With millions of passengers passing through each year, it’s probably of little surprise that a fair share of these travellers end up hanging around Heathrow Airport for a significant amount of time during one journey or another. Flight delays, long connections or simply people taking the opportunity to explore London as they pass through; there are plenty of reasons why you might find yourself looking at things to do either in the airport itself or close by.
Firstly, you need to consider whether you have time to leave Heathrow airport or whether you need to concentrate on exploring the facilities at Heathrow itself. If you catch the Heathrow Express, then it takes just 30 minutes to reach the heart of London; once you have passed through security of course. You then need to give yourself 30 minutes for the return journey and upwards of 45 minutes to one hour to get back through security again. If you have more than 4-5 hours going spare, then it may be entirely possible for you to leave the airport and explore the heart of the city or simply head to a nice London restaurant but you do need to be realistic about the free time at your disposal.
The Heathrow Express will bring you into London Paddington Station which is well connected to the rest of London. Paddington has a tube station and is well served by London buses’ making it easy to travel on to other attractions in the city but it is also within walking distance of several London’s most popular attractions as well. Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Canal, Little Venice, and the Royal Albert Hall are all within a short distance of the station and there are many attractions within Paddington itself including the world’s only Paddington Bear store, the Rolling Bridge, Merchant Square, and the Puppet Theatre Barge to name but a few.
If you have a long connection or an overnight stay to factor in but want to stay close to the airport itself then there are also a number of attractions which may suit you better than trying to get into Central London. Windsor Castle is just a 15-minute taxi ride from Heathrow Airport and is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. The Queen is often in residence here and there is enough to keep everyone in the family occupied. Windsor Castle regularly runs special family friendly activities and events and there are daily activity trails and tours available as well. There is also the Legoland Windsor Resort nearby which is the perfect option if you have a day or so to spend near to the airport; it is just 20 minutes from the BW Plus Park Grand London Heathrow, ideal if you are travelling with younger children.
But what about those of us who don’t have time to leave the airport and explore the delights of the city? Well, some would say that Heathrow Airport is like a mini town all on its own and there are plenty of ways to keep yourself occupied if you have a delay or a long layover to take into consideration. Each terminal at the airport has a variety of different facilities but here are just some of the things you could do: –
Keeping children occupied in an airport is just about every parents’ worst nightmare but at Heathrow it’s straightforward. Mr Adventure is the new face of family fun at Heathrow; this new Mr Men character can be spotted throughout the airport and has been designed to help young children engage with their experience at the airport. Throughout the year there will be a few activities relating to Mr Adventure from decorating a Mr Adventure t-shirt to making cookies. In terminals 2, 4 and 5 there are also children’s play areas. For children aged 9 and under these areas have slides, soft play sections and separate baby and junior zones; perfect for keeping children busy and wearing them out before your flight. Children may also enjoy a little plane spotting and there are many platforms available for this depending on the terminal you are in.
Heathrow has plenty of shops, both before and after security so if you fancy a little duty-free shopping then you won’t be disappointed. There is a good mixture of high street brands and designer brands so whether you are looking for a budget bargain or you want to treat yourself then there is the opportunity to do so. Look out for names such as Tiffany & Co, Hugo Boss, Burberry, and Cath Kidston.
There are several beauty stores dotted around the airport which are great places to head if you want to stock up on your favourite beauty products but if you want to take it a step further then there are also a handful of places you could go to indulge in some spa and pamper treatments whilst waiting in Heathrow Airport as well. In Terminal 5 there is the Be Relax Spa and Lounge which offers a range of wellbeing and beauty treatments, with no appointment necessary. In Terminal 3 you will find the No1 Traveller Lounge: a luxurious private lounge which also offers an extensive menu of treatments including facials, pedicures, massages, and even hot showers. In Terminal 2 there is the Plaza Premium Lounge, again with a range of treatments including massages.
For People Watching
If you find yourself at a loose end in the airport, then there is nothing quite like finding a coffee shop or a restaurant and setting yourself up for some people watching. Heathrow sees hundreds of thousands pass through each day and it can be a very entertaining and interesting experience to simply watch the people who pass by your table.