Things To Do On A Long Layover At London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow International Airport is not only renowned for being the busiest but it is the international hub for major airlines across the globe. For passengers who are arriving from Asia and the Far East, it serves as the gateway to Europe and the Trans-Atlantic regions.


If you find yourself stuck and don’t know what to indulge into, there are plenty of things to do at Heathrow Airport. Whether you’re on a brief layover or a leisurely 24-hour stopover, this article helps you discover the activities that not only help you kill time but also make your trip into a memorable experience.

How to overcome 4 Hours Layover at London Heathrow Airport?

If you have a brief hour layover that lasts for no more than 4 hours, here are a few activities you can consider:

Grab a Bite

There are plenty of acclaimed restaurants where you can suit yourself for a delicious meal on your 4-hour layover at London Heathrow. You can go for fine dining at Gordon Ramsay Plane Food which offers a variety of global delicacies on your plate. Or, simply head to The Perfectionists’ Café, located in Terminal 2 if you’re here just for Grab-and-Go!

We have sorted the best picks for you, have a look-

Located AtRestaurants
Terminal 2Big Smoke, Shan Shui, Leon
Terminal 3Black Sheep Coffee, EL&N London, Spuntino
Terminal 4Carluccio’s, Co-Pilots Bar & Kitchen, Joe’s Coffee House
Terminal 5Starbucks, The Crown Rivers, The Globe

Shop at Duty-free Stores

Treat yourself to a retail therapy that gives you a memory for the lifetime. Massage your desires with brands like Gucci to some iconic stores like Hamleys, Harrods and John Lewis. Check out some options below –

Located AtShopping Outlets
Terminal 2Burberry, Calvin Klein, Discover London
Terminal 3Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Hermes, Harrods, 
Terminal 4Montblanc, Tedbaker, Tomford, WHSmith
Terminal 5Accessorize, Burberry, Hugo Boss, World Duty Free

How to overcome 8 Hours Layover at London Heathrow Airport?

An 8 hour layover in Heathrow means you have more time to delve into the activities that are inside as well as outside the terminal.

Explore the City’s Nightlife

things to do at heathrow airport

On your long layover in London Heathrow, you can embark on a brief excursion in the city. If you’re in for a nightlife, this is one of the best things to do near Heathrow airport at night. All you need to do is take a Heathrow Express tube that will get you to Central London in 15 minutes.

Visit some famous English and Scottish pubs that help you freshen-up before your next flight-

Nightlife VenueAddressOperating Hours
Fabric77A Charterhouse St, ClerkenwellFri-Sat: 11 pm – 7 am
Ministry of Sound103 Gaunt St, Elephant and CastleFri-Sat: 11 pm – 6 am
XOYO32-37 Cowper St, ShoreditchFri-Sat: 9:30 pm – 4 am
The Box Soho11-12 Walker’s Ct, SohoTue-Sat: 11 pm – 4 am
Egg London200 York Way, Kings CrossFri-Sat: 11 pm – 8 am

Eliminate Jet Lag at the Lounges

This is one of the best things to do at Heathrow airport terminal 4. However you can find lounges across all terminals.

You can enjoy comfortable seating, complimentary food and beverages, and access to amenities such as Wi-Fi and charging stations. You can simply escape the crowd at the airport while accessing some of the best lounges as mentioned below –

LoungesLocated AtOperating HoursPrices (per person)
Plaza PremiumTerminal 205:00 – 21:00, dailyPrices from 45 USD
Club AspireTerminal 305:00 – 22:00, dailyPrices from 40 USD
Plaza PremiumTerminal 405:00 – 22:00, dailyPrices from 46 USD
Club AspireTerminal 505:00 – 21:00, dailyPrices from 44 USD

How to overcome 12 Hours Layover at London Heathrow Airport?

With a long layover in London Heathrow, you have more to venture into nearby attractions like –

Grab a drink at Britain’s one of the Oldest Pubs

It is a 15-minute ride along the M25 that will take you to the Swan which hosts one of the best breweries in town. It is a part of Denham village which hosts other lovely pubs too. After a delightful supper, you can work up an appetite by taking a leisurely stroll at the Golf Course. Part of the village’s sole street is flanked by elegant Georgian brick and the other half with timbered homes.

Explore the centuries-old village along the Thames River

One of the best things to do at Heathrow airport is to take a visit to one of the charming villages on the banks of the River Thames. It is highly recommended if you want to get some fresh air, grab a bite to eat, and take some lovely pictures.

The closest settlement I can suggest is Datchet, which is around a 15-minute minicab ride from Heathrow. Here you can take a delicious meal and soak into the lovely views of the River Thames.

