Runway Visitor Park gains VisitEngland stamp of approval

20th October 2011

Manchester Airport’s unique Runway Visitor Park attraction has gained official recognition as a tourist attraction by VisitEngland, the national tourist board, under the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS).

The Park is located adjacent to the busy international airport’s two runways and is home to a number of retired planes for visitors to tour and explore – including supersonic airliner, Concorde and a former RAF Nimrod military spy plane. 

It attracts around 300,000 visitors every year and after an official assessment under the VAQAS scheme during the summer, it has earned the right to display VisitEngland’s red rose logo quality plaque – a recognised stamp of approval to assure visitors of the organisation’s endorsement of the attraction.

Jeremy Brinkworth, Director of Business Development at VisitEngland, said: “The Runway Visitor Park is a great visitor attraction. Our assessor was particularly impressed by the range of facilities available and the enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, who should congratulate themselves on this well-deserved accreditation.”

The VAQAS report states that the Park offers the visitor an “overall excellent quality experience,” and claims the Concorde classic tour is “just the right length and excellently presented and hosted”.

The report also goes on to describe the facilities provided by the Park – which include The Aviation Shop and Ringways Restaurant – as a “mecca for aviation enthusiasts”.

Natalie Kelly, Head of the Runway Visitor Park, said: “The main attraction is its location, which gives visitors the chance to watch the hundreds of aircraft that land and take-off every day. It is especially popular during school holidays as families look for alternative ways to entertain the kids with something interesting and a bit different.”

She added: “Having evolved from humble beginnings, the Park has become one of the most popular visitor attractions in the region over the past decade or so – therefore the VisitEngland recognition is very significant and is testament to the hard work of everyone involved with the Park, both past and present.”

“We will continue in our efforts to improve the visitor experience and our ambition is to increase visitor numbers to half a million by 2015.”

Following visitor feedback and recommendations made in the report; the Park has recently added a new children’s play area and has significantly increased the number of picnic benches to 52. Has also installed a digital flight-screen, similar to those seen in the terminals, which enables visitors to accurately track arriving and departing flights. The screen has already proved to such a popular addition that a second screen is to be installed in the visitor centre. Other improvements currently under consideration include covered outdoor shelters and live commentary.

The Runway Visitor Park is located next to Manchester Airport’s runways, off Sunbank Lane in Altrincham, Greater Manchester – just two minutes from Junction 6 of the M56 motorway. It’s open daily from 8am until one hour before dusk. A shuttle bus runs between the Park and the airport’s bus, coach and railway station.

In addition to Concorde and Nimrod, Runway Visitor Park also hosts an Avro RJX; a DC-10; and a retro Trident airliner, giving a glimpse of what flying was like in the 1960s and 1970s. For more information go to:

VisitEngland is the national tourist board for England and is responsible for promoting England to domestic and established overseas markets and for improving England's tourism product. The Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) is managed by VisitEngland and, through its network of regional assessors, boasts an incredible reputation for instigating, modifying and shaping change to the customer experience at visitor attractions across England.

For more information – or further hi-res images – please contact Manchester Airport press office on 0161 489 2700 or


Published on: 20/10/2011 16:00:00