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London Heathrow Layover

| January 3, 2016

Stuck on a London Heathrow layover at the Heathrow International airport? London’s Heathrow airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and is located roughly 15 miles from London’s city center, making it an accessible destination for those who are stuck on long London layovers. If you’re trying to decide whether you can leave the airport on your Heathrow layover, click here for useful tips.
London Heathrow Layover stopover

If you’re stuck inside the airport during your London layover, Heathrow provides a number of services and activities that can help your layover become a short vacation in itself. Here are some of the various shops and facilities available, listed by terminal, to keep you busy during your wait. To aid with shopping, passengers can hire Personal Shopping Consultants, who can be distinguished by their green uniforms (to book a shopping consultant, call 0870 850 2825 (UK) or +44 (0)121 410 5105). In addition to duty free and regular shopping, there are also many restaurants ranging from fine dining to quick snacks to choose from during your Heathrow layover. Here are the various bars and restaurants options at the airport.

A number of executive lounges are available at the Heathrow airport (at Terminal 1,3,4,5). The lounges offer a range of beers, complimentary Wi-Fi and other standard facilities. You can book these lounges from here. The price starts from £17.95. In case you need special care assistance, contact +44 (0)844 335 1801 for general advice and information.

The Molton Brown Travel Spa is located in British Airways Terminal 1 and Terminal 4 Departures Lounges at Heathrow Airport. The spa offers a variety of services including massages, hydrotherapy showers, circulation and reflex therapies, and is an ideal way to relax during your Heathrow layover.

If you are looking to exchange the currency, Foreign Exchanges and ATMs are available at all the terminals (click here for their locations). In addition, the airport has many prayer rooms available including Catholic, Free Church, Anglican, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh chaplains. They can all be contacted through the airport information desks within the terminals and you can find more information here.

For passengers who arrive at night or are looking to relax, the Hilton London Heathrow Airport hotel is located across the covered walkway linked to Terminal Four, and the Sofitel London Heathrow is also connected via a covered walkway to Terminal Five. In addition there are many hotels near the Heathrow airport, including these. For more hotels at varying price points in London, click here!

If you’re looking to ditch your luggage during your Heathrow layover, Left Luggage facilities are available at all the terminals. The Left Luggage service charges £4 per item for 24 hours. For their hours of operation and location, click here.

Stuck on an overnight London layover, and looking for things to do? Click here for London nighttime activities!

Taxis are available outside the airport for quick transport, and there are also car rental companies onsite. Direct booking can be found here. Heathrow airport is also well connected with public transportation. 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. Click here to figure out the best way to travel into the city during your London layover.

Layover Guide’s Suggestions Of Things To Do On A Heathrow Layover:

London layover tourLondon Tours

You can book a Layover Tour in London, that will pick you up straight from the airport and show you the city’s sites, and get you back to catch your connecting flight. In addition, there are dozens of London tours you can choose from including dinner and theater tickets, cultural and museum tours, landmarks, trips to Stonehenge and so much more!

London layover tourSightseeing Bus

Address: Paddington Station – Praed St, London W2, United Kingdom

Travel Time from London Heathrow: 22 minutes on the Heathrow Express

The hop-on, hop-off bus is a great way to catch a bunch of landmarks on a short layover. The bus tour gives a commentary of London’s sights as you pass them. Tickets can be purchased 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.

London Layover Heathrow

Windsor Castle

Address: Windsor and Maidenhead SL4 1NJ

Travel Time from London Heathrow: 21 minutes via car

A great option for a London layover is to take a taxi or bus 77 from Heathrow to Windsor Castle. The 900-year-old castle is an official residence of The Queen and the largest occupied castle in the world. There are also private Windsor layover tours from Heathrow.

London Heathrow Layover

Tower of London

AddressLondon EC3N 4AB

Travel Time from London Heathrow: 1 hour 2 minutes, via Heathrow Express and London Underground

At The Tower of London, you’ll find torture exhibits as well as the famous Crown Jewels which includes the First Star of Africa, the largest flawless cut diamond at 530 carats! Beefeaters, who are the walking tour guides, lead the hour-long tours every hour until 3:30p.m. This is a good option for a longer layover, since it will involve a decent amount of travel time.

