Platinum Jubilee bank holiday: Where can I watch the RAF flypast?

The Red Arrows performing a flypast Credit: PA

It would not be a jubilee without a traditional flypast and this year's airborne salute is unlikely to disappoint fans of aviation and British history.

On Thursday, 70 aircraft from the Royal Navy, the Army and Royal Air Force will soar over Buckingham Palace watched by the Queen and members of the Royal Family.

But if you cannot get to the Mall, there will be plenty of opportunities to see the flypast en route.

Here's what you need to know about where you can see Platinum Jubilee flypast and at what time.

How many aircraft will take part and what will they be?

The full flypast will see 70 aircraft - more than three times the number which took part in the Queen’s last birthday parade flypast in central London in 2019.

The formation will include the iconic Red Arrows and the historic Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

The display will feature helicopters from the Royal Navy and the Army and RAF aircraft recently seen responding to events in Kabul and Ukraine and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Queen and members of the royal family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace watch a 2019 flypast Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

When is the flyover?

The flypast will follow the Queen’s Birthday Parade, known as Trooping The Colour, which is due to begin at 10am. A display of military pageantry, the parade involves 1,500 officers and soldiers and 250 horses from the British Army’s Household Division on Horse Guards Parade. 

What time is the flyover?

The flypast is expected to soar over the Buckingham Palace balcony at approximately 1pm at a height of 1,000ft – 1,400ft, but there will be opportunities to watch the planes as they head towards London.

According to Military Airshows, a website tracking air show routes, the display will begin at 11.45am, with aircraft amassing over the Wash, a bay at the north-western corner of East Anglia.

Coming in from the North Sea, the planes and helicopters will turn back over East Anglia and southward towards the capital.

People living in Thetford and Swaffham in Norfolk, or Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, could see the planes as early as 12:15pm.

Residents of Braintree and Chelmsford in Essex should also look to the skies at around 12:30pm. The flypast may be visible over Romford and Walthamstow, north-east of London, as early as 12:40pm, as the flypast heads closer to centre of the capital.

Weather permitting, the 70-strong aerial convoy will appear over Buckingham Palace at 1pm.

The planes will then be visible over south London until approximately 1:30pm, when they will head west over the skies of Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

The scene from the roof of Buckingham Palace as crowds gather for the flypast in 2002 Credit: Chris Ison/PA

What if the weather is bad?

The flypast is subject to weather but fortunately for flyover fans, it looks like Thursday will be fair.