Newest Review: ... for you to stand on to get a better view of the runway, these also have telescopes you can pay for on them, I've never felt the need to us... more
You don't have to be sad to look at the planes!
Manchester Airport Aviation Viewing Park
Member Name: vickitoria10
Manchester Airport Aviation Viewing Park
Advantages: Excellent view of the planes, good facilities
Disadvantages: Concorde is now inside
The viewing park at Manchester airport is now a rarity among airports in England, most airports have closed their viewing areas due to security concerns. However Manchester has gone against this trend and recently expanded and updated this facility. Which I personally think is fantastic!
First off all, to get to it, you do not go the main airport terminals, it is located well away from the main buildings and in an area behind the cargo terminals at the side of the runway. (Leave the M56 signposted freight terminal (not the main airport junction) and then you pick up signs for the aviation viewing park and concorde - it's less than 5 mins down the road)
The entry cost has recently increased because of the improvements to the park - it is now £5 for a car and driver and £2 for additional passengers (under 4's are free), I don't think that this represents bad value considering the cost of other entertainment these days - you could stay here all day if you wanted.
The old features:
There are still 3 raised platforms for you to stand on to get a better view of the runway, these also have telescopes you can pay for on them, I've never felt the need to use them though! These raised areas are fantastic as it means you can take photos without looking through a wire fence. In between the platforms is a reasonable sized grass area with some picnic benches, of course you can bring your own chairs and rugs etc with you!
The old portacabin snack bar and shop have now gone and been are now incorporated into the new building.
The new features:
First of all anyone who has been in the last few years will notice that Concorde has been moved. It is no longer in the open air for everyone to see, in one way this is good as it doesn't block the view of the runway (it only partially did if you were stood on one of the platforms anyway) BUT, you can now only see it properly by paying £12.50 to go on a tour round it - I think this is a bit steep - the tour is 45 minutes long and takes you all the way round it, inside and out - perfect if you an avid Concorde enthusiast but for someone like me who just likes planes and would just like a look inside seems a bit over the top, I'd have been willing to pay say £2-3 to go in the hanger, take a few pics and have a look inside but didn't think the £12.50, 45 minute tour would be worthwhile to me. Instead we just peered through the glass in awe at this fantastic aircraft.
To one side of the hanger is a sit down restaurant, we didn't go in as we only wanted a snack, we had a quick look at the prices, Unfortunately I can't remember them but I think it was usual restaurant fare, I didn't say 'ooo that's cheap' or 'that's expensive!'
Before the hanger is an aviation shop selling radios, model aircraft, photos, books etc - anything you could want to do with a plane really!
Further round there is a takeaway snack bar - chips £1.50 (I think) so reasonably priced, they had hot dogs, burgers, ice creams, crisps, tea, coffee etc. There was another big grass area outside here with loads of picnic benches and still a good view of the planes, in fact when they were taxiing some were so close it was almost like you could touch them!
There's an old plane in this area that was open when we were there, we went in and had a look round it, it's nothing special, just an older plane!
Overall, if you have any interest in planes at all, I'd recommend a visit to the viewing park, you get an excellent view of the planes and it's an excellent opportunity to take some good photos!. And, you don't have to be sad to go!.....there are all sorts of people there, there are the enthusiasts with the radios and booklets, there were plenty of others like us that just like planes and find it fascinating watching them and taking photos, there were also quite a few families there when we were there (it was school holidays) and I would say it's a perfect place to take kids (although no ball games allowed) to show them what goes on in an airport.
We did get a bit bored after a couple of hours, when it's the same planes landing and taking off - we like variety! It's such a shame more airports round the country don't have areas like this. I'd love to see the A380 at Heathrow!! (Okay maybe I'm a bit sad!!)
An excellent afternoon out!
Summary: Every airport should have one of these!
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