Have you ever flown in a helicopter or small aircraft before? It’s an undeniably incredible experience, and something that everyone should add to their bucket list. Once you take your first flight, I’m sure you’ll be keen to try more and more. Smaller aircrafts, whether fixed wing or helicopter, can fly much lower than a commercial airbus, as well as provide a more intimate experience. This makes them perfect for tours and sightseeing, and the North East has a lot to see! Have you ever wanted to see the Lady of the North from above, as it was intended to be viewed? Well, this is your chance. How about Newcastle’s famous bridges, or Durham’s many cathedrals? There’s an abundance of tours to choose from, at a selection of different prices. We promise you that whether you’re a first-time flyer or a keen tour-goer, there’s something for everyone on this list. We’ve put together our favourite sightseeing tours and pleasure flights in the North East of England, and we think it showcases perfectly what the North East has to offer. So, without further ado, let’s find out our favourites…
To start off, we’ve got the best helicopter flying
experience for beginners. If you’ve never flown in a helicopter before and would
love to say you’ve tried it, or you just want to test out the waters (or skies)
before going all out, this is the perfect experience.
Unlike other buzz flights, this experience flight from Newcastle airport understands that going up in a helicopter for the first time is kind of a big deal and treats it like the special occasion it is. All passengers will receive a glass of bubbly and some celebratory chocolates upon landing, making this experience extra special. You’ll get plenty of time to take lots of photos before, after and during your flight. Buzz flights typically last for around 5 minutes, so if the feeling of whizzing around the skies is not for you, it won’t be long until you’ll be back on flat ground. But I bet as soon as the flights over, you’ll be right back here looking for your next adventure up in the air!
Scenic Air Tours have a friendly and warm approach to sightseeing tours. They use fixed-wing aircrafts, which do not quite have the manoeuvrability of helicopters, but are still a great way to explore the skies. They price the flights per aircraft, not per person, so you can choose to have 1, 2 or 3 passengers for the total of £179. Your friendly pilot will take you through your journey using an interactive iPad, so you know what to look out for and when. This tour lets you see a little of everything, including Durham Cathedral, the Sage Gateshead, the Tyne Bridges and the star of the show, the Lady of the North. You can find Charles Jencks’ incredible art piece in Northumberlandia park. It is a stunning human landform sculpture, scaling 100 feet in height and spanning over 400 metres. It is one of the largest land sculptures in existence. Although walking around the park is beautiful, it is nothing compared to seeing the lady from above in her full glory. The modern art was only completed in 2012, but the land and sculpture will be left to develop and mature naturally over time. Drones are not permitted at the park, so a flight might be your only chance to ever see this history-making sculpture from the skies.
Back to our most popular helicopter tour in the North East, the 30-minute complete tour of Tyne & Wear. After departing from Newcastle airport, this tour will take you around Newcastle, the North East Coast and Sunderland, before returning over the countryside to the airport. What don’t you see on this tour? Any football fan will be glad to know you’ll pass the famous St. James Park and the rivalling Stadium of Light, where many Tyne & Wear derbies have taken place. You’ll of course experience all the top sights Newcastle has to offer, such as the Tyne Bridges, Gateshead and Antony Gormley’s striking Angel of the North sculpture. You’ll then continue South toward Sunderland, where you’ll explore the South Shields area and, of course, the city centre while you eagerly try to spot the familiar sights below. You’ll even get to see the Penshaw monument, built in 1844. The Temple of the North is located on Penshaw Hill, and is well worth spotting from up above. This helicopter tour will allow you to marvel at Tyne & Wear’s unique architecture and history, while your friendly pilot talks you through the sights. There’s nothing quite like a helicopter tour. As many will tell you, the way the aircraft can hover, turn and move is unlike any other flying experience available!
This is another fixed-wing flight experience, departing from
Durham airport. This sightseeing tour is perfect for history buffs and ancient
ruin lovers! Hadrian’s wall is rich with history, and once ran from one side of
the North coast to the other, spanning a grand total of 73 miles. It would take
around 6 days to walk the whole thing, whereas this incredible sightseeing tour
allows you to see the entire wall’s ruins in just over an hour (plus more!) The
glorious UNESCO World Heritage Site has over 20 separate locations to visit,
and you’ll get to see them all from an amazing 100ft vantage point. Some of the
more notable parts of the site you’ll get to spot from above include Chesters
Roman Fort, Corbridge Roman Town, and Housesteads Fort. If that stunning part
of history wasn’t enough, you’ll then fly over the beautiful Pennines mountain
range which runs directly down the middle of the North. For this reason, it’s
often referred to as the backbone of England. Finally, before your return to
Durham airport, you’ll pass over the pretty little market town of Barnard
Castle, where you’ll be able to spot the castle ruins that gave the town its
name. You don’t have to worry about missing anything, as you’ll have an
interactive iPad on hand for the flight, so you’ll know exactly what to look
This exhilarating helicopter flying experience takes place
in Newcastle airport. It allows you to take the controls and learn how to fly a
helicopter yourself. Not only do you get to experience the heart racing
vertical take-off and the unbeatable feeling of hovering high up in the skies,
you’ll also get to experience what it’s truly like to be a pilot. Flying a
helicopter is incredibly difficult, but at the end of the day, it’s a lot of
fun! The manoeuvrability of the aircraft is unlike any other. In order to
produce this, helicopters are controlled not only by the cyclic stick (a kind
of straight steering wheel) which can be tilted forward and back as well as
sideways, but also by the flight control system, collective lever, throttle and
foot pedals. Each control plays its part in altering the angle of the blades
and rotors that generate the helicopter’s lift. You’ll learn how to combine all
of these to move and stop the helicopter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying
it’s easy, but you’ll have a professional pilot next to you with duel control,
so you’ll be in the safest of hands. With a minimum age restriction of 12, this
is a great gift for anyone interested in flying and helicopters!
This 30-minute sightseeing tour covers a lot of the same area as our Tyne and Wear helicopter tour. Departing from Durham, this flight takes place in a small fixed-wing aircraft. This is an intimate private tour with one passenger and the pilot. The flight can start with several different routes, depending on preference. The customer can choose either the striking Angel of the North, Durham Cathedral or the beautiful northern coast. Durham cathedral is now a designated UNESCO world heritage site, and it’s easy to see why. I might even go as far as to say it looks even more majestic from the sky. However, seeing the waves crash against the shore along the North East coast is a stunning sight to see from the unique vantage point of the aircraft. You’ll then move on to fly over Newcastle, spotting the Tyne & Wear bridges and then down to Sunderland too. This experience will even allow the customer to take the controls of the plane, which is great fun, and you get to tell all your friends and family that you’re officially a pilot!
We hope you found what you were looking for, and we did a good job of showing you all the amazing flying experiences the North East has to offer. Whether it’s an exciting helicopter tour, or a relaxing light aircraft pleasure flight, we can promise you to fly is an unbeatable experience that you won’t be able to get enough of. Please view our complete list of flying experiences in the North East here. If you’ve got any questions about flying for the first time, please check out our What to Expect From a Helicopter Flight article. Alternatively, we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, however big or small.