Our Summer operating hours are:

Monday to Sunday - 9am - 7.30pm

Opening hours will be reviewed and may be subject to change. Any changes will be notified to the Members in advance.

Outside these times please email: flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com
Home > Blog > Best Scenic Routes For Light Aircraft Pilots In England

Best Scenic Routes for Light Aircraft Pilots in England

Posted 03 May 2023

Jurassic Coast

In this guide, we will discuss the best scenic routes in England and how you can experience breathtaking views from a light aircraft.

If you were to ask what the best part about being a pilot is, most candidates or professional pilots would tell you that it’s the ability to fly through scenic routes and get a perspective that is only accessible to a select few people.

Think about it, how many people get to explore the skies on their terms and take in the beauty of nature from high above? Unlike people on a passenger plane that have a restricted view of the outside, pilots can go wherever they want and explore scenic routes however they want.

In this guide, we will talk about the best scenic routes in England and how you can experience breathtaking views from a light aircraft!

Light Aircraft – The Best Way to Explore

Light planes offer something truly unique that not many other aircraft can provide. Even though all private aircraft can offer jaw-dropping views from above, there is just something about light aircraft that makes flying that much better.

Here is why they are so unique:

Light Aircraft Variety

Light aircraft are airplanes that have three distinct characteristics from regular and larger aircraft. The first thing is that they are much smaller. Unlike passenger planes that can seat several hundred people at a time, a light aircraft is designed to seat just 2-6 people.

The second characteristic is the weight of light aircraft. Light aircraft weigh considerably less. In comparison, a light aircraft can weigh anywhere around 6000-7000kgs while larger planes can go up to 100,000kgs or more depending on their size, build, and model.

The light weight of the aircraft allows it to be more efficient and aerodynamic, which adds to the overall flying experience. These aircraft are designed to be very fuel efficient and are ideal for even aerobatics or other thrill-seeking adventures.

Lastly, light aircraft are available in mainly two sub-types: flex and fixed-wing. Fixed-wing aircraft resemble regular aircraft that have a fixed-wing system. These aircraft are designed to seat 2-6 people and are usually powered by a high-output engine.

Although light aircraft have slower speeds, most fixed-wing aircraft can provide a very thrilling flying experience due to their compact body, aerodynamic design, and low weight.

Flex-wing aircraft, on the other hand, are even smaller aircraft that have a wing system built using fabric or any other flexible material. These aircraft usually seat 1-2 people and are the gold standard for exploration (we’ll discuss why below). Flex-wing aircraft also feature an open cockpit, unlike most traditional fixed-wing aircraft.

An open cockpit means that you can feel the air around you – and you also get an unobstructed view. If you want a 360-degree view of your surroundings, then a flex-wing is the aircraft for you!

Relaxed Licencing Requirements for Light Aircraft

In comparison to a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) which requires a lot of training, medical tests, and time, light aircraft only require a Private Pilot Licence which is way more relaxed in terms of the training requirements and even costs associated with obtaining the licence.

Make no mistake, though. A Private Pilot Licence is only awarded to the most determined and skilled candidates and each candidate’s profile is rigorously checked against the high standards set by the Civil Aviation Authority – but when it comes to convenience, a Private Pilot Licence is the default choice for most hobbyists and thrill seekers.

A Private Pilot Licence is also an excellent way for people to step into the world of aviation without committing a lot of time, effort, or money. For example, when you get your Private Pilot Licence, you will have the choice to further your skills by taking up extra certifications that can allow you to fly in various conditions.

If you ever decide to go the professional route, you can easily carry forward your experience and certifications when going for a Commercial Pilot Licence as well.

Experience Scenic Routes in Optimal Conditions

A big benefit of flying light aircraft is that you get to experience scenic routes in beautiful weather. Since most private pilots are only allowed to fly light aircraft under VFR (Visual Flight Rules) you will likely fly when the weather is perfect and visibility is clear.

This way you can always experience breathtaking views whenever you decide to fly. There are added certifications that candidates can pursue that can allow them to fly in less-than-ideal conditions too, but for most people, the basic version of a PPL is more than enough, especially when they only want to fly during optimal conditions.

