things to do near heathrow airport

London Heathrow Airport isn’t much of a tourist sight unless you’re fascinated by airplanes or airports. Yet it is one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs so chances are many of us will end up going there at some stage and some will need to while away a few hours or even longer. Most people who stay in a Heathrow airport hotel treat it as a pure overnighter – just a place to eat and sleep before catching their onward connection. But there are in fact several fascinating places within easy travelling distance of the airport which are well worth a visit. Here are six suggestions for things to do near Heathrow Airport during a layover, as well as ideas for what to do should you choose to venture into central London for a few hours or an overnight stay:

Heathrow Airport T5.

Heathrow layover

If your Heathrow layover is longer than 4 hours or if you have an overnight stay at a Heathrow hotel, it’s worthwhile to consider one of the nearby places to visit or even a quick trip to central London. For shorter layovers, I recommend staying at the airport. Browse around the shops, dine at one of the eateries or spend the time comfortably at an airline lounge (or purchase an entry ticket for a premium lounge).

Here are my suggestions for things to do near Heathrow Airport if you have a longer layover:

1. Grab a pint in Denham or at Britain’s oldest pub

You’ll need a minicab for this trip, but it’s a simple journey along the M25 (about 15 minutes). Denham (map) is a picturesque village with a number of wonderful traditional pubs; visit The Swan for a taste of the local Rebellion Brewery’s ale. The village’s single street is flanked by fine Georgian brick and older half-timbered houses; a walk across the golf club is a pleasant way to work up an appetite.

The Swan Inn in Denham (image courtesy of Ewan Munro)

If you really want to find a traditional gem of a pub though, you’ll have to take to the winding, steep green lanes that lead to the Royal Standard of England near Beaconsfield (map). The Royal Standard of England is perhaps the best pub near Heathrow Airport for a pint amidst a unique historical ambiance. The 30-minute drive from Heathrow feels like a voyage into ancient England, and this 800-year-old pub (arguably Britain’s oldest pub) seems hardly to have changed since the Tudor age, with low ceilings and panelled walls. There’s a wide selection of beers from craft breweries as well as ciders and perries, and good food – but turn up early, as the pub quickly gets crowded.

2. Visit a village along the River Thames

There are several picturesque villages situated on the banks of the River Thames, and within 30 minutes by minicab to Heathrow, that are well worth a visit to stretch your legs, grab a quick bite and take some pretty snapshots. The closest village I can recommend is Datchet (map), roughly 15 minutes by minicab from Heathrow. Other villages I can recommend are Marlow (map) and Bray (map), home of two of the best restaurants in the UK (The Fat Duck and The Hind’s Head). Both villages are approximately 30 minutes by taxi from Heathrow Airport. In Marlow, I can recommend staying overnight (if your overlay permits) or having a delicious meal at the MacDonald Compleat Angler, a 4* star hotel with two restaurants and lovely views of the River Thames.

Marlow (image courtesy of Denis Kelly).

3. Experience Little India in Southall

Fancy a taste of Indian culture?  No need to fly to Mumbai!  A completely different experience is within easy reach of Heathrow (the train route is slightly convoluted on the Piccadilly line and overground but it’s only a short 15-minute minicab ride away) in Southall with its vibrant Indian culture. Shop for saris or fabric in the covered shopping arcades, or visit Jas Musicals to buy a bansuri (flute) or to gaze at sitars and tablas.

Southall (image courtesy of Donna Smillie)

For food, you could go for a curry and you’ll find plenty of choice in Southall – but there’s so much more to Indian food. Buy a crisp, freshly-fried samosa on the street, or Indian sweeties like barfi (fudge) or rasgulla (sweet dumplings).

You’re also welcome to visit the Sikh Gurdwara in Havelock Road – said to be the largest Sikh temple outside India.

4. Wander around Windsor and Eton

Windsor Castle is linked to Heathrow by the 71 or 77 bus from Terminal 5 (±45 minutes by bus or 20 minutes by minicab). It was founded by William the Conqueror and still retains some of the original Norman work, though it’s been much added to over the centuries. It’s still a working royal palace, too, where the ceremonies of the Order of the Garter take place in the fine Perpendicular chapel of St George. The castle was also the venue of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018, and where Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest in September 2022.

Windsor Castle (image courtesy of King’s Church International).

