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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.
  • Terminals 2, 4 and 5 offer 24-hour Landside cafes. See Food & Drinks in the airport guide below.
  • WiFi is available. See WiFi information in the airport guide below.

Where to Sleep

  • Non-EU overnight sleepers located landside will be sent to T3.
  • 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, as of July 2017, Costa Coffee (landside) was being refurbished, and comfy seating airside is now gone.
  • 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. Send us your airport tips to help us keep this information up to date.

» Read All London Heathrow Airport Reviews Write a Review

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

Pay-per-use, Single Visit Passes & Lounge Memberships

Regardless of what class of service you are flying, there are lounges that you can enter by paying at the door, purchasing a lounge pass or through a lounge membership program (ie. Priority Pass). Visit the individual lounge page for more details about the lounge itself and to also find out how you can gain lounge access with just an economy class ticket!

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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:

  • Inside AirportPlaza 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).
  • Inside Airport YOTELAIR - Cube-style rooms located inside Terminal 4 (landside) near Arrivals on the Mezzanine Level. Day rooms/hourly rates from 4-24 hours are offered (4 hours in a standard cabin is £37.50). Transit (airside) passengers will need valid entry into the UK in order to stay at this YotelAir. » Check Rates
  • At Airport 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. » Check Rates
  • At Airport Hilton Hotel - Direct access to Terminal 4 via covered walkway. » Check Rates
  • Renaissance Hotel - Located by Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Airport shuttle bus available for GBP 4.50 per person (roundtrip). » Check Rates
  • 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. » Check Rates
  • Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport - (5 minutes from the airport) Free TFL public buses. » Check Rates

To see more options there is a list of hotels near Heathrow Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price, distance, traveller rating and popularity.

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free unlimited WiFi is available at London Heathrow Airport. Connect to the “ _Heathrow Wi-Fi” network. 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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More Services, Facilities & Things to Do at the Airport

  • Art Gallery - Location: Terminal 5, Landside, near Premium Check-in counters.
  • ATMs / Cash Machines - Need cash? ATMs are available. Fees may apply, so be sure to check your bank’s fee schedule and your daily withdrawal limit if you are travelling internationally. You may also want to notify your bank of your travel plans. Locations: Landside and Airside in all terminals.
  • Baby Care Facilities - Boots Drugstore is located Airside (in all Terminals) and offers pre-order service for baby milk, simply place your order 2 days before your travel and pick up post security, freeing up space in your hand luggage for other essentials. Baby change facilities are available in most washrooms, both Landside and Airside.
  • Baggage Trolleys - Need a hand with your luggage? Baggage trolleys are available free of charge.
  • Children's Play Area - Fun and colorful Stay & Play areas offer slides, climbing toys, and activities for children up to age 9 years old. Locations: T2A, airside, Departures lounge, Gate 16 • T4, airside, Departures lounge, Gates 1- 6 • T5A, airside, Departures lounge, Gate A7. Hours: 6:00AM - 9:00PM. T3 has a Family Lounge, with separate play areas for toddlers and bigger children, and a game zone for older kids. There’s also a quiet room for kids, vending machines, and a room for nursing mothers. Entry is free. Location: Airside, near the Ted Baker store. Follow the signs for Lounge A. Hours: 6:00AM - 9:00PM.
  • Currency Exchange - Travelex offers currency exchange services in all Terminals. The airport suggests you use the order-online and pick-up service. Location: unknown. Hours: unknown.
  • Duty Free and Shopping - World Duty Free has 17 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 T5 are open according to flight schedules.
  • 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 4 - Landside: Caffe Nero
    »   Terminal 5 - Landside: Costa Coffee (Arrivals)
  • Hair Salon - Bradley Smith Hair Express Bar offers a range of hair and beauty services for both men and women. Location: T5, Arrivals. Hours: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (Mon-Fri) 9:00AM - 6:00PM (Sat) 9:00AM - 4:00PM (Sun).
  • Information Desks - Available in all Terminals. During off hours, use the courtesy phones to ask for help. Airport Ambassadors area also available to help. Look for the purple uniforms.
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers - Rates per item: £7.50 (up to 3 hours) • £12.50 (3-24 hours) • £20 (24-48 hours) • £27.50 (48-72 hours). Maximum storage time is 90 days. There are no lockers. Hours: 5:00AM - 11:00PM.
    »   Terminal 2 - Arrivals, next to lifts for Heathrow Express.
    »   Terminal 3 - Arrivals.
    »   Terminal 4 - Arrivals and Mezzanine levels.
    »   Terminal 5 - Arrivals near UK arrivals.
  • Luggage Wrapping - Excess Baggage Company offers luggage wrapping for £12.50 per bag. Excess baggage kiosks are located landside in the Check-In and Arrivals areas of all terminals. Hours vary per location.
  • 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. 
  • Pharmacy - Boots has 12 locations across all terminals, before and after security. The locations in Terminals 1 and 5 dispense medications. The Terminal 5, Landside location offers travel vaccinations as well malaria prevention treatments (Hours:5:30AM - 10:00PM Daily).
  • Post Office - Location: T3, landside, Departures, 1st Floor. Hours: 9:00AM - 5:30PM (Mon-Sat) 9:00AM - 1:00PM (Sun).
  • 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 2 - From the Wondertree in the Departure Lounge.
    »   Terminal 3 - Views are available from most of the departure gates and are especially nice from the No. 1 Traveller Lounge.
    »   Terminal 4 - 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 - Views are available from most of the departure gates. The Gordon Ramsay Plane Food and wagamama offer particularly good vantage points.
  • Pharmacy - Boots has 12 locations across all terminals, before and after security. The locations in Terminal 5 dispenses medications.
  • Postal Services - The airport post office is located in Terminal 3, Landside. Hours: 9:00AM - 5:30PM (Mon - Sat) and 9:00AM - 1:00PM (Sun). Stamps are also sold at WHSmith stores and coin operated stamp machines throughout all terminals.
  • Prayer Rooms - Multifaith prayer rooms are available in all Terminal as follows:
    »   Terminal 2 - departures (after security), near Gate A21 • 2B (after security), between Gates B34 and B35
    »   Terminal 3 - departures, Level 1 (before security)
    »   Terminal 4 - check-in Zone G (before security) • mezzanine floor (before security), near Yotel • departures (after security), near Gates 3 and 4
    »   Terminal 5 - check-in Zone A (before security) • departures (after security), near Gate A8 • T5B (after security), near Gate B34 • T5C (after security), near Gate C52
  • Rest Zones - The airport offers rest zones with reclining chairs in several terminals. Terminal 3 has a dedicated rest zone with sofas, lounges, snack machines and more. Location: Terminal 3, Airside, Gate 24/25.
  • Showers - Showers are available for a fee in the lounges listed below. For more information, see Airport Lounges above.
    »   Terminal 2 - Plaza Premium Lounge, landside, Arrivals • Plaza Premium Lounge, airside, Departures lounge.
    »   Terminal 3 - No. 1 Traveller Lounge, airside, Departures lounge • Plaza Premium Lounge, arrivals, landside • Regus Express Business Lounge, landside, check-in area.
    »   Terminal 4 - Plaza Premium Lounge, airside, Departures lounge • Plaza Premium Lounge, arrivals, landside.
    »   Terminal 5 - Aspire Lounge & Spa, airside, Departures lounge.
  • 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.
  • Spa Services - Available. Be Relax Spa (Terminal 5, Airside. Hours: 8:00AM - 10:00PM Daily) • No. 1 Lounges* (Terminal 3, Airside. Hours: open for all flights) • Plaza Premium Lounges (4 locations offer spa services, see lounge section above for more details). * If you spend more than £25 on treatments at the No. 1 Lounge you are entitled to use the shower facilities.
  • Water Stations - The airport has over 100 water fountains, both Landside and Airside, so you can refill your water bottles.

