What to Do During a Layover at Heathrow Airport
Are you a transit passenger at London Heathrow? Are you worried about how you are going to spend your spare time there? A layover at Heathrow Airport could never be a waste of time. Verily, during short stopovers, LHR guarantees a pleasant experience for its passengers, whereas long layovers are the ideal opportunity to take a glance at the multicultural and simply charming London.
Things to Do at Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport offers so many and so unique services and amenities that you might end up wishing for a longer layover after all. From shopping and culinary options to cultural attractions and top-rated facilities, boredom is the last thing you should worry about during your stopover at LHR. If you still doubt the truth of this fact, you can check out the top things to do at Heathrow Airport:
Shop As You’ve Never Shopped Before
The spare time between flights almost always calls for shopping. Nevertheless, your shopping experience at London Heathrow will simply amaze you. Verily, apart from the huge variety of shops -from low-cost stores and outlets to luxury brands and international designers- LHR Airport provides its passengers with many side amenities. Hence, some of the available services are:
- Reserve & Collect: that is, book online and collect as soon as landing at Heathrow.
- Personal Shopper: the ultimate shopping assistance service.
- Collect on Return: in other words, buy your desired products and collect them as soon as you fly back to Heathrow.
- Transfer between Terminals: is your desired store located in another terminal than your landing one? London Heathrow will handle your in-between-terminals transfer, provided you are willing to spend more than 250£/292€/313$ and can’t find the specific retail store at your terminal building.
Your Drinking & Eating Options at Heathrow
Although airports aren’t known for their culinary options, Heathrow is the exception that proves the rule. The vast airport houses so many dining and drinking options that finding your ideal one is a mission utterly possible!
Our Tip: Are you famished and can’t wait to relish a delicious meal or a refreshing drink or beverage? You can use the Heathrow app and pre-place your order to enjoy it once arriving at LHR or even when boarding your next flight.
London Heathrow is Wi-Fi Friendly
Thus, you can use its complimentary Wi-Fi network to finish any incomplete working projects, communicate with your loved ones, check your socials, or even binge-watching. What’s more, you are going to find internet kiosks and charging points. On the other hand, if you are traveling with children, you’ll be glad to know that LHR is a certified “Friendly Wi-Fi” spot. Hence, you can rest assured that your children won’t have access to any inappropriate websites.
You’ll Have an Utterly Pleasant Family Time at LHR
Not only you but your children as well will enjoy their time at London Heathrow. Special kids menus are available at the vast majority of Heathrow eateries, whereas playgrounds are to be found in all terminals, suitable for babies, toddlers, and kids up to 9 years of age. Moreover, baby-changing facilities are scattered around the airport.
Our Tip: During school holidays, a wide selection of LHR restaurants offers a tempting deal: for each adult ordering s plate from the main menu, kids eat for free!
Pray, Practice your Religious Duties, or Find your Inner Peace at Heathrow
Multi-faith prayer rooms are located in all terminals, established and operated by a committee composed of members of 6 faiths. Moreover, the Christian Chapel of St George is to be found on the passageway leading to Central Heathrow Bus Station (between terminals 2 and 3). The chapel is situated underground.
Can you think of a better thing to do during your layover at Heathrow Airport than visiting a spa facility? Top-rated beauty treatments and tailored services are at your disposal. On the other hand, if you simply want to feel refreshed, you should use the shower facilities available at many of the airport lounges.
LHR Airport houses more than 100 water fountains all over its premises.
Relax or Sleep During your Layover at Heathrow
If you want to take a rest during your stopover, you should head to one of the various lounges lying in all Heathrow terminals. Plenty of them are accessible to all passengers (for a fee) and not only to VIP airline members. You’ll find cozy and comfortably decorated facilities, which offer interesting drinking and dining menus and many appealing services.
Moreover, if you want to take a nap or even enjoy a good night’s sleep, you can choose one of the various hotels near Heathrow terminals. Verily, many lodging options are to be found close to every LHR terminal building. Nevertheless, you’ll find only one alternative located airside, the T3’s No1 Lounge.
Smoking and vaping are strictly forbidden in all of Heathrow’s post-security zones. Verily, the only designated areas are to be found landside. Thus, you’ll have to pass through security and re-check in if you want to smoke or vape.
Things to Do near Heathrow Airport
A long layover at London Heathrow Airport is the perfect excuse to go visit London. The historical city is full of monuments, sites, and attractions, and is considered one of the most appealing destinations worldwide, no matter the preferences or personal tastes. Moreover, LHR is adequately connected to every part of London. Thus, apart from the airport taxis (the iconic black cabs and the pre-hired minicabs) and the luxurious Heathrow airport transfers, you can opt for a bus, subway, or train ride to downtown London. Last but not least, airport car rentals are the ideal way to visit London’s surrounding areas.
Our Tip: Heathrow is a busy airport. Even more so, from Thursday to Saturday or during high tourist periods, the waiting lines in LHR can be longer than usual. Thus, it is recommended to have a 4-5-hour time frame to leave the airport (pass through security control, collect your belongings, etc.), travel to London, and return back to re-check in. On the other hand, if you are traveling with heavy luggage, you should use the “Left Luggage” facilities provided in all LHR terminals and have your personal belongings safely stored.
