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Heathrow Airport Rundown

Arriving at Heathrow Airport can be dizzying – the world’s highest number of international passengers pass through here every day, a number which is set to grow when the airport’s fifth terminal is completed. But, Heathrow Airport tries its best to accommodate everyone. There’s fast food for the jet-lagged, a Harrods and Hamleys Toy Store for those last minute presents and an airport lounge offering stunning runway views. Plus, Heathrow Airport is only 20 minutes away from one of the world’s most famous capital cities – London.

Before you set out for the big smoke though, bear in mind that the area surrounding the airport is quite a hub of tourism in itself. For starters, there’s Windsor Castle – Queen Elizabeth’s favorite residence, then there’s Hampton Court Palace – Henry VIII’s favorite, and just a punt up the Thames there’s beautiful Richmond-upon-Thames just waiting to be discovered.

Heathrow Airport’s location, plus the fact there are some fabulous hotels in the vicinity, might make you consider it as a place to base yourself for a vacation.

Heathrow’s Top 10

10. Twickenham Rugby Stadium has a museum packed full of memorabilia, and you can take a tour of the home of British Rugby.

5. If shopping is a priority then the Bentall’s Center in Kingston upon Thames should fit the bill.

9. Chessington World of Adventures has some fantastic rides and a Children’s Zoo.

4. Hounslow Heath Nature Reserve is just a stone’s throw from Heathrow Airport and has enough nature to satisfy anyone.

8. Legoland is the number one attraction for kids. It’s just 12 km from Heathrow Airport and full of ingenious LEGO structures and rides.

3. The Thames Path National Trail is free and good wholesome fun within a few km of Heathrow Airport.

7. The Theatre Royal Windsor has great pantos at Xmas and more highbrow stuff the rest of the year.

2. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has to be visited once in a lifetime – and is close to Heathrow Airport.

6. Alexander Park is on the Thames and full of fowl. You can feed them if you like.

1. Windsor Great Park is just a few km from Heathrow Airport. Not only a welcome breath of fresh air, but the hub of equestrian events galore.

Heathrow Airport History

  • Windsor Castle – Built by William the Conqueror in 1066, this castle is 10.7km from Heathrow Airport.
  • Hampton Court Palace – Dating back to 1236, this Court Palace is located 10.8km from Heathrow Airport.
  • Royal Drury Lane – One of the fine theatres of London, it was designed by Benjamin Wyatt in 1812.
  • Admiralty Arch – Designed by Sir Aston Webb in 1910, it is a ceremonial gateway.
  • Queen’s House – Originally a Royal Residence, it now displays National Maritime Museum’s art collection.

Heathrow Airport Art & Culture

  • Heathrow Terminal 5 Art Gallery – Set to become a major art gallery with masterpieces from national collections and contemporary art works.
  • Institute of Contemporary Arts – You can browse books, watch movies, engage in debate and participate in live events.
  • MCC Cricket Museum – There are hundreds of cricket-related artefacts here.
  • Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art – Works of top futurist artists from 20th-century Italy.
  • Kenwood Lakeside Concerts – Classical music in a highly elegant setting.

Heathrow Airport Shopping

  • World Duty Free – Duty-free liquor, tobacco, cosmetics, sunglasses, watches, confectionaries and sundry items at this shop located in Terminal 1.
  • Harrods – Located in Terminal 1, offering an exciting array of luxury products.
  • Accessorize – Many fashion accessories from bags and purses to flip-flops and more is available here at Terminal 5.
  • Add+ – Located in Terminal 5, tech accessories for your iPhone, iPad, iPod or BlackBerry and whatever else you need.
  • Glorious Britain – In Terminal 5, this outlet has quintessentially British gifts and souvenirs.

Gay & Lesbian Heathrow Airport

  • Candy Bar – London’s only full-time women’s venue, now a part of Ku Bar groups.
  • Friendly Society – Defined by futuristic décor, the bar attracts a healthy mix of men and women.
  • Popstarz – The original gay indie night, still going strong and attracts a mix of gay and straight indie.
  • Sweatbox Foam Party – Located in London’s busiest shopping district, this is Soho’s biggest gay sauna.
  • Monster – Recommended as leading venue for lesbians and bisexual women.

Heathrow Airport Outdoor

  • Chessington World of Adventures and Chessington Zoo – Theme park and zoo with over 100 different species and 260 individual animals.
  • Lego Land – 13.4km from Heathrow, families enjoy hundreds of rides, live shows and attractions.
  • Thorpe Park – One of the most famous theme parks with over 20 rides, 8.2km from Heathrow.
  • AMT Coffee – Located in Terminals 1, 3 and 4, the leaders of gourmet takeaway coffee.