London Layover StopoverBuckingham Palace

AddressLondon SW1A 1AA

Travel Time from London Heathrow: 54 minutes, via London Underground, Piccadilly Line

Another option for a long London layover is to visit Buckingham Palace, home to the British monarch. 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.

London stopover layoverWestminster Abbey and Big Ben

Address: Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA

Travel Time from London Heathrow: 45 minutes via Heathrow Express and London Underground, Circle Line

One of the most picturesque spots to visit during your London layover is the Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Exit the tube at the Westminster stop. You will first see Big Ben and further down the street Westminster Abbey, where Chaucer, Samuel Johnson, Tennyson, Browning, and Dickens are all buried here. 

London Heathrow layover

Churchill Cabinet War Rooms

Address: Clive Steps, King Charles St, London SW1A 2AQ

Travel Time from London Heathrow: 53 minutes via London Underground

Close to the Westminster Abbey, 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 all authentic. It’s located in a great area that will allow you to fit in a bunch of sightseeing spots during your layover.

London layover

Thorpe Park

Address: Staines Rd, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8PN

Travel Time from London Heathrow: 13 minutes via car, no traffic

Thorpe Park is London’s most popular attractions and theme parks. It opened as a water park in 1970 however more thrill rides were added later. The park is around 5.1 miles from the airport, great for kids, and close for a quick trip during a London layover.

None of these activities interest you? Here’s a list of more suggestions of places you can visit during London layover at the Heathrow airport.

Have a suggestion for a London Heathrow layover? Leave a comment below!

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Category: Europe, Featured, Heathrow, layover, Layover Guides, London, tours, United Kingdom

Comments (59)

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  1. Philippine Travel Guide says:

    I'm happy that Ive visited your blog about layover tips actually i can considered it a mini vacation itself
    thanks for the tips.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was recently stuck in Heathrow (24hrs)and went to Winsor 25 min really preety green town full character…fab day.Walked around in morning let lines to amazing casle die down visit at lunchtime (need good 2 hours)Then hired pushbike and cycled along Thames and over to Eton college .If you have been travelling for a while and need some openspaces and greenery way to go.

  3. anschel o Weiss says:

    I would like to utilize the executive lounge at Heathrow in terminal 5 during my layover on my return flight to Miami Florida{Feb 27-28]. How can I make this reservation? are the executive lounges open overnight?

    Thank you

  4. David says:

    Excuse the naive question, but all this information means its okay for me to leave the terminal? I’m an American. Do I need to get a visa or do anything special? I want to meet a friend who would come to visit me at the airport.

    • Abigale says:

      Hello David, no when traveling from the US you do not need a visa to leave the airport. I have done so many times, when you go to england from the us you can stay in the country without a visa for multiple months you do not need an esta like when traveling into the us from europ which then lasts 60 days. Europien countries are much easier if you are there for a Holiday. Meet your friends have a nice day in the city and enjoy yourself London is a great City even if i prefer the smaller towns all around.

      • Den says:

        Abigale, I think it’s worth noting that you are not required a visa ONLY if you are coming from the US on an American or other non-visa required passport. In other words, if you’re Chinese citizen traveling to London from the US on a Chinese passport you will need a visa to exit the airport.

  5. Lucy says:

    I have a 14 hour layover November 10 2012, any ideas where I could go and what to see and how much it would cost?

    • Rahul says:

      You may spend quality time at the airport itself as it has much to offer..

      Or else, if time permits and you do not need visa to leave the airport, you may go out to the city.. You may get the tube to visit London Eye, etc. and come back to the airport in 10 hours..

  6. saggi says:

    Does UK provide transit visa, i am an Indian passport holder and have a long layover (around 14 hours) in heathrow on my way to India from US

    • Rahul says:

      Yes, as per my knowledge there is a short visa of a few hours/ couple of days. You should check online for formalities though.

    • Lucy says:

      Are you going to Amritsar from Heathrow at 9:30pm (Air India)? I am on that flight and also have a 14 hour lay over. I’m looking for someone to go into London with me and take in the sights. Maybe we could hook up?

      • Lucy says:

        Sorry cancell that last message. I don’t even know what date you’re travelling!!!

