Watching huge aircrafts take off and land is a hobby enjoyed by plane spotters far and wide and can be the perfect day out for many.

Watching the huge machines' power along the asphalt before heaving into the sky is enough to inspire awe for some people with a passion for engineering.

It is a hobby enjoyed by thousands and the Plane Spotting UK Facebook page has almost 2,400 likes, while Plane Spotters UK has a further 1,700 and counting.

East Midlands Airport is particularly popular with plane spotters as it is Britain's busiest cargo airport, a one-runway facility with two cargo hubs and one passenger terminal.

Located right beside the M1 in Castle Donington, East Midlands Airport is accessible from Junction 23A. There is a long stay car park near the passenger terminal, but read on for better places to stop and watch.

The haulage specialist flies its fleet of Airbus A300, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767-300 freighter aircraft regularly from the runway.

Services including UPS Airlines, Etihad Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo operate from another facility at the runway’s eastern end.

Passenger carriers using the airport include Jet2, Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways.

Best times to go spotting

Most cargo flights take place between Monday and Friday, according to AirportSpotting.com, with movements mostly taking place between 9pm and 3am.

But then, SpotterGuide.net recommends 6pm to 9pm as the window in which most cargo arrives, especially in summer.

There is even a handy online timetable, regularly updated, which will tell you who is likely to move what and when.

Where to watch from

Which way the planes take off and land, heading east or west, depends on wind conditions at the time.

It might be worth checking the Met Office weather forecast, which includes information on expected wind direction, before setting off.

Some top spotting spots include crash gates at Diseworth Road (set your sat nav for DE74 2PS) and Ashby Road (DE74 2DJ).

See SpotterGuide.net for even more suggestions, including the best times to visit and whether or not it is recommended to take a ladder.

History of the airport

If you haven’t tired of plane spotting already, then don’t miss a chance to get up close with aviation history at the East Midlands Aeropark.

This outdoor museum hosts incredible and iconic aircraft – civilian and military – including an English Electric Lightning, SeaKing helicopter and mighty Avro Vulcan atomic bomber.

Just head to postcode DE74 2PR, or follow signposts from East Midlands Airport’s main entrance. It even has two viewing mounds and picnic tables, if you’re after a condensed day out, reports LeceistershireLive.

Where to grab a bite to eat

After an afternoon marvelling at all the aircraft, hungry spotters can grab a bite in Greggs, which is before security inside the passenger terminal.

Other options on the way in or out include the Hunger Hangar Cafe, which is located near the west apron at 33 Dakota Road, or Donington Services with its food court.