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Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours. However, each terminal operates different hours for its airside (secure zone) areas. A reader let us know that the airside area of Terminal 2 is closed from approx. 11:00PM - 4:00AM. We do not have the hours for the other terminals. If you know, send an email to guides@sleepinginairports.com.

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Layover Sightseeing

Do you have a long layover? With the proper documentation and a long enough layover, you may have time to leave the airport and do some sightseeing. Here are a few London Heathrow Airport Layover Sightseeing ideas. As this is a new page, if you have a suggestion for other layover sightseeing options, send a tip to editor@sleepinginairports.com and we will add it to the list.

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As of March 2018, London Heathrow airport is served by the following airlines: British Airways • Flybe • Etihad Airways • Ethiopian Airlines • Air India • Air Algerie • Royal Jordanian • KLM • Turkmenistan Airlines • Air Astana • Iberia • Aegean Airlines • Delta • Virgin Atlantic • Air New Zealand • Gulf Air • Azerbaijan Airlines • Royal Brunei Airlines • EVA Air • Thai Airways • Vueling • Air China • MEA • Aer Lingus • Air Serbia • Eurowings • Avianca • Brussels Airlines • Tarom • EgyptAir • Air Canada • Royal Air Maroc • Hainan Airlines • American Airlines • United Airlines • Germanwings • SriLankan Airlines • Jet Airways • Biman Bangladesh Airlines • Qantas • Emirates • Lufthansa • Swiss • China Southern • Vietnam Airlines • Finnair • Cathay Pacific • PIA • Turkish Airlines • Garuda Indonesia • Saudia • South African Airlines • Malaysia Airlines • Kuwait Airlines • TAP Portugal • Philippines Airlines • Aeromexico • Alitalia • Aeroflot • Oman Air • SAS • Beijing Capital Airlines • Icelandair • Croatia Airlines • Asiana Airlines.

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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:

  • Coaches - National Express, megabus.com and other operators run services from Heathrow to more than 500 destinations.
  • Local Buses - An extensive bus network operates around Heathrow and to destinations in west London and the Thames Valley.
  • Buses to rail stations - Luxury coaches and buses connect Heathrow with the national rail network at Feltham, Watford, Woking and Reading.
  • Hotel Buses - Direct bus services operate between Heathrow terminals and a large number of hotels near the airport.
  • Group travel by coach - If you're dropping off or collecting a group from Heathrow, this step-by-step guide will help you and your customers enjoy stress-free travel.

To plan your route, visit the London Heathrow Airport 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.


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


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. For fares, schedules and further information, visit the Transport for London website.


The Heathrow Express transports passengers between the airport and Paddington Station in 15 minutes. Trains depart every 15 minutes. 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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Last Updated: 02 May 2018

This guide is for informational purposes only to assist with your planning and is subject to change at any time. The information in this airport guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airports, lounges, hotels, transportation providers and their web sites. We are not representatives of any of the above mentioned service providers. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please contact us .