Learn all about Heathrow Airport – the best airport in the world! – based in London, UK. We hope this website helps you learn what you can do at the airport and in the city nearby.
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We went to Cape Town airport the other day, back in December while travelling in South Africa and up to Durban, on the east coast of the country. Although Africa doesn’t have amazing airports compared to those in the first world, there are some that are still beautiful and lovely to behold, if not world-class. Cape Town Airport was one of these!
It was pretty seamless when arriving, immigration was a cinch, the people friendly and it felt very safe, which is an obvious concern for most foreigners landing in Africa.
Crossrail is ambitious. Ambitious but necessary. As lung like London expands it leaves little room to breathe on a subway near you. Hence: Crossrail. We all know this, but let’s take a step back and appreciate just how far we have come.
Many eons ago (like 150 years) some legendary engineer started going underground with our transport needs. Very clever man (I forget his name) and viola! We now have a tube system. All great cities worldwide have them now. And they shuttle us across the suburbs, and we pop up at random (unless you are one of those who plans things and aims for something – I personally can’t quite work it out without visually seeing it before, as on a bus) and it always seems like magic when you appear someplace wholly different to that suburbs or borough before and you wonder: “How did I get here!?”. You got here via magic thing called the London Underground!
The time that passes underground seems bizarre and surreal and otherworldly. Like a minor miracle, you don’t quite cognitively acknowledge it – you believe it is real, but your science half of your brain (is it left or right) subtly disputes it’s authenticity. Your other half is rejoicing and jumping around and saying “Life is so cool!” and when they merge, they battle and draw a truce and you walk glumly off the platform and focus your attention on where you can get the flat white closest to you… oh how quickly our mind moves off the magnificent down into the mundane…
Crossrail has been brilliant in that it has forced us to recognise that what we have in London is incredible and how far we have come is, again, incredible. Now, like a crown on the top, it is becoming even more … super-fantastic (I couldn’t write incredible for the third time, that word would have been too watered down). The new stations, the new lines, the brilliance of linked lines, the decrease in time to Heathrow, how it has affected Heathrow airport because it’s now even more popular to catch a train there and fly out from Heathrow than pre-Crossrail, and just the general greatness of such a feat of engineering – and mostly locally done, I might add.
So, next time you step out, and step in to a tubular train take stock of how marvellous this city of London is, and how fortunate we are in this year of 2019.
I feel sorry for adults. One look at them standing next to a child at an airport and you realise that with all their years behind them, they have missed something. Or lost it. A train station is no different, or a canning factory, or a dry dock. A child will stare in fascination for hours, asking a hundred questions – or perhaps just standing quietly in awe – whilst an adult will over skim over the wonderous plethora of on-goings and mentally tick off “Train station. Please where trains arrive and leave. Place where I must catch my train by 14.10 or I shall be late, and then angry.”
Thankfully, the children of this earth (those not addicted to their smartphones) remind us each time the absolutely fascinating show going on before our eyes. Just how on earth does a plane take off? A huge hunk of metal weighing in at many tonnes lifts off the ground with simply air? Air! Air weights nothing. Air passing under a wing somehow catapults (not literally) that plane into the sky. With all those passengers. And their baggage. And their stories. Those last two often well interlinked. And a child gets it, but an adult: perhaps not.
As long as I can remember I have always found the airport a fascinating place. How does all the baggage end up on the right plane. How do they pack it? How do they sort it? If yours goes in last does it come out first? Is there a moral leaning there as set out by the airports company because, that isn’t really fair, is it? Maybe it is the captains choice – it’s “his” plane after all, or hers #moderngendernorms – or could it be those packing the plane, or the person checking in your baggage. Maybe they suss you out, based on your politeness, the warmth of your face, your smile, even your level of attraction… Who knows? But I do wonder.