Even if you don’t feel in the mood for castle visiting, if the weather’s fine you can take a walk in Windsor Great Park with its majestic avenues of chestnut and plane trees and views of the castle across the landscape.

The 60/61 bus on the other hand will take you to Eton College, Britain’s top public school across the river from Windsor. Guided tours of the college show the Chapel, a sort of miniature King’s College Chapel with its tall Gothic windows, and late medieval wall paintings which, preserved by being whitewashed over at the Reformation, are surprisingly clear though not at all colourful (they are mainly in monochrome grisaille).

5. Take your kids to Legoland UK

For families travelling with kids, a trip to Legoland UK is a good way to keep the kids occupied and entertained during a long layover. It’s not far from Windsor, and there’s a shuttle bus from Windsor railway station, or you could drive the 12 miles from Heathrow (±20 minutes by minicab). Purchase Legoland Windsor tickets.

Legoland (image courtesy of Dave Catchpole)

6. Visit Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is one of my favourite places in the UK. It has everything: Tudor red brick architecture with medieval charm; intricate zig-zag spiral chimneys; Christopher Wren’s classical architecture; a maze; formal gardens; rich tapestries, great paintings, bright stained glass; the Thames running not far away. You can even get a bus from Heathrow, number 111 (± 1 hour) – though there is also an alternative, delightful opportunity of taking a riverboat to the palace if you are coming in from central London. Get fast track tickets for Hampton Court Palace.

Hampton Court (image courtesy of Amanda Slater)

Should I go sightseeing during a layover at Heathrow Airport?

If you’re considering leaving Heathrow Airport for some sightseeing during a layover, please check if you meet the following requirements:

  • your layover is at least FOUR hours long
  • your bag is checked through to your final destination or you’re travelling with hand-luggage only, and you have your boarding pass for your next flight. If this is not the case, you’ll need a layover of at least 5 hours for a bit of sightseeing activity
  • you have a visa or can confirm that you don’t need a visa to enter the United Kingdom. Read the ‘Visas’ section below for more information
  • you can be back at the airport at least 1.5 hours before your next flight; or at least 2 hours if you need to check-in for your next flight.

Should I venture into Central London?

If you have sufficient time (layovers of six hours and longer) for a visit to Central London, I recommend taking the Heathrow Express train which gets you to Paddington Station in 15 minutes. You can also take the new Elizabeth Line train from Heathrow to several stations in Central London, including Paddington Station, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Liverpool Street (±45 minutes). Ticket prices for the Elizabeth Line are the same as the London Tube and you can use your Oyster Card should you have one.

london heathrow layover tips
The Elizabeth Line includes numerous stations in central and eastern London.

Choose from a wide range of tours in Central London, purchase a ticket for the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus (which includes a Thames River cruise) or explore this amazing city on your own with a London Pass. Alternatively, you can opt for a private transfer – the driver will greet you at Arrivals and drop you off at your address in Central London. Make sure you’re back at Heathrow Airport at least 1.5 hours before your flight (2 hours if you need to check-in for your next flight).

Check out my travel planning resources page for travel tips and advice.

Overnight layovers in London

If you have an overnight layover, you could:

If it’s your first visit to London and you have limited time, I recommend booking a tour on the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus (which includes a Thames River cruise). You should be back at Heathrow Airport at least 1.5 hours before your flight.

Read about alternative ways to explore London and stray off the beaten path

Read my guide to Westminster Abbey

London big ben
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (image courtesy of Eva Dang).


If you have a non-EU passport, have connecting flights at London Heathrow Airport and would like to see some of these places during your layover, please check for visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom. US citizens who have a valid passport are not required to obtain a visa for a tourist visit to the United Kingdom (stay of up to six months). Should you require a visa, you can apply for an online visa (

A post by Andrea Kirkby and Keith Jenkins.




87 Responses

  • Hi I have a 7 hours layover at Heathrow .
    What should i do? i want to go somewhere

  • Hi I have a 4 1/2 hours layover at Heathrow .
    What should i do? i want to go somewhere

  • Keith, I have an 8 hour layover at Heathrow and want to see a great Christmas Market, suggestions?