You are in Control

Want to fly over the lake district or cruise over Yorkshire Dales? With a valid Private Pilot Licence and a light aircraft, you can easily decide your trip itinerary. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why many people go for light aircraft. Not only can you explore in peace, but you have full control over where you fly, so long as you have a duly filled flight plan.

This type of freedom and control is seldom seen in other types of aircraft that are destined to travel in a fixed route. You can even pick a day of your liking and plan your trip beforehand.

Free on Sunday or virtually any other day of the week? Then schedule a flight with your flight club and soar the skies on your own terms without worrying about a long list of route-related restrictions!

Introspection and Meditation

Unfortunately, when it comes to flying aircraft, many people fail to realise the positive impact that flying has on mental health. Not only does flying give you time for introspection, but many pilots use flying as a means of catharsis. There is no better way to breathe, meditate, and take it all in than when you are hundreds of feet up in the air.  

Flying truly changes people for the better and if you are someone that wants a different perspective on life, then we highly recommend that you go with light aircraft, particularly, flex-wing aircraft.

As explained above, most flex-wing aircraft are built with an open cockpit, which means that you can look around you and truly become one with the wind! Feeling the air and the response of the aircraft while navigating can only be described as an out-worldly experience.

Choosing the Right Aircraft for Scenic Routes

The best type of aircraft for scenic routes can depend on multiple factors. Here are some of the questions that you can ask yourself to help determine the best type of light aircraft for your needs:

Am I Flying Alone?

Flying is an experience that is best shared with the people that you love. If you decide to fly with more than two people, then it is best that you go with a traditional two, four, or six-seater light aircraft.

These aircraft are perfect for touring the skies with friends and since they have a closed cockpit, you can also freely communicate with people and explore scenic routes together. A big benefit of going with traditional fixed-wing light aircraft in this regard is that you can get real-time feedback on the flight and share the joy while exploring undiscovered planes.

You can also experience this in two-seater flex-wing aircraft, but to a lesser degree. Flex-wing aircraft don’t have a side-by-side seating arrangement. The pilot sits at the front while the passenger sits at the back. Both can still communicate via headsets or hand signals, but the experience is far better in larger fixed-wing aircraft.

Am I Planning for a Long Flight?

If you are planning a slightly longer trip, then you will need an aircraft that has a larger fuel tank. This is a very basic but essential part of planning any trip. A larger tank means that you can stay in the air for longer and you can even cover multiple areas without worrying about low fuel or landing.

If you are not going for a long trip and want to explore nearby areas, then you can go with virtually any type of aircraft. Most people find flex-wing light aircraft to be the best choice because you also get the added benefit of an open cockpit.

Fuel efficiency is also something that you will have to keep in mind. Most flight clubs have a dedicated fleet of light aircraft. You can ask your instructor or the crew for the best fuel-efficient plane for your flying needs.

Always remember to share your flight plan with other experienced pilots so that you can adjust your plans as per their recommendations. Furthermore, it is also recommended that you always fly aircraft within its limitations – it is also important to know your limitations too! If you can’t handle long flights due to fatigue, then it is much better to plan accordingly than to take unnecessary risks.

Am I Planning to Fly Outside of Visual Flight Rules?

As briefly explained above, most private pilots are only allowed to fly under VFR. In other words, they can only fly in certain weather conditions. For example, private pilots must only fly when the sky is clear, the sun is out, and there is no hindrance to visibility.

However, if you want to explore scenic routes in different weather conditions then you will have to go with a fixed-wing aircraft with flight instruments and you must also have IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) training.

Aircraft have various built-in systems that can help pilots navigate without relying on visual aid. For example, while it may be possible to fly in slightly foggy conditions under VFR, you will also need to have IFR training if you want to continue flying in not-so-great conditions.

Many people who go over the Jurassic Coast find it to be particularly majestic in certain weather conditions. While you can experience the beach, cliffs, and other geographical features in sunny conditions, there is just something magical about flying in slightly gloomy conditions.

If you are someone who has done plenty of flights in VFR, then we highly recommend that you also get IFR training so that you can experience the same places in a different setting.