Just that train of thought, and a million questions arise. One bag, one route, one destination, one hundred thoughts spring up. And this really is what we were made to do – to question, to think, to ponder, to debate, to imagine… and that is just how flight was born. We saw birds fly and someone wondered: is this limited to our feathered friends? Or can we fly? Icarus into the sun. Those Wright brothers into the future. And apparently some Koreans (this is a side story, where that nation believes they invented modern day flight).
All this to say, never lose your wonder. If you are in danger of doing so, find a child that has been brought up properly and then watch them watch. See what intrigues them. Allow them to question every little thing. And partake in their wonder of the world. It may not be an airport for you (I happen to have a fascination with transport, and engineering, and such – stay tuned for writings on Crossrail, in London) but whatever is your poison, delve deeper, and enjoy. And please, pretty please may it be something that goes beyond a fictionalised story on a wide screen.
Thank you, I am out.
PS. I feel guilty that I did not write this from an airport. Next time!
Don’t allow long layovers and flights to derail your diet. A healthy traveller is a happy traveller, and greasy fast-food or vending machine snacks don’t have to be your go-to meals.
Today’s Love your layover series article features some of the best healthy food delights Heathrow Airport has to offer. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, allergic, or intolerant, Heathrow has something to offer. Here are our top picks:
Pret A Manger
This health conscious, sustainability-focused fresh food store is any health foodie’s dream. They prepare their food on-site daily, which guarantees its freshness. Pret offers a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, wheat- and gluten-free options (including vegan desserts and snacks!). They serve coffees and other warm drinks, juices, smoothies, wraps, salads, sandwiches, baked treats, and hot and cold breakfast items.
Where to find them:
- Terminal 3 (before security): Opening hours: 06:00-22:00.
- Terminal 4 (after security): Opening hours 06:00-21:00.
- Terminal 5 (after security): Opening hours 05:00-last departing flight.
If you love Asian-inspired food, look no further than Itsu. Founded in Chelsea, London in 1997, Itsu is all about fresh, nutritious meals on the go. They offer plenty of gluten-free options, as well as low-carb, vegan, and vegetarian meals and snacks. Think sushi, Asian bowls, noodles, soups, smoothies, and breakfast pots. Their food is freshly-prepared every day, and to minimise waste, they sell many dishes at half price before closing time. Bonus!
View their menu here.
Where to find them:
- Terminal 5 (after security): 04:30-last departing flight
EAT offers a wide variety of freshly-prepared foods that taste good and leave you feeling good. With an emphasis on using seasonal produce, many of their menu items change weekly and seasonally. They serve coffees, soups, hot pots, sandwiches, salads, breakfast pots and porridges, and hot and cold drinks. Their menu also offers several vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
View their menu here.
Where to find them:
- Terminal 2 (after security): Opening hours: 05:00-last departing flight
- Terminal 3 (after security): Opening hours: 05:00-21:00
The best part? All three of the above outlets offer in-flight picnic services, so that you can enjoy fresh, healthy food throughout your flight. Visit the Heathrow Airport website for more details.
If you’re planning a trip to London, you’ll be pleased to know that the city offers plenty of transport options to get you from point A to B. London’s well-developed public transport network means that there is no need to hire a private car. In fact, due to high volumes of inner city traffic and limited parking, we wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, whether you plan to visit for business or pleasure, keep your London trip as stress-free and time-efficient as possible by trying one of the city’s many great public transport options:
More commonly known as “The Tube”, London’s underground is a modern rapid public transit system that originates from the Metropolitan Railway, one of the world’s oldest metro networks and the oldest underground railway. The Metropolitan Railway started operating in 1863, and today the Underground boasts 270 stations, 11 lines and 402km of track. Interestingly, only 45% of the Underground is actually underground, with the rest of the track running above the ground.
Underground stations are located throughout the city and are readily accessible by taking a quick walk. Most lines operate from 5am to midnight, and certain lines that form part of the Night Tube run for 24 hours.
The Underground can get you to most destinations within London city, but if you are looking to travel out of the city, the Tube is not your best option.
