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RAF Coningsby Viewing Area – A Complete Guide

If you love aviation, then RAF Coningsby viewing area in Lincolnshire is the perfect place. Here’s all the info for visiting.

How To Get To RAF Coningsby Viewing Area

RAF Coningsby is located nearly 10 miles (15.8 km) north west of Boston and about 14 miles (22.5km) north east of Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

It is on the southern edge of Coningsby village, near the A153/A155 and the easiest way to get there is by car.

The plane spotting area is located at Dogdyke Road, Coningsby LN4 4SY, where there is a free public car park. 

Once you get close to Coningsby you will see signs for both RAF Coningsby and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).

Follow the signs and you will pass the BBMF hangar where you will see a small parking/viewing area next to the fence on the left but for the main viewing area, continue a short way south on this road. 

You will come to a parking area with a gravel surface and this is the official plane spotting area where you can safely watch the aircraft flying in and out.

RAF Coningsby Viewing Area Entrance Fee

It is free to visit the RAF Coningsby Viewing Area.

RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
Arriving at the plane spotting car park.

RAF Coningsby Viewing Area Opening Times

RAF Coningsby Viewing Area is open all day, every day.

RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
The lay-by car park where plane spotters gather.

Best Time To Visit RAF Coningsby For Plane Spotting

The best time to visit and see plenty of action is between 9am and 6pm on any weekday.

However, Friday afternoons are said to be not as good a time to visit as flying is at a minimum due to all the aircraft being towed into the hangars for the weekend.

Take a picnic as you may end up being there a while, waiting for the next exciting take off or landing.

There are no facilities at the viewing area. There is however a toilet available at the petrol station near the  A153/B1192 junction.

If you have a motorhome it is possible to stay overnight here.

Be careful not to walk through any fields of crops in the area.

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Beanie Hat

Knit Gloves

RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
We camped out the night before in order to see the planes take off.
RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
A burger van arriving for breakfast.

RAF Coningsby History

RAF Coningsby opened in November 1940, during the Second World War, serving as an RAF Bomber Command Station.

However, the original grass runways struggled to cope with heavy bomber operations.

So between September 1942 and August 1943 the airfield closed whilst paved runways and new hangars were built for such aircraft.

The first unit to return, equipped with Avro Lancaster heavy bombers, was the now famous 617 squadron, known as the Dambusters.

In 1944 this squadron, requiring more space, moved to nearby Woodhall Spa and was replaced by another Lancaster squadron.

After the Second World War, Coningsby became the home of the Mosquito equipped 109 Squadron and 139 Squadron and it 1953 it received its first jet aircraft – the English Electric Canberra.

Coningsby has been a fighter station since the Phantom arrived in the late 1960s, followed by the Tornado and now the Typhoon.

In fact, Coningsby was the first airfield to receive the Phantoms, the Tornado ADV and was the first to receive its replacement, the Eurofighter Typhoon. 

RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
The planes in their hangers.

What To Expect At RAF Coningsby Viewing Area

This large gravel car park provides plenty of parking in a fenced off area that allows good views of aircraft coming and going.

RAF Coningsby is currently one of two RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Stations which protect the UK airspace. (RAF Lossiemouth is the other.)

It is therefore home to two frontline, combat ready squadrons and is also the training station for Typhoon pilots. So there’s plenty to see! 

It is also home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) and the associated visitor centre since March 1976.  (Access to this hangar is by guided tour only and admission charges apply.)

RAF Coningsby is a busy airfield with nearly 3000 Service Personnel, Civil Servants, and contractors all working on the base at any given time.

Flying is usually on weekdays only and normally limited to between the hours of 9am and 6pm. Although there will be occasional flights after this time.

If you’re lucky, on a busy day you will see plane after plane with no more than half and hour or so without any action. 

If you can can only get there at weekends, look out for any airshows which usually take place over weekends during the display season, which is between April and October each year.

I would highly recommend plane spotting at RAF Coningsby as a great day out, especially for aircraft enthusiasts of course!

RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
Lauren ready to see some fighter jets take off.
RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
Lined up ready for action.
RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
The closest we got to the planes.
RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
Lauren nervous of the patrol dogs.
Fighter Jet RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
A jet takes off and the sound is incredible.
Fighter Jet RAF Coningsby Plane Spotting
A jet flys directly over the campervan.

Where To Stay In Coningsby

Luxury

Petwood Hotel

Originally built in 1905, and surrounded by 30 acres of beautiful gardens, this former country house offers free Wi-Fi, free car parking, and log fires in the drawing room. It boasts a beauty and wellbeing studio, restaurant, terrace bar, as well as conference and banqueting facilities.

Rooms at the Petwood Hotel feature an en suite bathroom with a hairdryer. They also include a TV, radio, tea/coffee making facilities and some rooms have garden views.

The Restaurant serves fine cuisine influenced by locally sourced produce. The hotel famous for its RAF connection, was part of 617 Squadron in World War II.

You can visit the Squadron Bar to view memorabilia and tributes to the officers. The Squadron Bar is also available for private hire.

Mid-Budget

Holiday Home Breaks At Tattershall Lakes

Featuring garden views, Holiday Home Breaks At Tattershall Lakes offers accommodation with a private beach area and a balcony, around 24.2 miles from Lincoln University.

This property offers access to a terrace, ping-pong, free private parking and free WiFi. Guests have access to spa facilities, wellness packages and can also attend fitness classes.

The sustainable holiday park is located on the ground floor, with 3 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV with streaming services and a fully equipped kitchen that provides guests with an oven, a microwave, a washing machine, a toaster and a fridge.

A private entrance leads guests into the holiday park, where they can enjoy some wine or champagne and chocolates or cookies. This holiday park is allergy-free and non-smoking.

Budget

The Leagate Inn

Located just 24 miles outside of Lincoln, The Leagate is in the quiet village of Coningsby. Surrounded by countryside, this 16th century inn offers free parking on-site and free Wi-Fi access to all guests. It also has a bar and a restaurant.

Within the contemporary designed rooms of The Leagate, there is a TV, a work desk, tea and coffee making facilities and an en suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries.

The restaurant serves a full English breakfast and a continental breakfast in the mornings. In the evening, there are a variety of bar meals available to guests along with a wide range of beverages.

For more places to stay in Coningsby, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

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