  • Hi Bonnie,
    In principle, 5 1/2 hours is sufficient for a quick jaunt into central London. However, St. Paul’s is closed to visitors on Sundays. Westminster Abbey is, in principle open on Sundays but closed to visitors during the church service. It takes about 50-60 minutes to get from Heathrow to either place by train (Heathrow Express or Elizabeth Line + Tube). Assuming you need to be back at Heathrow 1 1/2 hours before your next flight, that leaves you with about 1 1/2 hours to walk around without being able to enter these places. You could of course take the Heathrow Express to Paddington in 15 minutes and walk around the area (and stroll around Hyde Park, Kensington Palace and thereabouts) for 2-3 hours before returning to the airport. Note that shops typically open at around noon on Sundays.
    Alternatively, you could take a cab to Windsor (20 mins.), have breakfast (numerous cafés/restaurants are open for breakfast) and walk around the parks/village, and visit Windsor Castle (opens at 10am).
    Hope this helps. Have a great trip!


  • Hi Scott,
    We have a 5 1/2 hour layover at Heathrow on a Sunday, getting in around 8 AM. We are coming from the US and going on to mainland Europe. Our bags will checked through, and we will be checked in for our next flight. Is that enough time to go into central London? We were hoping to go see St Paul’s for a bit (though also not sure if you can go in on Sundays with the services). Not sure if that would be cutting it too close.
    If we stayed closer to Heathrow and went to one of the small villages, would anything much even be open on a Sunday morning?
    Appreciate the input. This article was really helpful.

  • Hi Cindy,

    You could do either one. If you decide to stay at Heathrow, I recommend choosing a hotel at the terminal itself (as opposed to a hotel 1-2km away) as this would give you convenient access to public transport (like the Tube or Heathrow Express) into the city, or to Windsor. Personally, I would take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, stay at a hotel in the vicinity of Paddington Station and stroll around the area. One thing to look out for during this period are the Christmas lights along Oxford Street, not far from Paddington. If you choose to stay in the city, make sure to take the train back to Heathrow by 8:30am the next day. Hope this helps. Have a safe trip!


  • Thank you for your informative tips! It appears as though I will be arriving from Malaga, Spain at LHR at 2:30 PM on Nov 27 and then taking the next flight to the U.S at 11 AM the next day.
    I am assuming that my bags will be checked through to the U.S, so I will have a small backpack and maybe a small carryon. I am unfamiliar with LHR but I believe my flight with American leaves from Terminal 3. Considering the time of day I arrive, would I be better off booking a hotel near to LHR and just looking around about there, or take the train in somewhere closer to town and getting a hotel there? I expect it will be getting dark close to 5 PM, so I do not know what sites I would be able to take in. Thank you for your suggestions!

  • Hi Taley,
    That’s a good amount of time that makes it possible to venture into central London. Assuming that your bags are checked through to your final destination, I suggest taking the Heathrow express train (tickets) to Paddington Station (15-minute-ride). At Paddington Station, you can jump on the Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off bus to see the city’s top sights. Without stopping, the whole Blue Route tour takes about 3h30m (the Red Route is 2h30m long). You can disembark anywhere to walk around and hop back on the next bus (frequency every 10-20 minutes). This ticket includes a 1-day bus pass + a free Thames River cruise. Must-stop places include Westminster Abbey/Houses of Parliament/Big Ben and Tower of London/Tower Bridge. I recommend being back at Heathrow by 6pm. Hope this helps! Have a wonderful trip.


  • Hello, I am a female solo traveller from the US travelling out of country for the first time. I have an 11 hour layover at heathrow from 9AM to 8PM. I am wondering what sort of exploring I will have time for? Any tips/tricks/advice I will gladly accept 🙂

  • Hi Scott, that would normally be enough time to plan a trip into central London but considering your flight times, I doubt it’s worth the effort. My advice would be to simply stay at an airport hotel so you can get to your morning flight easily the next day.

    Have a good trip!

  • Hi Keith, I am flying in to Heathrow from Marrakech and I will have a 13.5 hour layover before picking up my connecting flight back home to the US. Unfortunately I arrive in the evening to Heathrow at 7:10pm on Sept. 19. My question is based on the late evening arrival and if there is anything I can really do for sightseeing if I take the subway into London? (I have been to London before and been to many of the top sights.) Thanks for any advice, and for your site as a resource! Scott

  • Hi Caitlin,
    There’s a list of cab companies on the Heathrow website where you can book a cab online. There’s also a service where the driver meets you at the arrivals hall.
    It’s about a 20-30 minute ride to Windsor. Hope this helps.