If you are planning on using the Tube frequently during your visit, we recommend getting an Oyster card for the most cost-effective Underground experience. To save even more time, you could get a visitor Oyster card preloaded with travelling credit delivered straight to your door before you leave for London.
- London Overground
The Overground is similar to the Underground, but as the name suggests, it runs completely above ground. It was launched in 2007 with the aim of connecting travellers to more locations outside of central London.
According to Arriva Rail London, the operator that runs the underground on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), 30% of Londoners are less than a 15 minute walk away from an Overground station. There are currently six routes that cover approximately 167km of track:
- Richmond and Clapham Junction to Stratford
- Watford Junction to Euston
- Gospel Oak to Barking
- Highbury & Islington to New Cross, Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace and West Croydon
- Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford
- Romford to Upminster
The Overground follows the same pricing structure and zoning as the Underground, and you can use your Oyster Card to pay for trips.
London’s classic red buses are certainly one of the city’s most iconic modes of transport. As a bonus, their slower travelling pace and the fact that they actually use the roads allows you to enjoy more sights on your way. The downside of this, however, is that bus travellers are at the mercy of London’s traffic, which means they aren’t the best option if you are in a hurry to get somewhere.
Many bus routes run 24 hours a day, which also makes them a convenient, affordable option for late night travelling. Night buses run less frequently than daytime buses. Once in london, you can find out more about night bus schedules at Trafalgar Square – the night bus hub.
You have to use either an Oyster card or contactless card to pay for bus rides – no cash allowed.
As a fun and active alternative to motorised transport, you can hire a bicycle to make your way across town. Santander Cycles is London’s official cycle hire scheme, and from as little as £2 you can hire a bike for 24 hours. Within that 24 hour period, you can make as many cycling journeys from different docking stations as you wish, and the first 30 minutes of each journey is included in the £2 fee. If any journey exceeds 30 minutes, you will be charged an additional £2 for that journey.
There are over 11,000 bikes and 70 docking stations around London. This means you can enjoy sightseeing across multiple locations for a minimal fee, and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. The bikes are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
You can hire bikes at the docking stations using a bank card, or download the official Santander Cycles app to hire a bicycle directly from your smartphone.
The above transport options are user-friendly and when used in combination, cover a large part of the greater London area. Of course, a city as big and busy as London has many other transport options to offer. Some additional options to explore include:
And if all else fails, the city’s safe, pedestrian-friendly layout makes walking an enjoyable (and free) option too!
If you’re looking to visit England odds are you’ll be arriving in our nation via one of the world’s biggest and busiest airports, Heathrow Airport (Also known as London Heathrow) is here to handle all of your travel needs as you arrive in the United Kingdom. No matter if you’re planning on staying in England or taking the Chunnel to get to France and the rest of Europe, or you’re planning on visiting the rest of the UK, making your way through Heathrow will almost assuredly be part of the adventure. Beginning as an airstrip in the 1920s Heathrow has grown and become one of the key international airports in the world.
When you visit Heathrow Airport you’ll have tons of dining options to allow you to fly on a full belly. With coffee shops from Café Nero to Starbucks offering all their trademark options for all your caffeinated beverage needs to plenty of British pubs that offer you beer and food in the style that the Brits are known. From restaurants overseen by Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal to juice bars that serve hot dogs, to top-end sushi you’ll find just about anything and everything when you’re looking for a meal at Heathrow Airport.
Heathrow Airport also had a massive amount of stores for all your shopping needs. You can find all sorts of duty free products for purchase as you wait for your flight to arrive. If you need your currency exchanged for trips abroad, or you are looking to get some British Pounds before heading into London you’ll be able to handle these exchanges with no problem at all at Travelex. If you’re looking for something to read on your flight the Bookshop by WH Smith will give you plenty of options from current best sellers, classics, to magazines and newspapers they have all the bases covered. Be sure to stop by the Harry Potter shop to get your kids all the Hogwarts themed souvenirs they’ve been begging you for. If you’re looking for some fun while you’re killing time check out Voyager Entertainment and enjoy some video games or try your luck on some fruit machines.