      • rahul says:

        Is transit visa necessary to if i do not want to go outside. my case is same, 15 hour stay in london, and flight is next day

  7. elizabeth says:

    im flying from ktm nepal to u.s and i have layover at karachi pak airport for 12 hours.im u.s citizen but have no visa.is it possible for me to go and rest in hotel look around city….plz some1 can help me

  8. Adrian says:

    I have a twelve hour layover on 20sep. Was thinking of going gambling or a tour. Wondering if it is worth leaving the airport. Let me know what you think, up for an adventure.

  9. sid says:

    I have layover of 14 hours in London Heathrow airport on jan 11th on a flight from india to canada, am i allowed to spend the night inside the airport.

  10. Ash says:

    I will be travelling from US to India and I already have H1B visa stamped on my passport. Because of the long layover I am thinking of taking the London tour. Do I need transit visa to leave the airport?

  11. Ash says:

    needless to say, my layover is at Heathrow airport..

  12. srivi says:

    I have a layover of 5 30 hours and i want to meet a friend in heathrow airport.I am travelling from India to US.Is it possible for me to leave the terminal and meet ? or should i be taking any special permissions.

  13. Manasi says:

    My sister has a layover at heathrow for 3 hours and i want to meet her at the airport.
    i know she will have to go thru security again..do you think its feasible given the time (3 hrs)?
    Also will she need a visa to just come out of the secure area? she will not leave the airport. she has an Indian passport and she is travelling to San fransisco with a H1B visa.

    Thanks in advance!!!

  14. Paula says:

    I have a layover here for about 5 hours, and this is the first time I’ll be in Europe, so I want to explore a little bit. Is it plausible for me to leave the airport? What are some places I can go to that are close by?

    • Daniella says:

      If its only 5 hours that you have in total from landing to take off, then after going through customs and needing to be back for security, that probably leaves you with 2.5 hours max to sightsee. Although on our second trip we toured London with London Magical Tours, our guide pointed Windsor castle from the airport so that must be pretty close and could probably work best for you if you only have a few hours. If its your first time in London and with time being so limited, I would definitely recommend an organised layover tour to make the most of it. Just dont think of taking the subway into town if you only have a couple of hours, you’ll spend all the time traveling. We did on our first layover and ended up lost, it was a mess!

  15. Rosanie says:

    hello everyone!

    I am looking for a kind person who can share to me his/her ideas about my concern.

    I am a Filipino. I will be flying on Feb 5,2013 from Philippines to Nigeria in a connecting flight. my second layover will be in London Heathrow. I have a total layover of 18 hours from arrival to departure in the said airport.

    I was in London 2 years ago, i had student visa in UK before and stayed for a year there with clean visa record until i went back home.

    Is it possible that i go out from the airport and explore the places i miss in London and take some pictures of it so that I can enjoy my layover time? do i need to get any permits to do so?

    Looking forward for your reply on my post.

    Thank you so much!

    • StopoverTraveller says:

      No, you definately need a visa. Englad is very strict about this and does not even allow transit passengers via London without a visa. You should check this before leaving the Philipines.

  16. Basha says:

    Hi everyone! I have friend who has a layover of 8hours in heathrow airport, is it possible if I could meet and spend time with him there inside the airport?

  17. Sarah [email protected] says:

    Try this too – Heathrow Express offers up a 15 minute journey right into Paddington Station, so if you have a few hours, you can see a few sights in central London and then hop back on the train back to the airport in time to checkin for your flight.

  18. Brett says:

    Nine of us will be laid over in Heathrow for 8 hours. We’re all American citizens. Any advice for how to best utilize that time? Ideally, we’d like to leave the airport and see a few places. Thanks!

  19. Erin says:

    I have a one hour layover at Heathrow from the U.S. to Frankfurt. Will I make my connecting flight??

  20. Ammy says:


    My parents will be visiting me on Feb 27th.They have indian passport and visiting me on 10 year super visa for Canada. They have 12 hours lay over London airport. Can they go out to visit the city or do they need any special permission?

    Please advise?

  21. Ammy says:

    Sorry, forgot to mention.. my parents will be traveling from India to Toronto and lay over is in london.