  • What’s the easiest way to get a cab to Windsor? I’ve got a 7 hr layover and I’m not very familiar with using cabs, but I’d rather have more time to explore and less worry about bus times. Thanks!

  • Looks like you have almost 24 hours in London. I suggest taking the train (London Heathrow Express or Elizabeth Line) into central London (I recommend choosing a hotel near Paddington Staton) and purchasing 1-day tickets for the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus – this bus ticket also includes a river cruise (don’t forget to check this option). I recommend using the Wednesday afternoon/evening for sightseeing and getting to Heathrow Airport first thing in the morning on Thursday (be back at Heathrow at least 2 hours before your flight). Have a great trip and enjoy London!


  • Very informative blog.
    We are family of 4 including a child and infant all holding Canadian passport and arriving at Heathrow at 1130 on wednesday and next flight on thursday at 1100 am to denver.Would love to get some advice from you where we can book hotels for the family near heathrow or central london as we would like to visit london eye, london bridge ,river cruise.
    This is out first time visit to london

  • Hi Bayan,
    I would book a hotel in Central London (near Paddington Station) and get there either by the Express or Elizabeth line. You can then decide which sights you want to see and how (independently using the Underground or with a tour such as the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus). I hope this helps.


  • hello! i love your blog, i would appreciate for a tip ,i have a 16 hour layover and i am considering staying at the hotel but going to see (London eye, tower, castle) big bean i am interested to see it all. What is the easiest way to go? stay at a hotel at the airport and take the express? or taxi? and what is the best way to go about transportation. Please let me know, everything here is very helpful
    thank you

  • Hi Parris,
    4.5 hours isn’t a lot of time as I recommend being back at the airport at least 1.5 hours before your next flight. That leaves you with 3 hours. Give yourself another 30+ minutes to navigate the airport, get through immigrations (incoming) and find the train station. I would count another 1.5 hours for getting into central London and back. That leaves you with about 1 hour to walk around. I guess it’s do-able but it’s tight and wouldn’t recommend it. A bit rushed and possibly stressful.


  • Hello Keith, with your expertise of LHR and London, if you have a 4:30 hr layover, do you think it’s worth it to leave the airport at all? Also, is Central London truly out of the question based upon timing for quick sight-seeing?

  • Hi Debbie,
    You’ll have enough time to go into central London and stay the night there. If it’s your first time in London, I recommend purchasing a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus ticket and do the Thames cruise in the evening. You can then spend the next morning on the bus tour before heading back to the airport. Have a look at the overnight layover section in my post.


  • My husband and I will be arriving at Heathrow for a 24 hour layover in April. We land at 3:40 PM on Saturday and leave at 3:10 PM on Sunday. What woudl be the best things for us to do Saturday night and then Sunday morning before heading back to the airport?

  • I had a transit in Heathrow airport and had to wait for 12 hours. Thanks for the detailed list of activities to do around airport which saved my day.

  • Solid tips. Used to live in Ealing which is pretty close. Awesome! Thanks for the tip Rory

  • Great post and informative to the people who are planning to visit or have a few hours here. I even checked all your replies with very helpful and kind replies. You are so good to your readers.

  • Hi Athena,
    For a 24-hour layover, I recommend booking a hotel in the vicinity of Paddington Station in central London such as the Mercure Paddington. You can travel to/from Paddington Station on the Heathrow Express train (a 15-minute journey). By the time you get to your hotel in the Paddington area, it would be about 3pm. To see the most important sights in a relatively short time, you can book a tour on the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus (which includes a Thames River cruise) and join the bus at the Speaker’s Corner (corner of Hyde Park), or have a private walking tour. Or a customised private tour by car/minivan (includes hotel pick-up).

    I hope this helps. Enjoy your London visit!


  • Hi ! My family will be arriving Heathrow at 1pm on March 5 for a 24 hrs layover and I would love to see some London’s attractions can you send me a sample Itinerary if possible please . Should we books hotel near the airport or near the station.. I do really need your help. Thanks much . I wanna be back in the airport by at least 11 am do u think it’s that possible.

  • Hi
    I have a 12 hour layover in London from 10pm to 10am and wondering what some good late night places would be to visit.

