The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) will return for another exciting year in 2024. It’s consistently a popular event, prompting us to share useful information and a list of accommodation options for those planning to visit.
This year visitors will experience The Techno Zone, be able to step back in time at the Village Green, meet the team and crews at the RAF Experience as well as shop at the trade and food stands – there’s so much to do you’ll have to take care not to miss the airplanes!
With RIAT’s 2024’s themes celebrating 50 years of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, Nato’s 75th Year Anniversary and the 100th Year of the Royal Canadian Air Force there’s a lot happening.
We’ve also listed some local accommodation if you’re looking to stay nearby during the Air Tattoo, anything from campsites and pubs with rooms to our very own Cotswold Water Park holiday cottages!
RIAT 2024 Dates
RIAT is held annually and the dates you’ll want to visit RIAT will be from 19th to 21st July 2024 and it will be held at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, so get yourselves ready for some fun packed days of aerial adventure!
When do Tickets go on Sale for RIAT 2024?
Very Early Bird Standard Admission airshow tickets are available from £40 per person (as of January 2024), granting access to all static aircraft and flying displays. Additionally, under 18’s enter free with a paying adult, easing costs for families.
How much are RIAT Tickets
Current pricing – which is subject to change – is as follows:
- From £40 per person Friday 19th July entry
- From £70 per person Saturday 20th July entry
- From £65 per person Sunday 21st July entry
Friday is a practice day for the aerial displays which may lead to less aircraft flying, so this is the reason it costs less to gain entry than the Saturday or Sunday.
What time does RIAT open and close?
The car parks open at 6.00am for those keen to avoid the rush and the airshow gates open at 7.30am. RIAT’s gates close at 7.30pm and visitors will be expected to leave the site in good time.
There’s usually a rush to leave the moment the flying displays come to an end so we find if you hang around for an hour or so the queues go right down and it’s a clearer drive home.
How many people typically attend RIAT?
In any given year, 200,000 or so people attend RIAT making it a very busy place, certainly in the morning gaining entry and in the early evening when people leave the air show, it can clog up the nearby road network at times despite the organiser’s best efforts.
How to get to RIAT
There are a number of different routes into RIAT, dependent on which direction you head in from so unless you arrive really early it pays to be patient whilst queuing (you do get to admire some of the very beautiful Cotswold villages you’ll pass through so it’s not all bad).
For specific details of routes into RIAT please take a look at the following website:
If you do drive and don’t know the area well then we suggest using the following postcode in your Sat Nav – GL7 4EG – to bring you closer to the airfield. Best to then switch off your Sat Nav and use the coloured road signs you’ll see towards the end of your journey.
RIAT Shuttles Buses from Swindon and Cheltenham
To make life easier RIAT offer a Concessionary Admission Ticket bus scheme into the airshow. If you head into Swindon, heading for the bus station (a 5-minute walk from the train station) you can grab a free bus to the airshow if you prefer not to drive, there’s one every 20 minutes.
Typically, the bus avoids the worst of the queues getting into Fairford via the “Yellow” route dropping you off much closer to the entrance than if you were to drive in. Do note some of the car parks are off base and can be a lengthy walk in for some.
There is also a Park and Ride bus service in from Cheltenham racecourse too.
RIAT Car Parking
We always think it’s a better idea to get the bus in but if you really want to drive we understand but be prepared for long queues and potentially a long walk to the airfield from your car park!
The car parks open from 6am so you can get in early and park closer to the entrance gates, beating the rush.
Note which Car Park you will be allocated to, Red and Green are a mix of hard-standing and grass whilst the Blue Car Park is grass so it may be difficult for those with limited mobility.
You will likely find most of the parking at RIAT is off the airfield and on grass, with the entrance gates being within walking distance, however if you arrive late you may find yourself walking approximately ¾ of a mile to reach them.
If you’re lucky enough to buy your way into one of the top two enclosures you will be given on-base parking so you won’t have to park too far away from the action!
RIAT Disabled Parking
The show organisers do their best to enable designated disabled parking on a hard standing, but it is allocated on a first come first serve basis and fairly limited. To book a space, you’ll need to be a blue badge holder, in receipt of mobility PIP or have hired a mobility scooter from RIAT’s Event Mobility team. Give RIAT’s Customer Services a call on 01285 713856 to secure your spot.
RIAT 2024 Accommodation
Where to stay for the RIAT 2024 airshow is always a question we get asked by people looking to stay during the Tattoo.
Thankfully, here at the Cotswold Water Park there’s typically a wider choice if you’re looking for RIAT 2024 accommodation, from small 2 beds to holiday homes that can cater for groups. You may even be able to grab something at very late short notice, so it’s worth giving our team a call if you’re looking for somewhere to stay.
Some of our most popular accommodation tends to be used by families and large groups – take a look at some of our selection below (call us to secure today):
Trout Cottage, Mill Village
Trout Cottage at Mill Village accommodates 4 people across 2 bedrooms within a 550-acre private nature reserve. Nestled around lakes, rivers, and streams in the Lower Mill Estate, it’s an ideal retreat after a day at RIAT. Nearby dining options are available, or you can enjoy a summer feast using the charcoal BBQ.
Spring Lake 52
This beautiful south facing lodge always proves a popular choice! Sleeping 6 in comfort with views as well as an onsite brasserie for those who want to go for a meal/drink in the evening and relax from all the aircraft spotting!
Howells Mere 47
A stunning 4-bedroom property sleeping 8, perfect for a larger family group and offering great value as well as lots of activities for the evening.
