free.

The BBMF Lancaster undergoing engine runs at IWM Duxford.

The BBMF Lancaster undergoing engine runs at IWM Duxford. - Credit: Gerry Weatherhead


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