  22. Moe says:

    Hello, im new to this website needing some info and advice.
    Im flying in from delhi going to canada with a 8 hour layover in heathrow. I am planning to meet up with someone, would it be better for me to leave the airport or for my friend to just come into the airport? Also will i have to pickup and re checkin my suitcases or will they get switched directly into my connecting flight because im planning to exit the airport with just my carry on and not my big suitcases?! Is 8 hour layover enough time to go visit london and what is the quickest mode of transportation. Thank you!

    • Richa says:

      Hello Moe,
      Did you go out from Heathrow ? I will be at the same situation like you and I want to go out too but I am worried if my checked in luggage will be switched directly or not.
      Waiting for reply. Thanks!

    • Laurie says:

      Just on our way back home, we had a 12 hour layover at London’s Heathrow and did the London Magical Tours layover trip. Appreciated the recommendation on here, it worked out great.

      Moe, we were also worried about our bags at first but were able to bring them with us. Our big bags have been sent straight to Dallas and we only had our carry ons. It definitely beat waiting at Terminal 2!

    • Pooja says:

      HI Moe,
      I am going from USA to Mumbai, and i have 10 hours layover in Heathrow. Can i go out to meet my friends with out any transit visa. i have us B1 business visa.

  23. samir says:

    Hi I have layover 12 hrs at heathrow on 21st march from Canada to India. I have indian passport and Canadian work visa. I want to meet my Sibling-in-law at the airport. Do I need visa? if yes then can I get that at the airport?

  24. pooja says:

    I am travelling from india to usa and has 8 hrs layover at london heathrow Airport in june 1st week.

    As first timer i do not know if i shud carry eatables for those 8 hours. Will i get veg eatables there? What options and how much cost range? Shud i get GBPs from Indian airport itself? Or exchange there?

    Any suggestions plz.

  25. Sameera says:

    Can any1 help me can I get transit visa for 3 days on London heathero airport I have Pakistani passport going to Toronto from Jeddah kea let me know plzzzz

  26. Salam alvi says:

    Can i get transit visa for 3 days at london heathero airport. I have Pakistani passport and travelling to vancouver BC Canada . Please guide

    • SB says:

      At Heathrow :

      More than 48 hours. Visitor Visa
      Less than 48 hours, and exiting the airport – May need a Visitor in Transit Visa

      Not exiting the airport – May need a DATV.

      Depending on whether you fulfil certain conditions, you may be exempted from having to get these visas.

      Check the rules at :

      But these are all rules.

      I am in the same spot, and I’ve read all these rules. But I don’t know what it will be like when I actually encounter the situation.

      Would anybody who has actually experienced a long or a long-ish layover at Heathrow without going through border controls, be willing to share his or her experience?

      (hundreds of thousands of people would have, and continue to do so .. it’s one of the busiest in the world, and probably no more than 20% of travellers to Heathrow would actually be entering the UK)

  27. Maged says:


    could you please advise, if I will have a stop-over in Heathrow during my trip from Sao Paulo to Madrid (without leaving the airport) no I need a transit visa? or shall I pass through passport control?


    • StopoverTraveller says:

      You definatily need a visa. I am assuming you have a Brazilian passport. The UK is not a Shengen member so a Shengen Visa for Spain would do you no good.

  28. darie says:

    we are flying from Philippines to Nice France. we have a layover at Heathrow London for 19 hrs. Can we get out from the airport and visit London proper? Do we still need a visa? And lastly do planes give free accomodarion for us to sleep since we will be arriving Heathrow at 9 in the evening and flying to france the following day at 4:00 pm.

    thank you

  29. Joseph says:

    Flying from South Africa to California via London Heathrow. I get into London in the morning and I have a 9.5 hour layover during which I am hoping go to the city center for an hour or two. When I land in London, do I go to international connections or directly to the customs station? Can I go to international connections first then change my mind and leave the airport, or will I no longer be able to access customs. I am an American passport holder.

  30. Zz says:

    I need to know on urgent basis, as my flight date is very near.
    I have a stay over at Heathrow of around 3.55 hours.
    And my friend is insistent that I meet and see close by places.
    Will I be able to pull this off. Even if my transport is available and I don’t have to use the public one.