If you’ve more than a few hours before your flight you should stop by Windsor Castle and check out this incredible piece of British history. The site of the most recent Royal Wedding Windsor Castle has stood since the 11th century and while it’s been constantly renovated it still maintains much of that ancient history. Heathrow Airport offers transportation to and from Windsor Castle allowing you to plan your sightseeing trip without worrying about missing your flight.
If castles aren’t your thing you could always check out Legoland. This part has all sorts of rides and Lego-based displays for you and your family to enjoy. Try to get a high score on the Kingdom of the Pharaohs ride. Cool off on the rides on the Pirate Shores and take in all the different major cities in the world in miniature form at Miniland.
No matter what you’re planning on doing, Heathrow Airport is here to make your experience a positive one.
Who says airports have to be boring? Love your layover is a series of articles aimed at uncovering the fun activities that Heathrow Airport has to offer. Instead of dreading the long waits between flights, make the most of your time by exploring Heathrow. You may be pleasantly surprised!
In this first instalment of our Love your layover series, we feature some of the most interesting shopping experiences Heathrow has to offer.
Given Heathrow’s sheer size and the number of retail outlets in the airport, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you are strolling through a shopping mall. But…we know you can shop at home too, and might be thinking, “Do I really need another dress, magazine or travel pillow?”
So if you’re looking to combine entertainment and shopping in one experience, why not visit one of these novel stores during your layover:
- Glorious Britain
This quintessentially British store boasts a wide range of souvenirs, including merchandise from British icons such as The Royal Family and The Beatles. Here you will find anything from British-themed keyrings, hats, t-shirts, and pens, to wallets, soft toys, baby clothes, and even pet toys. Even if you don’t walk out of this store with a single thing, the experience is sure to put a smile on your face.
Where to find them:
- Terminal 3 (before and after security): Opening hours: 05:30-last departing flight.
- Terminal 4 (after security): Opening hours 5:30-22:00.
- Terminal 5 (after security): Opening hours 5:30-last departing flight.
- World of Whiskeys
With over 250 whiskies to choose from, World of Whiskies is a treat for both the connoisseur and casual whiskey drinker.
The store offers limited edition, vintage, rare, and exclusive whiskies, as well as a wide range of single malts, single grain and pure malts, blends, and bourbons. You can even take your tastebuds on an adventure by trying out different whiskeys at their dedicated tasting bar, where expertly trained staff will assist you to find the perfect whiskey.
Where to find them:
- Terminal 2 (after security): Opening hours: 5:00-22:30
- Terminal 3 (after security): Opening hours: 6:00-22:00
- Terminal 4 (after security): Opening hours: 5:30-22:00
- Terminal 5 (after security): Opening hours: 5:30-last departing flight
- The Bookshop by WHSmith
Attention bookworms – this one’s for you. If you can think of nothing better than spending your layover getting lost in a world of books, look no further than The Bookshop.
The Bookshop is a far cry from the traditional WHSmith experience. Each store employs avid book-lovers with specialist knowledge to assist customers and make recommendations. There is also a strong focus on backlist titles, and the store offers a wide range of bestsellers in categories ranging from fiction and business, to children’s books and autobiographies.
Where to find them:
- Terminal 3 (after security): Opening hours: 06:00-22:00
- Terminal 4 (after security): Opening hours: 06:00-22:00
- Terminal 5 (after security): Opening hours: 06:00-22:00
- The Harry Potter Shop
If you wish your parents had sent you to Hogwarts, The Harry Potter Shop is the perfect layover stop for you. The store stocks themed items from J.K. Rowling’s works (including Merchandise from her West End hit Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Parts One and Two, and the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
For all your Harry Potter collectables, accessories, gifts, and apparel, this is your go-to place at Heathrow Airport.