  • Hi Sheia,
    4 hours is a bit tight but if your bag is checked through to your final destination and you already have your boarding pass for your connecting flight, then it is do-able. Check if you need a visa to enter the UK. There are several pretty villages situated along the River Thames you can visit. The closest ‘pretty village’ to Heathrow is arguably Datchet (about 15mins by taxi). It’s a lovely village for a quick bite and to take some photos. If you’re looking for a bigger place, then Windsor (and Windsor Castle) are also within easy reach (about 20mins by taxi). Other ‘pretty villages’ located within a ±30-minute drive from Heathrow include Marlow and Bray (home to two 3* Michelin restaurants!), both beautifully situated on the banks of the River Thames. Please ensure you’re back at Heathrow Airport 1.5 hours before your next flight. I hope this helps (I’ll also update my blog post with this info so thanks for the idea!). 🙂

    Cheers & safe travels!

  • Hi Keith,

    I have a 4 hour layover at Heathrow. Do you think it would be possible for me to take a cab to grab a quick bite to eat or is there anywhere close to the airport that I can take cool photos before my connecting flight arrives? Thank you so much!

  • Solid tips. Used to live in Ealing which is pretty close. If you wanted to quickly fly into London you could get the Piccadilly line to Knightsbridge in abour 15mins. You also come out bang outside Harrods.

  • Hi Manju, I suggest taking the Heathrow Express into Central London (or you can take the tube) when you arrive, and staying in a hotel around Paddington station. Get a good rest and start exploring the city bright and early the next day. You can walk and/or take the Tube to explore on your own, or if you’d like to see the highlights on a tour, you can opt for a hop-on/hop-off bus tour. Alternatively, you can join this 4-hour small group tour. If you’re travelling in a small group or with your family, you can go on a 3-hour London taxi tour which will show you the highlights. Please be back at the airport two hours before your departure time. I hope this helps!


  • Hi Keith,

    We will be reaching LHR airport on Nov 29 @ 8:35PM and our connection flight is on November 30th @ 3:00 PM. Could you recommend places to visit and locations to stay and have a few glimpses of London before we head back?

    Thank you,


  • Hi Chad,
    I’m sorry but I don’t offer travel agency services. I suggest you Google “Southampton taxi Heathrow” and check the options. Aero Taxis looks like a company that might be able to help you.
    Safe travels!


  • Hi Keith.
    Could you let me know if it is possible to hire a private tourist van and travel from the port of Southhampton on 29/08/2019 [ at 8,oo AM ) and visit Stonehenge, Bath, and Salsbury before going to Heathrow Airport for a flight at 7.00PM. My party consist of 4 aduts with 8 suitcases.
    What would be the approximate cost of hiring a driver with a suitable vehicle for about 8 hours ?



  • Hi Dina,
    How about staying in Oxford instead? It’s not very close to London but easily reached (you could visit London on a day trip). Check for accommodations here.
    Hope this helps.


  • Hi we’re going to be in the area at the end of July for 2.5 days, and leave early from heathrow the 29th.
    We don’t want to stay in London, but somewhere nice close by. Any suggestions?

  • Hi Amanda,
    Five hours is a bit tight. Consider that you should be back at the airport at least 1.5 hours before your departure, which gives you about 3 hours to get somewhere, stroll around and get back to the airport. The most feasible option is to take a cab to Windsor (you can purchase a fast-track ticket for the castle in the post above), spend max. 1.5 hours there and return by cab to the airport. It’s a bit of a rush though.

    Have a safe trip!


  • I have 5 hr layover in Heathrow Airport, any recommendations on what to do? Please and thank you

  • Hi Jal,
    If you’re travelling light, you could explore the vicinity of St. Pancras before heading to LHR. The station itself is stunning! You can also visit the British Library next door (if you’re a literary fan). At King’s Cross station next door, you can also visit the Harry Potter shop at Platform 9 3/4 (if you’re a fan). Also in the area are the British Museum (20mins. walk) and the Charles Dickens Museum. If you’re not interested in museums, you could simply wander around the St. Pancras and Fitzrovia districts. Oh, and check out the beautiful St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel (especially interesting if you’re a history buff or a Spice Girls fan!) in the station.
    However, if you have heavy luggage, I suggest heading straight to LHR (or you could have a meal in St. Pancras before going to LHR) for a relaxing evening.
    Hope this helps.

    Have a safe trip!

