AFTER three failed attempts the Red Arrows have finally soared over Southampton.

It was the first time that the aerobatic team have flown over the city in their entire history.

Although the Red Arrows flew over Cowes last month they had to call off three previous attempts over Southampton due to the weather.

Crowds were wowed as they careered across the sky performing various manoeuvres.

Coming from across Southampton they took part in a series of aerobatics for more than 20 minutes, leaving trails of red, white and blue smoke over the pontoons at the show.

For many the highlight was when two planes created a heart in the sky before a third shot a bolt through the middle.

They also performed a cascade of colours, darting out from the centre and taking different directions through the sky.

On several occasions the aicraft flew towards each other across the harbour and passing only a matter of metres from each other.

Flt Lt Stew Campbell from the Red Arrows said, “We thoroughly enjoyed performing our first ever display at the Southampton Boat Show today and hope we entertained visitors with our aerobatic manoeuvres.

Flying over Europe’s largest purpose built marina really brought home the scale and size of the event. We’re sure this won’t be our last appearance.”

For great-grandmother Gwen Appleton the event will be something she will be knocking off her "bucket list" after waiting seven times to see them.

"That was amazing she said. How they must trust each other. That was well worth waiting seven times for," the 73-year old from Bitterne said.

"The hairs on the back of my neck stood up."

Sandra Brown from Hythe, had also wanted to see to seem over the marina in her home town when they attempted to fly earlier in the summer but was lucky this time.

She said: "Weren't they brilliant. I heard one young man say it makes you proud to be British, and he's right, it does. 

"My daughter and her husband were here earlier but they've gone. They've missed the best part of the day. It was well worth hanging around for."

The exhilarating performance follows the opening day of Southampton Boat Show which sees more than 120 boats make their debut and included special appearances from Gadget Show presenter, Suzi Perry and Britain’s Got Talent Winners, Collabro.

Murray Ellis, managing director of British Marine Boat Shows said, “After 47 years in Southampton, we’re always looking to excite our visitors with innovative and exciting experiences.

"This year we’ve not only brought the Red Arrows to Southampton, but we’ve also constructed a purpose built Aquarium, showcased another spectacular Tall Ship – The Earl of Pembroke – and created the Adventure River Canoe Ride for the younger generation.

"All of these attractions, combined with the hundreds of boats on the marina, and the opportunities to get out on the water for free, really turn the Show into a festival of boating for everyone.”