Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe

This post is based on a visit in June 2022. Please always check for the most up-to-date information with the venue direct when making plans and before setting off.

 Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe

A few people had mentioned that Eshott Airfield is somewhere I should visit and write about. My 6 year old nephew is currently into planes and as we'd recently watched Maverick together, we thought why not continue the Top Gun theme and visit the airfield together to see what it was all about. 

Eshott Airfield is open for public viewing from 9am-7pm seven days a week. It's free to visit and watch the planes and you don't need to book ahead. During our visit, a few people just seemed to pop by as they were passing to see if anything was happening rather than making a specified trip. 

I would personally recommend visiting on a Thursday-Sunday as their newly refurbished tea room is open on these days from 10am-4pm. More on this further down the post. Again, no booking required for the tea room. 

The airfield is home to over 60 aircraft and 190 pilots and is also used as a refueling base. We visited on a breezy Sunday afternoon and watched 5 planes take off across a few hours. To see the most action, I recommend visiting on a calm day when the weather's good. 

Dogs are welcome to visit but must be kept on a lead at all times. They can sit inside the cafe too and dog water / puppachinos are available. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe

Eshott Airfield is located just off the A1 in Northumberland near both Felmoor Park and Bockenfield Country Park. It's ideal for combining with a visit to nearby Northumberland Zoo or Felton or popping into on the way to or from a day in Alnwick

There is free on site visitor parking, toilets and a baby change. Use postocode NE65 9QJ. Once you have turned off the A1, it's the second turn in (not to be mistaken with Northumbrian Woodland Burials!). 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - location map

The staff in both the cafe and airfield are absolutely fantastic. They are the kind of people who go out of their way to ensure visitors have an excellent experience and will go the extra mile. Nothing is too much trouble. 

Some of the aircraft can be noisy - just something to consider if your dog is sensitive to this kind of thing. Children who are sensitive to loud noises may wish to bring air defenders too. I have to say though, the noise is very sporadic and not persistant, once their engines have started the aircraft doesn't seem to hang around for too long. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - dog friendly

If you visit during the cafe opening hours (currently Thurs-Sun 10am-4pm), you can sit inside and enjoy a view of the airfield over lunch / coffee / ice cream. It's a lovely space with high chairs for kids available. Simply order and pay at the counter. 

There are various maps, magazines and paintings / photographs based around flying / the airfield to flick through too. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - inside the cafe

You can also sit on the viewing bar which gives you a prime view of the airfield. Sometimes planes take off from here but it does depend on the wind speed and direction. Other times you will see them taxi right in front of you here and then take off in the adjacent field (you still have a great view). 

There are regular picnic tables on the grassed area overlooking the airfield too. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - viewing area

The menu is brilliant value and features local suppliers including Tynemouth Coffee Co, R Green and Son, Doddington Diary, Morwick Dairy, Alnwick Farm Cakery and The Northumberland Pantry. I love the little touch on the menu which shares how many air miles each of these suppliers are from the air field. 

Sandwiches are £7 and served on freshly cut thick bloomers, ice cream is £2.50 for a small tub and kids lunch bags are £5 which come with a free model plane for them to build with and play. This was a lovely touch. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe - free model plane

I did find my Black Americano to be on the pricey side at £2.50 (it does my head in when it's a whole 50p more to top an espresso up with hot water) but it was lovely and I was happy to pay a premium for the lovely surroundings and service. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - menu

Our sandwiches were super fresh and delicious, I would definitely recommend a lunch stop here. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - sandwich

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - inside the cafe

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - dog water bowls

As well as the lovely cafe and public viewing area, regular free hanger tours operate throughout the day on selected dates. On the day of our visit, there were at 11am, 1pm and 3pm and led by one of the pilots. They last around 30 minutes and are super interesting. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - free hanger tours

Just let the staff in the cafe know you'd like to take a tour and they'll let you know when it's about to start. The tour will share more information about the vehicles and aircraft in the airfield, more about flying and the engineering involved plus is a chance to get up and close with the aircraft. Kids can sit in a plane if there is one available too. Questions are encouraged. 

I didn't join the tour as Fozzy wasn't in the right frame of mind to sit and listen carefully but my brother and Evan (6) thoroughly enjoyed it. It was mostly adults in our group and there were two young kids too. All are welcome to join. There is a short amount of walking involved. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - RAF chipmunk

I think each tour must be slightly different and you might see different aircraft depending on what's available on the day. 

Visiting Eshott Airfield & Cafe  - public viewing area

Like a lot of 6 year olds, Evan absolutely loves technology and his favourite things to do are watch YouTube videos or play computer games. The free plane toy he was given with his lunch and watching the planes kept him entertained for hours though and he didn't once ask to watch YouTube / say he was bored.

He loved it and as the planes were taking off he was running alongside with his model plane and mimicking the actions. Definitely one of those educational days out which is fun for kids too. 

As the boys went off on their tour, I ordered myself another coffee and just sat with Fozzy enjoying the peace and views. I wish I'd brought my kindle. The sun came out and it was so relaxing. Just a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I'm no plane enthusiast but I had a lovely time and it was great to see Evan so enthusiastic about a day out too. I will definitely pop by again when I'm looking to stop for coffee / lunch in the area, it's a real gem of a place. 

It's worth mentioning that you can book experience flights and flying lessons from Eshott. From my time there, I know the team are super knowledgable and if I was going to book this kind of thing, I would not hesitate in recommending them. 

Their 60 minutes 'Coast and Castles' experience is available from £99 per person and looks like a fantastic introduction. You can buy as a gift too. I like if you do this, friends and family can easily spectate from the cafe of public viewing area. 

Flying lessons are available from £129 and you can book unique experiences such as a flight in a 1950s RAF Chipmunk too. Find out more about flight experiences and lessons here. 

Finally, I highly recommend following Eshott Airfield on Facebook here.  They share photos of what they've been up to / information about what's coming up plus some stunning photos from the sky and some of their flights too. 

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