RAF centenary flypast: The best spots to watch the planes go by in London and Essex

Emily Nicolle
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Here's the best spots to watch Spitfires and the Red Arrows today
Here's the best spots to watch Spitfires and the Red Arrows today (Source: Getty)

Today the Royal Air Force (RAF) will be celebrating its 100th birthday with a 100-strong flypast from Ipswich, over Essex and culminating in a direct fly over of Buckingham Palace.

We've compiled a list of the best places you can go to guarantee the best view of this once-in-a-lifetime show.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you might have noticed that the south east will be jostling for a spot to see the flypast today. The festivities will kick off around 11:25am with a special parade of 1,000 RAF personnel in front of Buckingham Palace.

Read more: RAF centenary flypast: What you need to know and where you can watch it


For security reasons, the exact timings and locations of the flypast can't be revealed ahead of the event. However you can expect the planes to start making their way off from Ipswich around 12:45pm, with rumours suggesting it'll be heading over the A12.


Coming in north of Colchester, the planes will head towards Marks Tey, Kelvedon and Witham before passing over the north and east of Chelmsford.

If you live in any of these towns, head for your nearest park to watch the planes fly overhead.

But don't worry if you can't make it outside: the RAF has made an augmented reality app so that you can watch the flypast inside on your phone, or you can catch it on BBC Iplayer.

Read more: RAF July centenary flypast: There's an augmented reality app for that


Once in London, the flypast will go over the Olympic Park in Stratford, Hackney, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch before getting to Buckingham Palace and The Mall at around 1pm.

While The Mall will be the best spot to watch the flypast as it makes its final demonstration before dispersing over Surrey, there are some other key spots that you might want to consider that could be closer to home.

The open space of Victoria Park in the east will provide the best chance of seeing the whole thing, right as the planes begin to come together for their final show.

After that, your best bet is anywhere along London Southbank where there'll be limited amounts of all buildings to block your view. You could always pick a spot on one of the bridges closer to the palace, like Southwark Bridge, the Millennium Bridge, Blackfriars or Waterloo Bridge if you're popping out from the office.

Or if you're busy watching the tennis, the planes will be due to fly past Wimbledon as they head towards the west after flying over the Palace.

Read more: RAF centenary flypast over central London today: What to look out for

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