Our First Visit to the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport

young girl with a pilot cap on sitting in a cockpit

One thing we love to do is to find new places to visit for the kids. Whilst we have had a lot of fun this year going to new places, there is always something different to do and explore if you look for it.

For us, one of these places is the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport. I have to be honest, I didn’t know this was a place you could visit, so when I was invited along I had to go and check it out. I took along my sister, my nephew (J) and 2 youngest nieces (K & A). J was super excited to see the planes and I really wanted to step on board Concorde! Which you can at the Runway Visitor Park.

What can you do at the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport?

There are two different Flight Academy sessions for children aged around 4-8 and 8-12/13. You can pick one of two different tours for older children, a flying machines tour (8-13) and an Airport Life tour (8-12). You can also book onto a tour around the Nimrod or Concorde too for older fans of aircraft.

front part of monach airplane situated at the runway visitor park at manchester airport

picture of concorde inside a hanger at the runway visitor park at manchester airport

There is a cafe on site too where you can grab a bite to eat, a well-earned cuppa or just to sit and watch the planes as the kids play on the park outside.

Our Visit to the Runway Visitors Centre.

We were booked onto a midday quick tour of Concorde lasting 20 mins and as luck would have it we arrived mid torrential downpour so I was pleased Concorde is situated inside a hanger. After this, we were booked into an older group for the Flight Academy to be able to accommodate all three kids.

Have you ever seen Concorde up close and personal? I was shocked at the sheer size of it as it stood tall above us. I have always wished I could have flown on Concorde so I was super excited to get on board. So it seemed, were the kids too as they jumped at the chance to climb the stairs albeit a little disappointed it wasn’t actually going to be flying us anywhere.

3 kids going up the staircase on concorde at manchester airport runway visitor park

The tour guide welcomed us on board and proceeded to answer everyone’s questions whilst seamlessly telling us all about the aircraft and its passengers! I was totally sitting where Pavarotti used to sit onboard! My claim to fame right there! To be totally honest it made wish it was still in service so I could take a flight on board!

tour guide on board concorde at the runway visitor park at manchester airport

Flight Academy.

Now it was time for the kids to have some fun. Not that they didn’t enjoy getting comfy in those luxurious leather seats on Concorde, but this was what they were waiting for.

Taking place inside a real-life retired Monarch airlines plane was a 90-minute session on who and what is involved in making the airport run and getting the planes into the air. The session was for ages 8-12 but with A and J being 5 and 4 respectively they were on the young side accompanying K to the group.

flight academy host onboard a retired airplane at the runway visitor park at manchester airport

Our host was an ex-flight attendant who talked us through some history on the plane we were inside before teaching us exactly what is involved in getting planes off the ground and into the air. Due to the torrential rain, we couldn’t do the outside portion of the session so we got stuck in with the role-playing with all three kids volunteering as the flight crew!

young girl taking part in role play during a flight academy session at the runway visitor park at manchester airport

We were in a small group so during the role-playing section they got to get up and involved a few times as we discovered more and more job roles involved in the airport. They definitely found it lots of fun and were more hands-on than I thought they would be. If you have outgoing kids, this is definitely going to be something they can have fun with.

young girl role playing as a flight attendant on board an aircraft

They all really enjoyed getting involved in the role-playing and learnt a lot about what job roles and people are involved in making the airport run smoothly and what it takes to get a plane into the air. We also got to visit the flight deck too and the kids had a chance to sit in the cockpit and see what it feels like to sit in the pilot’s seat. It was noted that it was disappointing the plane didn’t actually move!

What Else Can you do at the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport?

After our tour and Flight Academy had finished, we headed over to the cafe for a bite to eat and some much-needed coffee. The Peak Street Coffee is situated beside the hanger where Concorde is and despite there being a few people around it wasn’t crowded at all and there is a nice open window for you to sit at to check out the incoming and outgoing flights from the airport itself.

tables and chairs in side a cafe with lighting overhead

After refuelling with some panini’s and drinks, the kids headed off outside to play in the little park. The staff Damien and Adrienne were really helpful especially as we were struggling to contain the kids whose excitement meant sitting still was somewhat of a chore! I have to say though, the prices were quite reasonable and not once did we feel like we were being rushed once we had finished our food and drinks.

There are also picnic benches outside too should you visit and want to take a picnic with you. We didn’t but we did get out and for some fresh air in between downpours.

Our thoughts on the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport.

We loved it. The rain was somewhat of a hindrance when we first arrived but as the main part of our visit was inside it didn’t put a damper on the day. Both the Flight Academy and the Concorde Tour were informative and interactive for all visitors. You were able to to get involved as much or as little as you like.

For kids who have an interest in planes, this really is a must visit for not only a fun day out but an educational visit too. For homeschooling, this is a great lesson to incorporate into the schedule. Even if you just visit to watch the planes coming and going. You can visit by public transport or by foot for free or if you visit by car there is a car parking charge, price dependant on how long you stay for.

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I am living my best life! Who knew that I would be sat here captivated watching planes landing and taking off! We were invited up to Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport to check out the flight academy and the kids loved it. Now my sister and I are watching them play outside whilst we drink tea and coffee and guess what plane is next coming in to land next AND I AM LOVING IT! (Ps 6 weeks and I will be on a tui plane to fuerteventura) #review #blogreview #manchesterairport #runwayvisitorpark #airplanes #plane #planespotting #flights #tuiflight #flight #runway #airport #kcacols #blogstravaganza #bloglife #summerholidays #summerdays #visitmanchester #daysoutuk #makingmemories #oursummer

A post shared by Tracey Bowden (@onefrazzledmum) on

Which leads me to my favourite part. I had no idea how therapeutic it would be to just sit there and watch the planes land and take off. Before we knew it we had spent over 2 hours just watching planes. Of course, it got a little competitive as we took turns to guess what plane was coming in to land next. My nephew especially enjoyed this and there were a few dramas when it was time to leave.

If you would like to visit the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport you can pre-book tours and/or the flight academy online or turn up to watch the planes. If you visit Sundays or during the bank holiday this August, you can take part in the Bank holiday Bonanza they have organised

*Disclaimer: We were gifted tickets for the mentioned tours for purpose of the review. All thoughts, opinions and the new obsession with plane watching are our own based upon our experience when we visited*
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