Sunderland Airshow


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The International Sunderland Airshow is one of the North East’s largest annual events with an estimated 1 million visitors over the weekend. I have always wanted to take my children but such large crowds and the traffic queues have always put me off. I was therefore very excited to learn that DFDS Seaways offer a day sailing cruise to the event and after experiencing such a lovely time onboard during our previous trips, I knew this would be an ideal way to watch the show with my three children.

We boarded KING SEAWAYS at 11am on Saturday morning and headed straight up to the mermaid bar on level 10 where our children enjoyed free balloon modelling and face painting as we set sail from North Shields. The panoramic views were stunning as we left the mouth of the Tyne.

Face Painting on Sunderland Airshow Sailing

As we headed towards Sunderland, we took our seats in the 7 Seas restaurant. We enjoyed a delicious three course buffet lunch which included tapas and seafood starters, lasagne with salad, spaghetti bolognese and chicken curry with rice and chips for main, with chocolate mousse, lemon cheesecake and truffles for dessert. As well as plenty of freshly baked bread from the ships’s resident onboard baker. Our lunch was perfectly timed to finish just as the airshow was about to begin so we all headed out onto deck where we were delighted with wonderful, un-interrupted views of the crowded coastline.

We watched the show on deck for 2 hours and really did have the most spectacular view as planes and helicopters wowed the crowds with their stunts, dives and high speeds. It was particularly special as the planes flew right above our head towards the beach and hovered right in front of our eyes. Some of the planes were fairly noisy and maybe a bit too much at times for my four year old so it was nice to be able to pop inside when we needed a break (and we could still watch from the windows).

Sunderland Airshow Sailing Sunderland Airshow Sailing

Two hours was more than enough for my three children and they started to get a little bored towards the end. Luckily, we stumbled upon some entertainment in the Columbus Club bar inside and we all had lots of fun dancing and singing along to the disco and live band as we travelled home. There was a real family party atmosphere with young and old all having fun together.

If like me you aren’t too keen on tackling the crowds of the airshow and are not sure how your children would cope with the noise, a day sailing DFDS Seaways cruise could definitely be for you.

We had such a fun and most importantly for me – stress and hassle free time onboard and we will definitely be back for more next year.

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