Long Layover? Short trips from Heathrow

by Ed Forteau /
Ed Forteau's picture
May 08, 2018 / 0 comments

If you're flying through the UK, there's a good chance you'll have a layover at London Heathrow airport (LHR). Layovers can be dull, but they're an unavoidable part of modern travel and we all just have to put up with them. If your layover is more than the usual few hours though, the delay can turn into an opportunity. There's lots to see and do in the area around Heathrow if you have the time to explore.

Long Layover? Short trips from Heathrow

First things first: if you're going to be staying overnight, drop off your luggage. No matter where you go, you'll be doing a fair amount of walking, and you don't want to be hauling bags around with you, even carry-on bags. Heathrow has numerous options, when it comes to hotels and parking, so you should be fine for places to stay or leave your things.

Next, let's take a look at public transport options. You're probably not going to have a car available to you for a layover, and although you can catch a London black cab at the airport, they're expensive and usually not too happy to take people to locations outside central London, since they'll be less likely to get a paying fare for the trip back. Fortunately, there are good train and bus services to and from Heathrow.

London bus from Heathrow

Photo: eguidetravel

The first possible destination from Heathrow is the capital itself. You can be in central London in less than an hour, and from there you have an infinite range of options, from the tourist attractions of Leicester Square or the Tower of London to the history and art of the British Museum or the National Gallery.  You might find a great pub! Regular trains, buses and underground services connect London and the airport; just make sure you take notice of the last train times.

But let's say we want to stay a little closer to the airport. Even within Heathrow's immediate vicinity, there are many great destinations to visit. Windsor is one of the most popular. 30 minutes to an hour away from Terminal 5 by bus, Windsor (or Windsor and Eton, to give it its full name -- the towns are divided by the Thames) is a great place for an afternoon stroll. Its chief attraction is, of course, Windsor Castle. Open most days of the year, this historic building houses some of the finest art in the royal collections.


Windsor Castle

Photo: galfred

Another historic building with royal connections is Hampton Court Palace. From Heathrow, take the 111 bus. Originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, this lavish building was acquired by Henry VIII and expanded by successive generations of rulers. Unmissable features include the palace's famous maze as well as the 17th-century additions designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

Hampton Court Palace

Photo: davidstanleytravel


What do you usually do, with a long layover at Heathrow?




Note: this article was originally published in 2013 and updated in 2018

All photos courtesy and copyright creative commons