London Heathrow Airport Guide

london heathrow airport guide

In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our London Heathrow Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of some airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!

The terminal remained at full brightness all night, so no night-time cosiness, and there were quite a few people working, fixing stuff, etc. - Mo.Si

Airport Overview

london heathrow terminal 3
Terminal 3, Gate 3. Photo credit: Caro

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, here is a quick run-down of what travellers have reported to us during their time at London Heathrow Airport.

What to Expect

  • The airport has four active terminals: T2, T3, T4, and T5. T2 is brand new, and T3 will soon be demolished with remaining carriers moved to T2. Airport shuttles connect the terminals on Landside.
  • This is a large, spread out airport with a lot of travellers milling about around the clock. The facilities and amenities are generally very good, but some travellers report getting confused with the layout or security procedures.
  • Airport staff are generally tolerant of overnight travellers trying to sleep, but may have different protocol depending which terminal you’re in.
  • Each terminal has one 24-hour Landside cafe. See Food & Drinks in the airport guide below.
  • Free WiFi is available. See WiFi in the airport guide below.

Where to Sleep

  • T2 has plenty of seating available, though not much privacy and the lights tend to stay brightly lit.
  • In T3 it sounds like security will round up overnight travellers and take them to one area for the night. Airside, there are reports of lounge style seating and rest zones.
  • In T4, stay Landside for best sleeping options - Airside may close at night. Travellers report being able to stay inside the 24-hour cafe if they bought something.
  • In T5, head to Gate A8 - there are couches behind the disabled bathrooms (Traveller, June 2016).
  • All terminals are very busy during the day, but get a bit quieter at night.
  • For uninterrupted sleep, there are sleep cabins in Terminal 4, hotels connected to Terminals 4 and 5 and many nearby hotels. See Airport Hotels in the airport guide below.

Good to Know

  • Economy class travelers can buy a pass and relax in several airport lounges; showers are available in some. See Airport Lounges in the airport guide below for locations and rates.

For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our London Heathrow Airport Guide. Consider sending us your London Heathrow Airport tips to help us keep this information up to date.


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London Heathrow Airport Information

In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.

Airport Lounges

If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at London Heathrow airport either by purchasing a lounge pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):

» Buy a Lounge Pass

Terminal 2

  • Plaza Premium Lounge (Arrivals) - Location: Terminal 2, Landside, Level 1, Arrivals Hall. Showers are available (from £15). Hours: 5:00AM - 10:00PM (Daily). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (£25 - 1 hour • £35 - 2 hours) • Book Online (£40 - up to 3 hours or £56 - up to 6 hours) • Priority Pass.
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (Arrivals) - Location: Terminal 2, Arrivals Hall. Showers are available. Lounge Access: Book Online ($25.00/$50.00) • Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Membership.
  • United Club - Location: Terminal 2, Airside, opposite Gate B46. Showers are available. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 59.00) • United Club Membership.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge - Location: Terminal 2A (Departure Level), Airside, Level 4. Showers and private relaxation rooms with beds are available at extra charge. Hours: Hours: 5:00AM - 11:00PM (Daily). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (£35 - 2 hours • £56 - 5 hours • £68 - 10 hours) • Book Online (£35 - up to 3 hours or £56 - up to 6 hours) • Priority Pass.
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - Location: Terminal 2B - Queen’s Terminal, Airside. Lounge Access: Book Online ($25.00/$50.00) • Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Membership.

Terminal 3

  • Swissport Lounge - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, near Lounge F. Hours: 5:45AM - 10:15PM (Daily). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door • Book Online (£16.99) • Priority Pass.
  • No. 1 Heathrow - Location: Terminal 3, airside, near gates 13-22. Showers and private rooms with beds are available at extra charge. Hours: 4:30AM - 11:30PM (Daily). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (£40) • Book Online (£36) • Priority Pass.
  • American Airlines Admiral's Club - Location: Terminal 3, Airside on the Departure level, Lounge area H. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 50.00) • American Airlines Admiral's Club Membership.

Terminal 4

  • Plaza Premium Lounge - Location: Terminal 4, Airside, 1st Floor, near Gate 1. Private resting suites are available. Showers are available (from £15). Hours: 5:00AM - 10:30PM (Daily). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (£35 - 2 hours • £55 - 5 hours • £68 - 10 hours) • Book Online (£35.00 - up to 3 hours or £55 - up to 6 hours) • Priority Pass.
  • SkyTeam Lounge - Location: Terminal 4, Airside, Departure Hall, opposite Gate 10. Showers are available. Hours: 5:00AM - 10:00PM (Daily). Lounge Access: Book Online (£29.00) • Priority Pass.

Terminal 5

  • Aspire Lounge and Spa - Location: Terminal 5, Airside, near Gate A18. Showers are available ($). Hours: 5:00AM - 10:30PM (Lounge) • 7:00AM - 8:00PM (Spa). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door • Book Online (£35 - up to 3 hours or £55 - up to 6 hours) • Priority Pass.