  • Hi, arriving to London St Pancras late afternoon/early evening from Paris, then taking bus to LHR to stay overnight at hotel there before 10am flight next day. Anything worth doing or seeing nearby? Or better to just eat dinner and relax at hotel and get good night sleep? (Never been to London)

  • Hi Adam,
    19 hours is enough to get into Central London and see some sights in the morning before returning to Heathrow. Upon arrival, you could take the Piccadilly Line (Tube) from Heathrow to central London (about 45 mins.) and stay in a hotel around the Green Park/Piccadilly Circus area. The next morning (I suggest you start early), you can walk down to Westminster to see the Abbey and Big Ben. If you have time, you could walk to Leicester Square/Covent Garden and take the Piccadilly Line back to Heathrow. I hope this helps.

    Have a great trip!

  • Hi there! So I have a 19 hr layover, but it is overnight. I arrive into London-Heathrow Monday June 10th at around 9:30 pm, and my flight leaves the 11th at 4:15 pm. Is this enough time to get into central London? Is there much to do late night in London-Paddington, and a few sites to see in the morning? That’s if I took the London Heathrow express. Or, I was Thinking of booking a hotel in Westminster and getting the train into there, but not sure my options or if there is enough time. Was thinking of seeing Westminster Abbey. Anyone have any advice? Thanks so much!

  • Hi Paul,

    I assume you’re staying at one of the airport hotels? The airport is open all night and you could sleep on one of the chairs but it’s not comfortable. Security might also come around and you’ll have to show them your ticket/boarding pass. Some places will be open (for snacks/coffee) but that’s about it. I’m not aware of anything worth doing around Heathrow this late in the evening. I once had a similar layover (with an early-morning flight the next day) and decided to just relax at the hotel bar and chat with other layover passengers. I hope this helps.

    Check out this website too:


  • I land at Heathrow at 22:45 and have a 10 hour overnight layover. Next flight is not until 08:30. Is there anything to do overnight in or outside of the airport?

  • Hi Jeshamine,
    Yes, you can take the train from Gatwick into Central London and spend a few hours wandering around (I hope you don’t have a lot of luggage with you). You can then either take the Tube (Piccadilly Line; about 45 mins. to 1 hour) or the Heathrow Express train (15 mins. from Paddington station) to Heathrow Airport. Make sure you arrive at Heathrow at least two hours before your flight.

    Have a safe trip!


  • Hi, I have a stop over in London. I will be arriving in Gatwick airport at 13:30 and I need to go to heathrow airport. My next flight is 22:20. I want to go to Central of London. Do you think I will be having enought time to go to the central and roam there for a bit? Thank you in advance. 🙂

  • Hi Brenda,
    I would suggest Windsor Castle or Legoland Windsor. The latter is located about 11 miles from Heathrow and is great for the whole family. Have a great trip!


  • We will arrive in London on April 25th with a 7 hours layover we are traveling with a small boy 5 what good site could the whole family enjoys

  • Hi Lulu,
    7+ hours is sufficient for a visit to central London. My suggestion is to take the Heathrow Express train (15mins to Paddington Station). From here, you can hop on the Tube to Notting Hill (the second stop). Don’t miss the Portobello market. You can also stroll down to Kensington (Palace), Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park and Knightsbridge/Belgravia. Please be back at the airport two hours before your flight. Alternatively, there are hotels at Heathrow.
    I hope this helps. Have a great trip! 🙂


  • Hi !! I am arriving at 11.00 am on a saturday at Heathrow my next flight is at 6.50 pm from terminal 5
    I have two questions:)
    Do you think I have enough time to go for a stroll in Nothing Hill ? And how will be the fastest way to go there ? Or any othe neighbor hood that you think is nice ?
    Also is any hotel inside of the airport where I can rent a room only for those hours in case I decide not to go to central
    London ?
    Thanks a lot !!

  • Hello there,

    I have one question regarding bus connection between LHR and Windsor castle.