    I’m travelling to Dallas with a 5year US visa of course. And have a Pakistani passport.

    Reply soon please.

    • Layover Guide Staff says:

      Under 4 hours is usually not recommended considering customs and immigration as well as security lines back into the airport.

      • Jagdeep says:

        I am going to canada from India . I have Canadian passport and 10 hours layover at London airport can I go outside the airport?

  31. Sai says:


    I am travelling from Mumbai to Detroit and I have a layover of 15 hours in London Heathrow Ariport arriving at 06:00 (18:00)hrs in the evening and have a connecting flight next day in the morning at 09:30 hrs. I will not be leaving from airport.

    However, I got to know that Heathrow airport gets closed (shuts down) at 11:00 (23:00 hrs) in the night and will gets reopened 04:00hrs in the morning.

    Will I be allowed to stay in the airport overnight or should I require transit visa for that.

    Can any one help me on this and throw some light so that I can make my travel comfortable.

  32. Lynette says:

    I have a 13 hour lay over at Heathrow airport.
    The times are not conducive for a hotel check-in but I would like to take a nap and freshen up before my flight.
    I get to Heathrow around 10am but my next flight is at 10pm the next day! Most hotels’ check in time is 2pm while check out time is noon! Where can I stay? Any suggestions please?

  33. Narayanan Nagarajan says:

    I have a 22 hour layover in London Heathrow airport on my travel from Chennai to Houston US and would like to stay overnight with my relative who is nearby. Should I apply for a visitor in transit visa or a Standard visitor visa? When I tried to fill up the online application for visitor in transit visa, the website says that such a visa is inapplicable if you want to visit friends or relatives. The website under beta testing. What is the correct position?

  34. Edward says:

    Im travelling from muscat to toronto and i have 3 hours lay over at heathrow airport, i just want to ask if i need transit visa? Thanks for your help.

  35. Sara says:

    It’s good that I’ve come across your site..
    I just want to ask if I need to apply for transit visa, my flight will be..
    Riyadh-Heathrow (3 hours layover) Heathrow-Amsterdam
    Thank you in advance!

  36. Rob says:

    This applies to day only and my sisters have tried and tested quite a few times

    You need 8 hours minimum and it is very simple if you use Picadilly tube both ways and leave luggage at the airport

    So assuming it in the day and the weather is OK – you need an hour to get out of Airport and 2 back in.
    then Get the tube for about 50 mins to Picaddily or Green Park where the queen lives.

    So 3 hours to see Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar square etc – Picaddilly – the Ritz – St Jameses PArk , have Breakfast in park – have a bloody Mary – etc. This is all close and 3 hours is loads. So you need to get the tube from Terminal to Green Park or picadilly, spend a few hours and go back. Leaving central London 3 hours before flight to be safe

    So –

    1 hour to land and get to tube station in terminal

    1 hour to get to Green Park/Piccadily * 5 min walk from Buckingham Palace.

    3 hours hanging out/tourism but stay waliking distance to Picadilly line – which is easy with west end tourism

    1 hout to get back from Green Park/Picaddilly to Terminal

    2 Hours to get plane from tube terminal stop

  37. Asad Ali says:

    Hi,my final destination is Dublin but my layover time at Heathrow airport is more than 10 hours.
    I have few friends n family members in London,I want to visit them.
    Do I need visa or permission from airport authorities to go outside ?

  38. Gurpreet Singh says:

    I am travelling from Delhi-LHR-Miami
    I have valid Visas of Canada and US
    I have stop over of 18 hours
    Do i need visitor in transit visa, if yes, whats advisable, getting visa on arrival or should i get it from India

  39. Lidiamaria Valdivia says:

    I am Nicaraguan and have a visa from US

    I have a long 22hour layover

    Do I need a visa to get out of the airport?

  40. Carolann Fleming says:


    Myself and my husband are travelling in August and have a stopover in London. We will arrive 10 a.m. and won’t be leaving until 9 am the next day. Therefore we figure it would be best to get a hotel near the airport as it would be easier for our flight the next day. We are looking for a hotel that is close to transportation so we can visit London, as I have never been there before. Any suggestions would be great.

    thank you
    Carol Ann