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free unlimited WiFi is available at London Heathrow Airport. If you register for the airport's free Heathrow Rewards program, you will receive faster WiFi.

Additionally, there are free computer desks with broadband access in every terminal, operated by Arqiva.

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Airport Hotels

If sleeping in London Heathrow Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels inside Terminals 4 and 5 as well as other nearby airport hotels:

  • Sofitel - Direct access to Terminal 5 via covered walkway, and free transfers to the other terminals. Day rooms are available from 9:00AM to 6:00PM.
  • Hilton Hotel - Direct access to Terminal 4 via covered walkway.
  • Yotel - Cube-style rooms located inside Terminal 4 (landside) near Arrivals on the Mezzanine Level. Day rooms/hourly rate from 4-24 hours are offered. Transit (airside) passengers will need valid entry into the UK in order to stay at this Yotel.
  • Renaissance Hotel - Located by Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Airport shuttle bus available for GBP 4.50 per person (roundtrip).
  • EasyHotel Heathrow - A budget hotel located 10 minutes from Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and 15 minutes from Terminals 4 and 5. Transfers are not available. Average taxi fare is £10 and £15 or take the Heathrow Hoppa Bus from Terminal 3.
  • Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport - (5 min from the airport) Free airport shuttle
  • Plaza Premium Lounge & No. 1 Heathrow - both of these lounges have private napping areas with beds. Packages start at 3 hours. Rates for the napping rooms at the Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 2A and Terminal 4 are: Single Rooms - £60 (3 hours) • £100 (6 hours) • £20 (each additional hour). Double Rooms - £90 (3 hours) • £150 (6 hours) • £30 (each additional hour).

To find a cheap room, here is a list of hotels near Heathrow Airport that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things to Do at the Airport

  • Art Gallery - Location: Terminal 5, Landside, near Premium Check-in counters
  • ATMs / Cash Machines - Cash machines are located landside and airside in all terminals.
  • Baby Care - Boots Drugstore is located Airside and offers pre-order service for baby milk, simply place your order 5 days before your travel and pick up post security, freeing up space in your hand luggage for other essentials.
  • Baggage Trolleys - Available for Free.
  • Children's Play Areas - In addition to the family lounge in Terminal 3, families with small children can use the Stay & Play areas in Terminal 1 (Airside, near Caffè Nero and Dixons), Terminal 4 (Airside, on the way to Gates 1-6) and Terminal 5A (Airside, near Gate A7).
  • Duty Free and Shopping - World Duty Free has 15 locations throughout every terminal, most are open for all flight times. In addition, there is no shortage of shops for every time of shopping requirement. The locations of M&S Simply Foods in T2 and T3 are open for all flights.
  • Family Lounge - The family lounge has play areas for children aged 0-2 and 3-9, game zone for for the 10-15 year olds, as well as a children's quiet room. Location: Terminal 3, Airside, near the Ted Baker Store. Hours: 6:00AM - 9:00PM. There may be a time limit during busy times. Rate: Free.
  • Food & Drinks - There are many food concessions throughout the terminals. Below you will find the 24 hour food options at Heathrow airport.
    • Terminal 2 - Landside: Costa Coffee (Before Security)
    • Terminal 3 - Landside: Costa Coffee (Before Security)
    • Terminal 4 - Landside: Caffe Nero
    • Terminal 5 - Landside: Costa Coffee (Arrivals)
  • Information Desks - Locations: Terminal 1 (Landside, Arrivals, near car rentals / Hours: 6:00AM - 11:00PM) • Terminal 3 (Landside, Check-in Area, Zone D / Hours: 7:00AM - 9:30PM) • Terminal 4 (Landside, Arrivals, near taxi desk / Hours: 5:30AM - 10:30PM) • Terminal 5 (Landside, Arrivals). During off hours, use the courtesy phones to ask for help.
  • Luggage storage / Lockers - Rates per item: £6 (up to 2 hours) • £11 (2-24 hours) • £18.50 (24-48 hours) • £26 (48-72 hours). Maximum storage time is 90 days. There are no lockers.
    • Terminal 2 - Arrivals, next to lifts for Heathrow Express. Hours: 5:00AM - 11:00PM.
    • Terminal 3 - Arrivals. Hours: 5:00AM - 11:00PM.
    • Terminal 4 - Arrivals and Mezzanine levels. Hours: 5:30AM - 11:00PM.
    • Terminal 5 - Arrivals near UK arrivals. Hours: 5.00AM - 11:00PM.
  • Mobile Charging - Free Power Pole charging stations are available before and after security in all Heathrow terminals. Use them to charge up to eight electronic devices. They are compatible with UK and European plugs as well as USB cables. 
  • Prayer Rooms - St. George's Chapel - There is a chapel located between Terminals 1 and 3. It is underground, so you need you descend the stairs. Hours: 07:30-20:00 The prayer room is located street level. There are other prayer rooms located in the terminals, but you have to stumble upon them or ask the Information Desk where they are located.
  • Observation Areas - The best spots to watch the action on the runway are the following:
    Terminal 4 - The AMT, Costa Coffee and many of the gate seating areas. At Gates 15 and 16, there is a 270-degree panoramic view of the Southern Runway and is equipped with binoculars and touch screens to track flights.
    Terminal 5 - Almost everywhere. The Gordon Ramsay Plane Food and wagamama offer particularly good vantage points.
  • Pharmacy - Boots has locations in all terminals, before and after security. Ther locations in Terminals 1 and 5 dispense medications.
  • Showers - Locations: Terminal 2 (Landside, Plaza Premium Lounge) • Terminal 2 (Airside, Plaza Premium Lounge) • Terminal 3 (Airside, No. 1 Traveller Lounge) • Terminal 4 (Airside, Plaza Premium Lounge) • Terminal 5 (Airside, Aspire Lounge and Spa) See also Airport Lounges above.
  • Smoking Areas - There are no designated smoking areas once you get past security. if you are in transit, smoking is not permitted during the connection process. You will have to exit the terminal and pass through security control to return to the departure lounge.