Visit Legoland UK with your Children

things to do at heathrow airport

Visiting Legoland could be a wonderful way to fill an extra day at the end of your vacation or pass a few enjoyable hours in between your London Heathrow layover.

Book a Hotel for an Overnight Layover

If your layover extends into the night, consider booking a hotel at the LHR. There are also plenty of stay options around Heathrow, that offer convenient accommodations, ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free experience during your layover. 

Considering the layover of this size, this is one of the best things to do at Heathrow airport terminal 5. Here are some of the options at Qatar Airways London Heathrow Terminal 5-

HotelLocationPrice per Night (USD)
Sofitel London HeathrowHillingdon (0.4 km)$256
The Lodge StanwellStanwell (1.6 km)$126
Hyatt Place London Heathrow AirportHillingdon (2 km)$159
Staybridge Suites London Heathrow – Bath RoadHillingdon (2.4 km)$186
Sheraton Heathrow HotelHillingdon (1.6 km)$160
Holiday Inn London Heathrow – Bath RoadHillingdon (2.4 km)$185

How to overcome 24 Hours Layover at London Heathrow Airport?

Do not feel yourself on an unfortunate side if you have an entire day to spare as your layover in London Heathrow. Instead, you can take advantage of the extended time and delve deeper into the London’s best attractions –

Windsor Castle

Want to experience something quintessentially British? A visit to Windsor Castle must be on your cards. If you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of the iconic British royals. 

things to do at heathrow airport

The iconic landmark has stood for over 900 years and is not only the official residence of Prince Charles III but also holds the distinction of being the largest occupied castle in the world.

Windsor Castle is conveniently located near Heathrow Airport, making it the closest attraction to visit, and is merely a 20 minutes drive by taxi.

London Transport Museum And Covent Garden

things to do at heathrow airport

If you’re traveling with children, the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden is an excellent destination for a family outing. And if you happen to visit England during the Christmas holidays, the museum takes on a truly magical atmosphere!

Located in the historic Flower Market building at Covent Garden Piazza, the museum chronicles a fascinating journey that highlights the evolution of the city’s transportation since the 18th century. Adult tickets cost 17.50 GBP while kids go free.

London’s Military Traditions

This is where you may witness London’s most renowned military traditions. One of the must-see spectacles is the changing of the guard which is one of the memorable things to do at Heathrow Airport. This event takes place every day during the summer at 11:30 am, and it is recommended to arrive early to secure a good vantage point.

Another remarkable tradition that you may witness here is the Ceremony of the Keys. This nightly ritual involves the locking up of the Tower of London and has been faithfully performed by the Yeoman Warders. This ceremony has never stopped for the past 100 years.

Trafalgar Square

things to do at heathrow airport

Another most recommended destination is the beloved Trafalgar Square. To reach here, take a tube to Piccadilly Circus. From here you can take a stroll towards Leicester Square. Soak into the charm of heritage old bakeries and Scottish pubs alongside Leicester Square.

In conclusion, a long layover at London Heathrow Airport doesn’t have to be boring or uneventful. With the numerous options available, you can make the most of your time and turn it into a memorable experience.

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Read our latest blog here: Things To Do On A Layover At Orlando International Airport

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you leave Heathrow Airport during a layover?

Yes, it is possible to leave Heathrow Airport during a layover. It is better to have a more than 10-hour layover in London Heathrow if you want to venture to the nearby attractions.

How to spend 5 hours at Heathrow Airport?

Consider visiting nearby attractions such as Windsor Castle, Kew Gardens, or the London Eye.

How do I spend a day at Heathrow Airport?

If you have a day-long layover, consider taking a guided tour of London or nearby attractions.

Is there anywhere to sleep at Heathrow Airport?

Yes. Some terminals have sleep pods. You can also find hotels inside the terminals.

Can you walk around Heathrow Airport?

You can walk around as you will pass by plenty of gates, shops, and restaurants.

How do you spend a long layover in Heathrow?

Explore the airport’s art installations, visit duty-free shops, indulge in spa treatments, or take advantage of the airport lounges.

What to do on an 8-hour layover at London Heathrow Airport?

With an 8-hour layover, you have enough time to venture outside the airport.

How to spend 6 hours at Heathrow Airport?

You can enjoy a meal at one of the airport’s many restaurants, go shopping or simply utilize the airport’s free WiFi. 

What to do on a 4-hour layover at London Heathrow Airport?

You can grab a quick bite to eat or explore the art installations at LHR.

Where can I wait at Heathrow without paying?

There are public waiting areas where you do not have to pay. You can also head to the airline’s check-in counter.

Published June 6, 2023
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