Free Things To Do in Manchester: Go Plane Spotting at the Runway Visitor Park

Adjacent to the busy runways of Manchester Airport, the visitor park has something for all the family...

By Manchester's Finest | August 26th '22

I remember back in the early 90s, my sister and I were dragged to Manchester Airport at some ungodly hour to watch the legendary Concorde land – and my dad even filmed it on his new Sharp camcorder.

Strangely enough, he wasn’t the only one either. The place was absolutely packed with families (and the odd loner weirdo) – all wanting to catch a glimpse of the iconic aircraft, and although no new plane comes even close to the beauty of Concorde, it seems that we humans still want to marvel at the miracles of flight.

I think that’s perhaps why the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport is just so popular – it seems to bring out the wonder of air travel – both in kids, and adults who never really seem to give up gawking at jumbo jets.

The Runway Visitor Park, which is located right on the western fringes of the main runway at Manchester Aiport, offers not just brilliant runway views though – they’ve added plenty of things to do for all the family – once you’re sick of waving at people going on their holidays.

I actually re-visited the Runway Visitor Park last year, to meet up with my sister and little nephew and he absolutely bloody loved it. It’s perfect for families with small kids, with loads of space for them to run about, picnic tables for sinking Capri Suns and even a proper Play Area where they can try and fling over the top of the swings and go back in time.

Inside the Nimrod // @_oz__photography

Also on site are five retired aircraft which you can have a look at, including the aforementioned Concorde. Also on site is the Avro RJX which was the UK’s last ever airliner, cancelled by the manufacturer due to the September 11th attacks, as well as the RAF Nimrod – which was a bit of a failure and was also scrapped due to spiralling costs back in 2010.

There’s also a Trident airliner, and the UK’s last remaining Monarch DC-10, which, if films like Passenger 57 or Executive Decision have taught us anything, was a damn fine plane back in the day.

The Runway Visitor Park is FREE to enter (although there is a charge for parking) and there are also a few added extras in there – should you have a bit of cash flying around. There’s a Flight Simulator that puts you in control of a P-38 Lightning as well as the chance to book a tour of the inside of the Concorde, including a glass of champagne too – just like they used to do back in the 80s.

The Runway Visitor Park is open throughout the year, come rain or shine – and if it is raining fear not – for the viewing platform features a covered area so you won’t get soaked.

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For all the information on visiting the Runway – head on over to their very helpful website here:

Runway Visitor Park