    Are these connections still valid (I mean bus no. 71 and 77)? because I see on internet some another buses. And is it worth to visit when we have only 6 hours? (we will be on airport from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday)

    Thank you

  • Hi, my family of 3 will land in Heathrow around 1:30 pm and the next flight to Chicago is on the next day at 11:30. Is it better to stay overnight at a hotel near the airport? Can you suggest some sightseeing options during this layover? We are American citizens and the luggage will be checked all the way to the final destination. Thanks

  • Hi Barbara,
    As far as I know, US citizens do not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom for a tourist stay of up to six months – I’m assuming you have a US passport. If you have your bags checked through to your final destination and you have your boarding pass for your next flight, I suggest taking the Heathrow Express into Central London. You can join a tour (see options in the post above) or visit the highlights (such as the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, etc..) on your own with a one-day London Pass. Please make sure you’re back at Heathrow Airport at least two hours before your flight. I hope this helps.

    Have a great trip!

  • We will be arriving from the United States of America at 10:00 am at London airport. We will not depart until 8:35 pm. We would love to go into London for some site seeing but we do not know if we will need a visa or what we will have time to see. Could you please help us? Thank you

  • Hi Abdul,

    There are several options. You could choose to visit Windsor Castle (which is quite close) or you could choose to take the Heathrow Express train to central London and stroll around for a few hours. If you have your bag checked through and you have your boarding pass for your next flight, I advise you return to Heathrow at least two hours before your flight departure.

  • Hi Keith,
    I will be landing at Heathrow Terminal 2 at 11:50 am and catching next flight at 8:50 pm from Terminal 4. How I can use this timely smartly in London by visiting some nearby areas?

  • Hi Liz,
    You’ll have time to venture into London to see some of the major sights (if it’s your first time). I suggest taking the Heathrow Express to maximize your time (only 15 mins. into London). There are so many things to see and do in London so it really depends on what you’re interested in. One option is to join a hop-on/hop-off bus tour which brings you past the major sights and includes a Thames river cruise. Whatever you decide to see/do, I recommend heading back to the airport by 4pm (before the rush hour starts).

    Have a great trip!


  • I land@7;30 am in Heathrow and depart@7:00pm same day. What is a good intiniary for the day? I need suggestions please. We are 4 adults….thank you!!

  • If we have 18hr layover in heathrow ternimal there near by places to visit with teenage kids visa no issue.

  • […] Five things to do around London Heathrow Airport by Keith […]

  • Hi there,
    I think 5 hours is a bit tight for a visit to Windsor Castle from Heathrow Airport. The castle is quite close to the airport (about 20 mins by taxi) but you should allow yourself plenty of time for passing through the airport. If you have your bags checked through to your final destination, you might just be able to swing it (for a visit of about an hour) but make sure you’re back at the airport at least two hours before departure. Here’s what a TripAdvisor member had to say:

    Hope this helps.


  • I’ll be in northern England for 2 weeks and LHR for a 5hr layover on my way out of the UK. Could I make it to Windsor Castle or Hampton Court in that amount of time?

  • Hi Beth, from the airport, you can easily hop onto the London Tube (metro) to get into the city (depending on where you go, this could take about an hour) and you can use your Oyster Card for all your Tube rides as well as buses (like the red double-deckers). As you’ll be in London for 2 days, you’ll have time to check out some of the highlights. Feel free to read through my London posts for some ideas:


  • We will be there for two nights at the airport. Can you use the Oyster card on the connectors to get to some of these places? We are at the Hilton at the airport

  • Great post! This really helped me. Loved the suggestions. I am doing number 1. The reason being I land in london at 6 and by the time I check in right next to the airport most other things would have closed. Still loved to hear about the possibility of seeing a Tudor pub. Thanks a lot!

  • Good tips! So far, for our long layovers, we’ve only slept at the Sofitel (nice!) or Yotel (not as nice as the Sofitel :-), but a great place for a few hours of zzzz’s). And schlepped all around the airport. But we’ll check these out next time we have some hours to kill…

  • Hello, just curious if I need a visa to visit windsor during a 9 hour layover from mumbai to NY. I will have no checked bags and not a US Citizen

  • Suck luck I just stumbled on your blog! just started planning my next London trip. I’ll spend one day at Windsor or hampton Court before taking off again from Heathrow, but still have to deside between the two…

  • Cool! I am also planning to visit Lego land before co’z I’d love lego’s. Anyway, London Heathrow Airport and Hampton Court Palace is also a great place to visit too.


  • Heathrow to Southall is actually a breeze by train. The Heathrow Connect stopping service to Paddington leaves Heathrow (T1,2 & 3 only – you do have to make a quick connection if you’re at T4 or T5) every half hour – Southall is a nine minute journey.

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