The Manchester Airport play park perfect for a picnic where kids can watch planes take off

The plane-shaped climbing frame at Manchester Airport's Runway Visitor Park
The plane-shaped climbing frame at Manchester Airport's Runway Visitor Park -Credit:Runway Visitor Park / Facebook

Whether you're a plane spotter or not, there's a certain level of excitement to watching planes take off and land.

Little ones in particular love to see them whizzing along the runway - and there's a part of Manchester Airport dedicated to just that.

The Runway Visitor Park is open daily and is an ideal day out for families - if you can bear to watch others fly off for some sun that is.

As well as being able to watch planes taking off and landing from the raised viewing platform, just a few metres from the passing planes, there's some aircraft on the site itself, which families can also climb aboard to explore.

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Some of the tours are bookable, like the one to step on board the spectacular supersonic airliner Concorde G-BOAC; the former RAF military spy plane Nimrod is open on certain dates, and the Avro RJX - the last aircraft to be fully manufactured in the UK - is open daily.

There's lots of space for children to play and there's a plane-shaped climbing frame along with some swings and other play equipment.

The park has a large picnic area for those wanting to take their own food and drinks, or there's a coffee house serving a wide range of refreshments, with an ice cream kiosk open at weekends.

The menu includes a Kids' Lunch Box with a sandwich, raisins, crisps, a piece of fruit and a milkshake or Fruit Shoot for £6.50. A single breakfast muffin and a hot drink costs £6.95, or you can get a coffee and cake for £4.90.

An Aviation Shop at the park stocks a range of plane-related souvenirs, suitable for children through to the more serious aircraft enthusiasts. If you book for one of the Concorde tours, there's a selection of Concorde memorabilia including books, models and stationery.

Throughout May, the park is open from 8am to 7pm, with the cafe open 8am to 6pm, the shop 9am to 6pm and reception 9am to 5pm. Updates on some of the more sought-after plane sightings are shared on the Runway Visitor Park's Facebook page here.

The only thing you have to pay for is parking, which is card only and costs £5 for up to two hours, £10 for two to four hours, or £12 for over four hours. For visitors arriving by public transport, on foot or by bicycle (not motorbike), admission is free.

If you are going to eat there, then you could avoid the parking fee by getting the Family Meal Deal in the café. For £35 you get two pizzas, two fries, adult drinks and two kids' soft drinks and free parking.

The address for the park is Sunbank Lane, Altrincham, WA15 8XQ. From the M56, leave at Junction 6 and follow the A538 to Wilmslow. After approximately 500m take a left turn down Sunbank Lane (opposite DHL). A the T-junction turn right onto Wilmslow Old Road and follow the road to the Runway Visitor Park gates.

In the school holidays, the airport usually offers Flight Academy sessions for children to step into a pilot's shoes. Separate 90-minute sessions run for children aged four to seven and eight to 12, with one accompanying adult free.

For more details, or to book one of the tours, visit the website here.