If you are planning on leaving Heathrow, you should check if you are required to issue a Visa to enter the UK.
The Closeby Windsor Castle
Lying only a 20-minute ride from London Heathrow Airport, Windsor Castle is the biggest occupied castle in the world. It has been home to the British royal family for over 1000 years and attracts thousands of tourists, thrilled to visit one of the 3 official King’s residencies. You’ll find organized tours, leaving Heathrow to explore the stunning Windsor Castle.
A place-to-be for visitors and locals as well! The live and vivid London district houses many worthy-of-your-time sites: from the Convent Garden Piazza to the Apple Market carrying a long history and from the London Transport Museum to the Royal Opera, the area of Convent Garden is full of colors, smells, and appealing shopping options.
Alternatively, you can head to Trafalgar Square, one of the most central and must-see places in London. Here, you’ll find -among numerous other sightseeing- the National Gallery, the art museum housing some of the most important world’s works of art. Verily, you’ll find exhibits made by Monet, Rembrandt, or Van Gogh. Art lover or not, you couldn’t possibly say no to that.
The main royal residence needs no introduction. Indeed, if you are to spend a long layover at Heathrow, Buckingham Palace will probably be among your number one things to do in London. However, apart from the well-known palace, you can also head to 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s residence lying within an 18-minute walking distance. Alternatively (or additionally if time is on your side), you can visit the Churchill War Rooms, the multi-awarded war museum that will give you chills on your spine and transfer you straight to the rough World War II period.
Our Tip: If you want a peaceful break from the vibrant London, you should head to the nearby Green Park, one of the eight city’s Royal Parks that will instantly bring peace to your heart. A little bit further from Buckingham Palace lies Hyde Park, housing playgrounds and monuments, sports facilities, and refreshing gardens.
The Westminster Area
Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square are only two of the must-see sites located in the central Westminster region. Here also lies Westminster Abbey, where all the coronations take place, and the iconic Big Ben.
The London Eye
The enormous observation wheel is the perfect way to enjoy a panoramic view of London. It is the tallest observation wheel in Europe, which will allow you to take a good look at plenty of London’s top attractions (Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the House of Parliament, and even the Windsor Palace on a clear day) in just 30 minutes (one London Eye pod’s journey).
The Tower of London
Operating as a royal palace, a prison, and even a zoo, the “multi-purpose” Tower of London is worthy of your spare time in London. It is nowadays part of the Unesco World Heritage. The tower is to be found on the North bank of the Thames adjacent to the well-known Tower Bridge. If you want to explore the Tower of London in-depth and are looking for something more than the otherwise impressive Crown’s Jewels, you should opt for a tour provided by one of the iconic Beefeater guardsmen.
Shop Till you Drop
Oxford Street is the place to be for shopaholics and casual shoppers. It is one of the most occupied streets in London, full of a wild variety of retail stores that should be on your to-do list, even for window shopping. Moreover, Oxford Street is nearby Regent Street and Bond Street, which are, without a doubt, a shopping paradise as well.
The Sky Garden
Head to the Sky Garden -the famous London skyscraper- and enjoy amazing vistas of the city from its observation decks and terraces situated on the 43rd floor. The tallest London’s garden is free of charge. Still, you’ll have to book a complimentary ticket to enter the building. Its glass walls allow clear views of the UK capital, while various restaurants and bars will also be at your disposal.
Our Tip: You may also find yoga sessions taking place here. What’s more, music events are organized at Sky Garden from time to time.
Notting Hill is one of the most distinctive London neighborhoods. The colorful houses, the vivid market, the galleries, and the boutiques make Notting Hill clearly stand out from the rest of the city. If you want to explore a more romantic, scenic, and boho part of London, this should be your destination.
The Warner Bros. Studio in London
If you want to get a glimpse of Hollywood while being in London, all you have to do is head to the Warner Bros. Studio. There, you can explore Harry Potter’s movie sets and original costumes, take part in various tours, and exploit its dining and drinking options.
Located just 20 minutes from LHR Airport, Legoland is heaven on earth for families. If your layover isn’t long enough to reach London, or you want to offer an unforgettable experience to your kids, you shouldn’t overthink it: Legoland is the right place for you!
Go Visit London’s Surrounding Areas
With a car rental (or a taxi or private transfer if independence and cost aren’t among your main concerns), you can explore many areas close to Heathrow but outside London. For instance, the city of Oxford and Oxford University lie a 60-minute ride from Heathrow, whereas the Royal Observatory of Greenwich is 100 minutes away by car or taxi. On the other hand, if you prefer sea views, you should opt for the 90-minute journey to the Coast of Brighton.
The Relaxed Way to Explore London
Travelers wishing to take a look at as many London attractions as possible usually choose the following two options for their layover in London; they either opt for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour or book a Thames River cruise. Verily, either options will offer you the possibility to observe various city’s sites and attractions in the most relaxed and hassle-free way.
No matter how you are going to spend your spare time in London, you should definitely indulge in the British culinary tradition. That is, visit a pub, drink a refreshing beer, eat fish n’ chips, or taste the delicious meat pies.