manchester airport plane spotting
Unlike just about every other large airport in the UK, there are excellent spotting facilities at manchester airport, where you can get really close to the taxiing aircraft plus see all the runway action. The official designated viewing area near the airport offer some of the best views, plus there is a spectator terrace at terminal 1 and there are some unofficial spots.
Manchester Airport Aircraft Viewing Park
What: The best place from which to see aeroplanes take off and land all day and night, this official viewing area and offers excellent views and photo opportunities, and even home to a Concorde G-BOAC.
The area is situated close to the Northern Executive Aviation ramp and maintenance areas. With Runway 24R / 06L directly in front. The park has three raised viewing mounds, offering views of the runways. It is not great for departing shots, as most departures use the new runway (except between 12:00 and 15:00), but all arriving aircraft can be photographed from the viewing park as they leave the runway, and larger aircraft types can be taken as they taxi out to 24L.
There's a great informative visitor centre at the viewing park too, with an educational slant that is great for kids. It houses plenty of exhibits, including one of the retired Concorde jets.
Opening times: open 7 days a week from 08:30 to 21:00 April to September and 08:30 to 16:30 October to March. Closed Christmas Day.
Admission: Monday - Friday £2.00 per car plus 50p per passenger (Under 4's free),
Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays £3.00 per car plus 50p per passenger (Under 16's free)
Address: Wilmslow Old Road, Manchester Airport Ringway, Manchester, M90 1QX
Telephone: +44 (0) 161 489 3000 / Fax: +44 (0) 161 489 3813
How to get there: The manchester airport viewing park is situated on the A538, between Junction 6 of the M56 motorway and the airport tunnels. Turn down Sunbank Lane, which is about half a mile on the left by The Romper public house. At the bottom turn right onto Wilmslow Old Road, and follow to the end where you will see the gate entrance.
Manchester Airport Spectator Terrace
The spectator terrace is another official spot, located at Terminal 1 on Level 13 of the Multi-Storey Car Park. The spectator terrace is a very good spot to watch planes take off and land.
Unofficial Plane Spotting at Manchester Airport
There are a number of unofficial spots at manchester airport, the best of which are:
1. Next to the final approach to Runway 24R
How to get there: from the airport hotel car park, turn right and proceed toward the junction (Ringway Road). Turn right, follow this road for about three quarters of a mile until the approach lights become visible. Take the first left and an approach light can be seen on the right with a row of houses on the left. Car parking on side of road after the double yellow lines on the right hand side.
2. On the southside of runway 24R for arrivals and departures
Near the south side perimeter and 'trident' fire training area, this is not the best place to view from, but is great for photographs.
How to get there : take the road out of the airport and take your 3rd exit at the roundabout. Follow the road up to the next junction and turn right at the traffic lights (with a petrol station on the right). Follow this road for approximately 1 mile until the next right turning marked 'Moss Lane'. Turn right into Moss Lane and follow this road for approximately half a mile until an 'S' bend. At this point you are able to park your car in front of the gate.
3. On the southside of runway 24L for departures
There are a 'mounds' close to runway 24L which offer excellent views of aircraft beginning their take-off run. Aircraft can be photographed and viewing is very good from this area.
How to get there: take the road out of the airport and take your 3rd exit at the roundabout. Follow the road up to the next junction turn right at the traffic lights (with a petrol station on the right). Follow this road for approximately one mile until the next right turning marked 'Moss Lane'. Turn right into Moss Lane and follow this road for approximately half a mile until an 'S' bend. After the 'S' bend and crash gate on the right, follow the road for a further half a mile until a small lay-by on the left. Park and walk towards the wooden fence through the gate (ensure all gates are closed after use). Walk (don't drive, even if the gate is open) down the road until you can see the runway and airport. On the left is another gate. Go through this and follow the path until you reach a small mound.
3. On the southside at the end of runways 06L / 06R
This spot is close to the threshold of Runway 06L and offers excellent views of aircraft lifting from Runway 24R. Aircraft are 'nose on' on departure and can be photographed easily.
How to get there : From the Aviation Viewing Park (above) turn left and head towards the runway tunnels. Drive under both tunnels and turn left at the roundabout. Park near the Moat House Hotel and walk to the end of the runway.