Heathrow Airport Sport

  • Watch the horse race at Ascot Race Court dating back to 1711, located 17km from the airport.
  • If you can get a ticket, watch Wimbledon 2012.
  • Find a sports bar among many in London to watch a sport of your choice at your convenience.
  • Find a local sports café of your choice to get the great stuff.
  • National, international and local sporting events go on year round in London that you can select to watch according to your convenience and choice.

Heathrow Events

The Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place in Windsor Home Park, just a km or two from Heathrow Airport. It’s a May event which simply can’t be missed.

The Hampton Court Music Festival only invites the best performers from around the world, so book a place at this event which happens in June, if you’re around Heathrow Airport then.

The Windsor Festival is an October event where you can hear chamber music, choirs and orchestras all across the town, just a few km from Heathrow Airport too.

The Real Ale and Hog Roast Festival is an annual August event close to Heathrow Airport at Windsor Racecourse. A real crowd-pleaser.

The Richmond upon Thames Literature Festival is proper highbrow stuff. Go along and lower the tone, just a stone’s throw from Heathrow Airport.

One simply has to be at Smith’s Lawn, Windsor during the month of April for some top polo action. Get your chauffeur to take you from Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Airport is also home to Bigfest, a more down to earth event where you will be impressed by street performers in October.

The Hayes Carnival takes place in Hillingdon – home to Heathrow Airport – where locals don their cultural costumes and parade in the streets.

Twickenham Carnival is a riot of color and fun all along the Riverside and must be enjoyed during a stay at Heathrow Airport.

When To Go

The UK weather can be relied upon to be unreliable but the fact that Heathrow Airport has a southern location helps with the sunshine factor.

Average summer temperatures are around 20°C or so, but things can get quite hot during the odd summer or too and reach the 30s. Winter sees temperatures drop to around 4°C, but nights can be cold with plenty of frosts.

There’s plenty of rain to be had whatever the season so pack accordingly.

How To Get There

Unsurprisingly Heathrow has excellent road connections and is close to main UK motorways which will get you around the UK in next to no time (depending on traffic).

National Express run coaches from Heathrow all around the country including Victoria Station London.

London Underground runs to central London from Heathrow via the Piccadilly line and the journey takes around 45 minutes.

General Information

London Heathrow is inimitable as far as global transportation hubs go: no airport on the planet handles more international passengers. A popular gateway to Europe, Africa, Asia and North America, the airport is a mere 22 km west of Central London. In all, Heathrow covers well over 12 square km near the Borough of Hillingdon.

The massive and vital hub is under international consortium control, with ownership interests from such diverse locations as Spain, Québec and Singapore. A popular and easy target of derision with frequent flyers, imminent runway and terminal upgrades aim to correct perpetual criticisms about a notorious lack of logistical ease. With close to 70 million passengers a year however, Heathrow will forever be one of the world’s most infamous hives of activity. Thankfully, travellers in between flights have a bevy of distractions at their disposal in the airport, from spas and duty-free shops, to pubs and restaurants.

Dizzyingly busy, Heathrow Airport looks like a logistical nightmare but astonishingly manages to somehow run efficiently. Regarded by many as the veritable hub of the aviation world, Heathrow welcomes the highest number of international passengers through its four (soon to be five) terminals each year. Even without passengers, Heathrow employs a staggering 72,000 people who are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

From convenient fast food chains, perfect for the jet-lagged arrivals, to a Harrods and Hamleys Toy Store outlet to choice airport lounges which offer awe-inspiring views of the runways, Heathrow tries its best to cater to everyone. But its best selling point is that central London is a mere 20 minutes away, courtesy of the Gatwick Express. True, at Heathrow, you can end up spending quite some time waiting for your luggage - due to the sheer volume of passengers – but on the plus side, this does give you plenty of opportunity to people watch.

Visitors staying close to Heathrow Airport are within spitting distance of Her Majesty’s London pad, Windsor Castle, and the River Thames – which is just a punt upriver to glorious Hampton Court Palace and the Royal Borough of Richmond.

Attractions & Activities

  • Terminal 1
  • Terminal 3
  • Terminal 4
  • Terminal 5
  • Be Relax Spa
  • 4Deck Lounge
  • World Duty Free
  • Harrods
  • Glorious Britain

Restaurants & Nightlife

  • Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar
  • Gordon Ramsay Plane Food
  • Ponti’s
  • Café Rouge
  • The 5 Tuns
  • The Three Bells
  • The Globe Freehouse
  • Bar 5
  • Bridge Bar and Eating House
  • Crown Rivers


Heathrow Airport and London both share a temperate marine climate, with mild weather throughout the year.

  • Winter (December to February) 2-8°C
  • Spring (March to April) 4-13°C
  • Summer (May to September) 9-22°C
  • Fall (October to November) 5-15°C

Heathrow Airport Events

One simply cannot afford to miss a real equestrian highlight – the Royal Windsor Horse Show which takes place in Windsor Home Park – just a short distance from Heathrow. Even HRH herself has participated in the carriage driving at this May event.

