London layovers in Heathrow and Gatwick are common stopovers for many travelers, and sometimes it can be a lengthy stay. Instead of spending half a day in the airport, there’s tons to do and see in London that can keep you greatly entertained. However, keep in mind that Heathrow is a big airport, with two security check points, so you want to leave yourself with more than enough time to make your connection.
For the full Layover Guide To Heathrow, CLICK HERE.
While taking the London Underground is the cheapest way to get into London, it can take up to an hour each way. If you’re strapped for time, the London Heathrow Express train can get you into London for as little as 15 minutes. The trip from Gatwick on the London Gatwick Express will take 30 minutes trip and runs every 15 minutes.
When you get into London, if you’re planning on taking the tube around for the day, look into buying the Oyster Card, which for a small fee will get you unlimited rides on the tube, buses, and riverboat discounts.
If you want the sightseeing to start straight from the airport, the London Magical Tours will pick you up from either Heathrow or Gatwick, and offers three and seven hour-tours of London starting at $60.
For more London layover tours that will pick you up directly from the airport, click here.
The hop-on, hop-off bus gives a commentary of the sights as you pass them. Tickets can be purchased right on the bus or online. You can “hop on” at Paddington station, and “hop off” wherever you choose. It swings back around to Paddington, if that’s all the time you have, to get back to the airport.
Tower of London
At The Tower of London, you’ll find torture exhibits as well as the famous Crown Jewels which including 530 carat Star at the Jewel House. Beefeaters, who are the walking tour guides, lead the hour-long tours every hour until 3:30p.m.
Buckingham Palace, home to the British monarch, is another favorite sightseeing spot for those with only a short time in London. Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner are the closest Tube stations. Also, you can catch the changing of the guard, but should check ahead for the schedule as it does not happen every day.
Westminster Abbey and Big Ben
Cabinet War Rooms
Close to the Abby, you can see the actual underground bunker Winston Churchill used during World War II. Everything there from the wall maps, to Churchill’s cot are authentic.
Take a taxi or bus 77 from Heathrow to Windsor Castle in about 40 minutes. The 900-year-old castle is an official residence of The Queen and the largest occupied castle in the world.