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Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours.

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

Bus and Coach

Heathrow Airport has a central bus station, open 24 hours and located just a short walking distance from Terminals 2 and 3. The Travel Centre, open from 6:00AM - 10:30PM, sells bus tickets, a dedicated National Express desk, an Information Desk, a news stand and a cafe. Ticket vending machines located in the bus station are available 24 hours a day. Some buses and coaches make stops at Terminals 4 and 5 as well, but a free shuttle service is available for those who need to reach the central bus station from Terminals 4 and 5. Here are some notable bus and coach services:

National Express serves London Heathrow with over 69 direct bus routes, connecting the airport with Victoria Coach Station in London, London’s other airports and areas all over the UK. National Express bus stops are located at the central bus station near Terminals 1 and 3, stops 13 and 14 on Arrivals Level outside of Terminal 4 and stops 10 - 16 on Arrivals Level outside of Terminal 5. Tickets can be purchased over the phone, via mobile app, from the National Express travel shops located in the central bus station or any of the airport terminals, the “British Hotel Reservation Centre” at the airport or onboard from the bus driver (only cash accepted onboard).

The Heathrow Hoppa bus transports travellers to or from Heathrow-area hotels for only £4.50 per passenger. This low-cost service, offered by National Express, transports passengers between Heathrow Terminals 2 - 5 and one of 27 select hotels in the area. As with tickets for other National Express services, tickets for the Heathrow Hoppa can be purchased over the phone, via mobile app, from the National Express travel shops located in the central bus station or any of the airport terminals, the “British Hotel Reservation Centre” at the airport or onboard from the bus driver (only cash accepted onboard).

easyBus offers frequent and direct low-cost transfers between the central bus station and Shepherd’s Bush in central London. Tickets can be booked in advance online or purchased onboard from the bus driver if seats are still available.

Oxford Bus provides a frequent daily service between the airport and Oxford. Buses stop at central bus station and Terminal 5, and are wheelchair-accessible.

RailAir, National Express, and Greenline services connect to rail stations in Reading, Watford Junction and Woking, respectively. Local bus routes 285 and 490 connect to Feltham rail station.

Local buses travel between the airport’s central bus station and West London. These buses are cash-free, and only accept Oyster card, Visitor Oyster card, contactless payment card or Day Travelcard. Children aged 5 - 18 are eligible for free or discounted fares. For more information on routes, schedules and fares, visit the Transport for London website.

Car Rentals

The following car rental agencies have desks in the Arrivals Hall at Heathrow: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.

Inter-Terminal Shuttle

Heathrow's terminals are connected by trains and buses. To move between Terminals 1 and 3, you can walk.

Taxi

Fully-licensed London black taxis are available at the taxi ranks located outside of each airport terminal.

Underground/Tube

Trains on the Piccadilly Line can get to Heathrow in under an hour from central London. Wait time is alway ten minutes or less, even during off-peak times. Heathrow has one Underground station just a few minutes walk between Terminals 2 and 3, and one station each in the basements of Terminals 4 and 5. A single ticket to central London (Zone 1) is £5.70. Discounted travel is available with a convenient and rechargeable Oyster Card. Tickets and cards can be purchased at any Underground station. For fares, schedules and further information, visit the Transport for London website.

Train

The Heathrow Express transports passengers between the airport and Paddington Station in 15 minutes. Trains depart every 15 minutes between 5:10AM - 11:25PM from Paddington (5:03AM - 11:58PM from Heathrow). Tickets are sold online, at the station or onboard the train. For current fares and information, visit the Heathrow Express website.

The Heathrow Connect provides a slower train service than the Heathrow Express, stopping at several stations in West London on the way to and from Paddington Station. Heathrow Connect trains depart every 30 minutes and take between 31 to 49 minutes travel time in one direction. For fares and schedules, visit the Heathrow Connect website.

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Quick Tips

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Last Updated: 26 April 2016

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please email us at guides@sleepinginairports.com.

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