If you are planning a stay close to Heathrow the Hampton Court Music Festival is well worth it. Legends only are invited to perform at this annual event in June.

Twickenham Carnival has a parade along the Riverside, plus live acts and food stalls at Orleans House Gallery during June. The borough of Twickenham is no distance from Heathrow.

More refined pursuits can be found at the Windsor Festival in September/October. Listen to chamber music, orchestral musicians and choirs at venues across Windsor – and Heathrow Airport is a mere stone’s throw away.

Show your strong sensitive side at Richmond upon Thames Literature Festival - mingle with film stars, political leaders, artists, authors and poets – all within easy reach of Heathrow Airport itself.

The London Borough of Hillingdon is home to Heathrow, and it hosts the Hayes Carnival – the locals show off their culture with parades, and local talent shows at this July event.

The Real Ale and Hog Roast Festival is held during August at the Royal Windsor Racecourse. No fake beers or pigs here.

The Windsor Festival is held annually in September, and easy to attend if you are staying at Heathrow airport.

Uxbridge High Street is also a local Heathrow Airport attraction – the borough which plays host to the Bigfest. If street performers are up your ‘street’, be sure to get down with the face painters, and no doubt mime artists. In October.

Watch a game of polo at Smith’s Lawn, Windsor Great Park during the months of April to September. Wear your best gear to this poshest of events.

When To Go

• UK weather is known for its unpredictability – and Heathrow is no exception to the rule. However Heathrow’s southern location means it gets its fair share of sunny days.

• Temperatures during the summer months average out at 20 °C, although things can get far hotter – up to 32 °C or more. In winter temperatures are around 3-4 °C, but can drop to below freezing during a cold snap.

• Rainfall can be expected at any time of year, from spring showers, to summer downpours to the damp and drizzle of autumn and winter. Make sure you take your waterproofs and a brolly.

Getting There

• Heathrow has excellent transport connections. The Heathrow Express runs a frequent service into London’s Paddington station – a journey which takes around 15 minutes.

• London Underground Piccadilly line runs from Heathrow into central London – a journey which generally takes around 45 minutes.

• National Express coaches travel to all major intercity destinations in the UK as well as to Victoria Coach Station in London.

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World's Best Airport Hotels

Hotels near Heathrow Airport

38 hotels near Heathrow Airport

1 Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow

4 stars
4.3 / 5 7 reviews

Heathrow Airport, Bath Road Map

The Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow is located just two kilometres from Heathrow airport and is close to transport connections into central London as well as being close to major business... More

2 Radisson Blu Edwardian, Heathrow

4 stars
4.3 / 5 19 reviews

140 Bath Road Map

The Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow Hotel is just a few minutes' drive from Heathrow International airport, and only 20 minutes by train into central London. The hotel also benefits from its close... More

3 Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel

4 stars
4.4 / 5 7 reviews

Bath Road Map

Combining contemporary decor and luxurious accommodation, this property creates an inviting ambience for you to enjoy, while visiting Heathrow. GeneralThis property offers well-equipped meeting... More

4 Holiday Inn LONDON - HEATHROW M4,JCT.4

4 stars
3.8 / 5 12 reviews

Sipson Road,Heathrow Airport, West Drayton Map

Combining convenience of location with quality services, the Holiday Inn London Heathrow M4 Jct 4 is an excellent choice for both business and pleasure. GeneralThe hotel offers a selection of 13... More


3 stars
4.1 / 5 9 reviews

118 Bath Road,Heathrow Airport, Hayes Map

Being an ideal place in the city of London, this hotel offers a warm welcome, pleasant ambience and convenient facilities to make your stay a memorable one. General For your business needs, the... More

ThePark Inn Hotel & Conference Centre London Heathrow is a stylish award winning hotel located minutes from one of the world's busiest airports - Heathrow International airport. The hotel is highly... More

7 London Heathrow Marriott Hotel

4 stars
4.3 / 5 3 reviews

Bath Road Map

The Marriott Hotel London Heathrow offers everything that you would desire, from smooth service to plush accommodation, for a completely satisfying and memorable holiday experience. GeneralThis... More

8 Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

Bath Road, West Drayton Map

The Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport welcomes its guest in close vicinity of the London Heathrow Airport. It is located only 5 minutes from the Airport. The hotel offers 230 rooms, some of... More

9 Arora Hotel Heathrow

4 stars
4.3 / 5 77 reviews

The Grove Map

Arora Hotel Heathrow offers comfortable accommodation and professional service to ensure guests' a relaxing stay. Its proximity to the terminals makes this hotel a right choice for the... More

10 Hilton London Heathrow Airport

4 stars
4.3 / 5 15 reviews

Terminal 4 Map

The Hilton Hotel Heathrow is the only Heathrow airport hotel to offer a covered walkway to Terminal 4, as well as a courtesy shuttle bus to Terminal 5 of the airport. The hotel is also convenient... More