Posted by: OffToExplore | May 4, 2011

Watching the Planes Roll In

As you exit the motorway at Manchester Airport, you might just see a small yellow sign. It says Airplane Viewing Area or something like that. Follow the sign. Follow the sign for many minutes. When you get to the point where you are sure you must have missed it, keep going a little farther. Trust me, it’s farther than you think. Take a sharp left, then a sharp right next to a tiny pub and a random field, and suddenly you’re there.

Where’s there, exactly? A hidden gem for plane spotters, kids who like planes, and families looking for a laid back way to spend an afternoon. The Airplane Viewing Area, or whatever it’s called, is a huge area right on one of the main runways. You’re right in line for take-offs and landings, and close enough to hear the whine of the engines as they kick into high gear. With a large, fenced-in area to run around in, many kids would be in heaven with just this.

But wait, there’s more! You can also board several aircrafts that are on display. Most are free, like a generic liner, a small test plane, and the Nimrod. There’s a Concorde kept in a special hanger; /that/ you have to pay to tour. We didn’t.

There’s a surprisingly nice playground, as well as some not particularly impressive food. Probably best to bring your own picnic, but treats like ice cream can be found along with the sad-looking sandwiches.

Best of all, it’s free, except for the Concorde. Second best of all, there’s a coffee bar as well, in case some members of your group are cold or just not that into the planes.

Parking is £3 an hour, which is steep but reasonable for a free museum. (D.C.’s Udvar-Hazy center, impossible to get to without a car but featuring a $12 parking fee, I’m looking at you…)



  1. Okay, so what was YOUR daughter’s response to this outing?! It sounds really cool.

    • She loved it. Still talking about it!

      Sent from my iPod

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