RIAT 2024 Confirmed Aircraft
The current list of aircraft confirmed to perform air displays or be at RIAT 2024 is as follows:
- Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet
- Finnish Air Force F/A-18C Hornet
- McDonnell Douglas EAV-8B Harrier II
- De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter (Civilian)
Alongside the aerial displays, there’s a good number of aircraft on static display, some offering the chance to interact with the crews.
There aren’t any other aircraft confirmed on RIAT’s Confirmed Aircraft page but as it updates we’ll keep you posted!
RIAT 2024 Weather Forecast
At present it’s hard to provide a forecast for RIAT’s weather in July however it’s the UK, it can either be beautiful wall to wall sunshine OR chucking it down, cats, dogs and all!
Keep a close eye on RIAT’s weather closer to the date here:
Previous RIAT events were canceled due to severe weather at times, prompting refunds. However, to receive a refund, you’ll need to file a claim as it’s not automatically processed.
RIAT’s enclosures are extremely popular and sell out fast! Offering food and drinks together with an unrivalled view, they are loved by many of the show’s visitors.
In some cases, you’ll need to first purchase your Air Show ticket and then register your details to sort and pay for a separate enclosure pass. Other enclosures include the cost of the ticket so do take note when purchasing.
RIAT offers the following enclosures though some are quite prestigious and pricey with 1 or 2 on an invite basis only:
An early bird Family Enclosure with General Admission on a Saturday Adult Package will be £105.50. For your money you’ll get private toilets, garden seating and shaded areas – so if it’s busy and hot it’s definitely worth the upgrade!
Sunday Enclosure packages are slightly less at £100.50 per person.
Children under 5 are free (though they don’t get a seat unless you’re happy to pay), over 5’s and up to 18 years of age will cost £20 per seat.
Visit the Air Tattoo Family Enclosure for more details.
The Viewing Village Grandstand
If you want a fantastic view of flying aircraft, consider the Viewing Village Grandstand. It offers access to the grandstand, catering, private toilets, and free luggage facilities. However, there aren’t any shaded areas available to escape the sun.
With RIAT Grandstand seats starting from £40 each for children and £110 for adults on Saturday it’s a good idea to book early and avoid the rush.
Premium seats are also available, though it appears they sell faster than other seats so be quick if you want one.
Visit the Air Tattoo Viewing Village Grandstand for more details.
The Viewing Village Garden
If you’d rather have a bit more space over a Grandstand seat, then why not choose the Viewing Village Garden? Located in front of the Grandstand you’ll get an amazing view over the flight line.
Prices on Saturday start from £35.50 for children and £105.50 for adults, Fridays and Sundays will be slightly less.
Visit the Air Tatttoo Viewing Village Garden to book.
The Cotswold Club
The Cotswold Club, RIAT’s Summer Garden Party, offers an informal setting with hay bales, flowers, and unreserved seating right along the crowd line. It’s an ideal spot to relax and enjoy the aircraft flying overhead in a sophisticated atmosphere.
Unlimited tea and coffee, lunch and an afternoon treat are included, with tickets starting from £124 for adults and £84 for children on the Friday. There are also private toilets as well as a cash bar for alcoholic drinks. Sounds expensive but for what you get its good value!
Please note no children under 5 are allowed in RIAT’s Cotswold Club.
Check out the Air Tattoo Cotswold Club for more info!
The Lightning Pavilion
Why not indulge in booking a table for 1 to 12 people in the luxurious Lightning Pavilion? Typically utilised by aviation professionals, it offers breakfast, inclusive drinks, and a four-course lunch amid the stunning aerial displays.
Please note children under 12 are not allowed in the Lighting Pavilion.
Saturday is not available to the public though there are tickets left for Sunday at £670 per person and this also includes the cost of your Air Show ticket, you won’t have to purchase one separately.
For more information visit the Air Tattoo Lightning Pavilion section.
Flight Deck Enclosure
A tented area that offers street food (to be purchased separately) together with a complimentary drink. Prices start from £112 for adults and from £72 for children on the Friday and then go up for the following two days.
Check out the Air Tattoo Flight Deck to grab more details.
Purchasing a ticket(s) to RIAT’s Aviation Club gives you access to convenient on base Guest Parking with your own Private Marquee, Garden, Grandstand, cash bar and toilets. A light breakfast, coffee and tea, 2 course lunch and afternoon tea are all provided. All attendees receive a complimentary souvenir programme as well.
Please note under 5’s are not permitted in the Aviation Club.
Air Tattoo Aviation Club is the place to head for more info!
RIAT’s First Class Lounge
Experience RIAT in the utmost style and sophistication with tickets to the First Class Lounge. You get the following as standard:
- On base guest parking
- Complimentary all-day catering – check out the sample menu:
- Inclusive bar with wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks all day
- Guest Wi-Fi
- Stunning crowd line location
- Private toilets
- Complimentary souvenir programme
These offers are only for Friday and Sunday visitors. Prices for children start at £399.50 (under 5’s get in free) and £439.50 for adults, which also covers the general admission ticket cost.
If you’re keen to book then head here RIAT First Class Lounge
Best places to view RIAT for free?
If you prefer a free view of RIAT, here are some of the best locations to do so:
- Masons Arms, Meysey Hampton Pub
- The George Pub, Kempsford
- The village of Quenington
- Farm fields near Fairford and surrounding the airfield, usually taken up by locals in the know
- The village of South Cerney
If you park along the roads near the airfield, police might ask you to move. Leaving your car unattended could lead to a parking ticket from Gloucestershire’s traffic wardens, so it’s safer to stay close to your vehicle.
We do strongly recommend paying for an admission ticket for the best airshow experience, that really is the best option.