How to Find Safe and Legal Places to Fly Your Drone

When you get your first drone and are ready to get out for some test flights, one of the key things to consider is where are you allowed to fly. Flying a drone can be a thrilling hobby, but it's important to make sure that you're doing so safely and legally. In the UK, there are a number of rules and regulations that drone pilots need to be aware of in order to fly safely and avoid fines or penalties. Nobody wants to cause damage to property, or worse still, an injury to a member of the public, so where to fly is a key factor. Some places, such as areas close to airports and prisons, are off-limits to drones for obvious reasons.

How to Find Safe and Legal Places to Fly Your Drone

The first step in finding safe and legal places to fly your drone is to familiarise yourself with the UK's drone laws and regulations. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the main regulatory body for drones in the UK and provides a wealth of information on its website, including information on where drones are allowed to fly.

Restricted Areas

In general, drones are not allowed to fly within 5km of an airport or airfield, or within 150m of a congested area. Drones are also not allowed to fly above 400ft (122m) or within 50m of people, vehicles, buildings, or structures. It's important to note that these restrictions are subject to change depending on the location.

Wide open spaces are great for drone flying, so farmland, public parks and beaches are ideal. You may need permission for some of these, and local bylaws may apply, so always check. Some nature reserves and land belonging to English Heritage are generally no-fly zones. The beauty of open spaces is that you have good lines of sight on your aircraft and there are less obstructions to avoid. You may be challenged by other members of the public when flying a drone but there’s a difference between it being illegal and just being something they disapprove of. If this happens it’s best to politely explain that you are operating safely and legally and to avoid conflict.

Another key consideration when flying your drone is to be aware of any temporary flight restrictions that may be in place. These can be caused by events such as major sporting events, airshows, or emergency services operations. The CAA's website provides information on any temporary flight restrictions that are currently in place.

Another way to find safe and legal places to fly your drone is to check out the map of UK drone no-fly zones. You can find the map on the CAA's website and you can also download the map to help you find the best location to fly. (external link to CAA website or

Once you’ve found a suitable place to fly your drone it's also important to be aware of the weather conditions. Strong winds, heavy rain, and fog can all make flying a drone unsafe, so it's important to check the weather forecast the day before and just before take off. Extremes of temperature can also affect battery life and performance. The weather in the UK  can change very quickly, so have a plan in mind if conditions are variable. Consider a suitable emergency landing spot and don’t fly the drone too far away from you if it looks like rain is coming.


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About the Author: DSR Journalist

Harrison Green