Please keep in mind that not every aircraft has the required instruments that make it possible to fly in these adverse conditions. For example, many trikes (flex-wing aircraft) don’t have a complex instrument panel which means that you will have to go with a traditional fixed-wing aircraft that is rated for IFR flights.

Best Scenic Routes for Light Aircraft Pilots in England

There are plenty of beautiful scenic routes in England, and you can choose where you want to fly using this handy and categorised guide:

Routes for Exploring Geographical Features

Want to fly over lakes, mountains, and hills? Then we recommend going over the Lake District. Located in the Northwest of England, the Lake District is known for its beautiful geographical features that include mountains, rolling hills, and of course, lakes.

You can also visit the Jurassic Coast if you want to explore the breathtaking cliffs, beaches, and other amazing rock formations. The Jurassic Coast is recognised as a World Heritage Site and is found on the English Channel coast of southern England. The site has plenty of popular landmarks like Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, and much more.

Routes for Traditional English Landscape and Countryside

If you want to explore a classic English landscape that has historical buildings and the countryside, then we highly recommend going for the Yorkshire Dales which is known for its countryside view! Located in Northeast England, you will also get to see stunning views of waterfalls and small villages from the skies!

If you do want to go over Yorkshire Dales then we highly recommend that you fly with Sherburn Aero Club, which is perfectly situated as a base to explore plenty of scenic routes such as Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Yorkshire Coast, and more!

Not only this, but Sherburn Aero Club can also give you access to the Lake and Peak Districts which are known for their beautiful geographical features such as waterfalls, ancient woodlands, rugged landscapes, and more.

Cotswolds is another great route for pilots that want to get a mix of man-made structures and nature. Not only do you get to experience dramatic waterfalls and a long list of historical buildings, but you can also witness a range of small villages in the heart of England!

More Essential Routes

The Isle of Wight

Located off the South Coast of England, the Isle of Wight is a fantastic tourist spot that is known for its jaw-dropping beaches, geographical features, and a range of historic landmarks.

Fly over small and thoroughly romantic coastal towns. Make sure that you also visit the Needles, which is one of the quintessential places to fly over in the Isle of Wight!

The South Downs

Do you enjoy flying over scenic hills with an awe-inspiring view? Then make sure you travel to the South Downs. Located in the South of England, this destination stretches from Hampshire to Sussex, so you will get to see plenty of landmarks.

Not only this, but the South Downs is also host to coasts and you can even experience the countryside!

The Norfolk Broads

If you are in the mood to explore wildlife from an aerial perspective, then we highly recommend checking out the Norfolk Broads.

Located in the East of England, this area is known for its amazing natural beauty. Experience tranquil lakes, natural landmarks, and fly over beautiful windmills with the backdrop of a stunning sunset.

The Brecon Beacons

Fly over dramatic mountain ranges that are sure to captivate your imagination!

The Brecon Beacons is in South Wales and is home to one of the best views that the UK has to offer. From lakes to geographical features to jaw-dropping sunsets, there is something for everyone here!

Northumberland Coast

Looking for quiet and immaculate beaches?

Then we can’t recommend Northumberland Coast enough. This is the best place to visit for pilots that want to introspect above ground while flying through rugged cliffs, beaches, and beautiful historic castles.


Sherburn Aero Club, which has been operational since 1964, is the ideal place for most of your training and flying needs. It is one of the largest flying clubs in the North of England and also one of the largest in the country.

If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licences, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.

With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand-new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran. The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation in the long run.

Sherburn offers a dedicated day-long Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) course for those wishing to get the certification, running the first Sunday of every month.

In addition to that, if you are looking for a hangarage for your own aircraft, need servicing or repairs, want to buy a new aircraft or aviation equipment, or are just looking to enjoy and watch the aircraft, Sherburn Aero Club is the place to be.

Call us at 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on light aircraft, the best scenic routes, training requirements, licencing procedures, as well as experience flights and pilot training at Sherburn.


Photo by Jack B on Unsplash 



Latest Posts

Contact us

GDPR - By clicking submit, you agree that Sherburn Aero Club will hold the details you have provided in the form above to enable your enquiry to be addressed in a timely manner. Your details will not be passed on to any other organisations and will not be used for marketing purposes. If you wish these details to be deleted from our system at any time, please contact us.