Where to find them:
- Terminal 5 (after security): Opening hours: 05:30-22:00
If the above options don’t tickle your fancy, you could always take your kids to Hamley’s Toy Store (one of the most famous in the world), try some decadent macaroons and chocolates at L’Orchidee, or indulge in luxury caviar and champagne at Caviar House & Prunier.
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll certainly enjoy a unique shopping experience at Heathrow Airport.
Lights, cameras…boarding passes!
When visiting Heathrow Airport, it’s easy to imagine that you’ve stepped into a movie scene. Flashbacks of Die Another Day might run through your mind, or, if you’re more romantically inclined, recalling the famous airport scene in Love Actually may make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Heathrow has proudly held the title of “World’s Second Busiest Airport” since 2014, and Hollywood casts and crews certainly contribute to this bustling international airport’s impressive title.
As a tribute to Heathrow’s buzzing atmosphere (and prestigious title), we’ve rounded up the top 3 action-packed Hollywood movies featuring famous British and Hollywood actors filmed at Heathrow Airport:
- Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
- Hollywood star: Tom Cruise
- British star: Emily Blunt
In this action-packed thriller, Major William Cage (Cruise) and Special Forces agent Rita Vrataski (Blunt) are tasked with fighting off an invading alien race. There’s only one catch – they are stuck in a time-loop, forced to relive the same battle and die over and over again…until they defeat the enemy.
- Die Another Day (2002)
- Hollywood star: Halle Berry
- British stars: Pierce Brosnan, Toby Stephens & Rosamund Pike
After escaping from a North Korean prison, James Bond (Brosnan) teams up with agents Miranda Frost (Pike) and Jinx (Berry) to stop millionaire villain Gustav Graves (Stephens) from deploying the Icarus satellite – a laser beam Graves intends to use to cut a path through the Korean Demilitarised Zone which would enable North Korean troops to invade South Korea.
- The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
- Hollywood stars: Matt Damon & Julia Stiles
- British star: Paddy Considine
In the 3rd film in the Bourne series, British reporter Simon Ross (Considine) brings Bourne out of hiding by requesting to interview him about Operation Blackbriar (project Treadstone’s upgrade). Ross’s attempt to uncover the operation puts Bourne in jeopardy however, as their meeting discloses Bourne’s location to The Company. A chase ensues as The Company attempts to eradicate Bourne once and for all.
Not an action fan? Some other great Hollywood movies featuring British and Hollywood stars filmed at Heathrow include:
- Bend it Like Beckham (2002)
- Love Actually (2003)
- A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
- Green Street Hooligans (2005)
- Red Sparrow (2018)
- Last Chance Harvey (2008)
- Wimbledon (2004)
- And many more…
So keep your eyes peeled – next time you pass through Heathrow, you might just find yourself featuring as an extra in the next big Hollywood blockbuster.
Heathrow Airport is a major international airport in London, United Kingdom. Heathrow is the second busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic, as well as the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic, and the seventh busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic. I watched this entire series (and boy are there a lot of in total!) and really suggest you watch this one to see if you would like to follow it as well. It’s all free on YouTube and probably came out on British television years back.
If you, like me, find airports fascinating then get ready for some pure excitement!
London, one of the world’s oldest cities, is home to Heathrow airport. A grand, old city full of life and charm it houses some of the most interesting studies on public transport. How fitting that it also has one of the world’s best airports, too!
It is this here that we have set our scene and chosen to focus in on what to do when you leave Heathrow airport. If you ever would want to do that! Thankfully, the city is a wonderful place to explore, and you’d need at least a month to see it properly. We think we may have some of the best ideas though of what you could get up to, considering you probably only have 4-8 hours tops. Take a gander through these options and choose your favourites for the day. Who knows, perhaps your flight will be delayed by fog and you can stay another day!