How to spend time at Heathrow during long layover

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Jun 19th, 2007, 10:44 AM
  #1
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How to spend time at Heathrow during long layover

Upon more careful calculation, I discovered we have a 9 1/2 hour (instead of 7 hour) layover between flights at Heathrow on Monday (almost here). Thought we would just hang out instead of trying to find and get to a "day room." Two meals would take up some of the time, etc. Unless suggested otherwise, my question is --- what does one do during that time at the airport. Are there special places to go that are better than others, what do people do (read, sleep, etc.)? We will be changing terminals (Virgin Atlantic to Kenya Airways). Is it even practical to find a room and have to go thru all the hassles of going and coming from the airport, etc.? And how expensive are the rooms? Our return trip has only about 4 hours layover (assuming everything is on time).
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Jun 19th, 2007, 11:01 AM
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why not store your bags and head into London? Fresh air, stretch your legs, see some sights, have lunch etc. The regular tube takes about an hour and the express about 15 minutes. I've done this on both my layovers and enjoyed getting out.
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Jun 19th, 2007, 12:57 PM
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There are special quiet places where you can sleep. They even have chaise-lounge type chairs. Almost all the seats anywhere in the airport allow you to stretch out, whether in the quiet or loud areas.

There are free carts and you can put your things in them and push them around on a little stroll. The shops are numerous and lovely if that interests you. I once met Jane Goodall in Heathrow, but you can't count on that bit of excitement.

You can catch up on your reading or practice your Swahili or Twsana or Zulu if you have a little phrasebook or if you copied the last couple of pages from a travel guide.

I have gotten a dayroom in the past but have since decided to save the money and just remain in the airport, resting up from the previous flight and getting ready for the next overnight one.

If you don't take Matnikstym's suggestion and head out, at least it appears you'll have a companion to keep you company.

If you're departing tomorrow, you could look for me in Terminal 1.
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Jun 19th, 2007, 02:59 PM
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Thanks for the info ---- I just don't think we want to try it into London although are tempted. We have been to London and don't want the hassle for just a few hours.

Atravelynn --- sorry we will miss you by a few days! Thanks for the info. how do you find the lounges with the chaise lounges? Can you tell me - once you go thru security at the second terminal - are you limited to things at that terminal, I'm guessing. Just looking for any tricks to help us along. thanks and hope you have a fantastic trip.
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Jun 19th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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what terminal do you arrive in, and what terminal do you leave from (very much makes a difference to what I recommend!)

However there's basically not enough to do in any of the terminals for 9.5 hours. How about leaving, and getting a taxi to Hampton Court? It's only about a 20 minute drive from Heathrow, and you can go and explore a fabulous old palace (the gardens will be looking spectacular at the moment). Really really worth seeing!
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Jun 19th, 2007, 03:15 PM
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Amen re Hampton Court. very enjoyable.

Kevin from California
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Jun 19th, 2007, 03:30 PM
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Virgin Atlantic flights arrive at T3 and Kenya Airways flights depart from T4.
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Jun 19th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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There;s nothing to do at T3 arrivals to my knowledge. T4 has some shopping and if you can blag your way into the BA lounge, they've got a really nice Molton Brown spa (which is where I plan on spending my waiting time in T4 on Monday!) Seriously recommend getting out of the airport though, and exploring the area. With 9.5 hours, you need to take off 2 for checking back in, and about 1 (max), for getting out, which leaves 6.5 hours to go and see Hampton etc. If you do want to explore, but Hampton Court's not your fancy, let me know and I'll think of other nearby places.
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Jun 19th, 2007, 06:52 PM
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I'm glad someone asked this question as I will have a similar (10 hour) layover in Heathrow while enroute to South Africa for our honeymoon. We thought of leaving the airport and either getting a room to catch some zzzs or exploring the London area. Is it difficult leaving and then coming back into the airport? I'm assuming that we will have to go through customs. We are just concerned that there may be some problems getting back into our gate since we are not scheduled to actually "visit" England and are just there for a connecting flight. We might just find a quiet,comfortable area of the airport and stretch out and relax there.
Any comments/suggestions?
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Jun 19th, 2007, 07:39 PM
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cheetahlover- no problem at all leaving and returning the airport. the immigration person will ask you how long you are staying in the U.K., you say just for the day, he stamps your passport and off you go. when coming back in, stand in the line, show them your passport, you're all set.
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Jun 20th, 2007, 04:46 AM
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Patty - thanks for the terminal info - I just haven't had time to look up the info. Anyone know how far apart the terminals T3 and T4 are. So - if you leave the airport where do you store your carry-on? For instance do you go on to the departure terminal and store there (and is there a place to store it, lockers, etc.) and then leave and return from that terminal?
Also - are taxi's readily available for the return to the airport? I'll look up info on Hampton Court. DD
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Jun 20th, 2007, 05:07 AM
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dd,

An alternative to Hampton Court is Windsor, quite close to Heathrow.

This question has been asked on the Europe Board. You can get details by searching there for: Heathrow layover.

Not sure about luggage storage at T4, but it is some distance from the other terminals.

CW
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Jun 20th, 2007, 05:31 AM
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Don't know about luggage storage at any of the terminals, but could you not check your bags straight through? Or if not, check in as soon as you land, so that you can get rid of your bags.
T3 and T4 are several miles apart - there's a connecting train (the Heathrow Express) which is free between the terminals, runds every 15 mins, and takes about 1 minute.
When you transfer between terminals, you have to go through immigration customs etc, so staff their are very used to it. Once you go back through security, you are limited to that terminal though.
Windsor's another nice place, and you should easily be able to get taxis from either. If you're worried though, you could book a mini-cab to meet you at a specific time to take you back to Heathrow.
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Jun 20th, 2007, 05:54 AM
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great info --- thanks everyone - keep it coming - just in case something else catches my eye. We have been to Windsor and a couple other palaces around London/Scotland - all very similar but different in their own way. We will probably decide what do to once we are there - if the flights are on time, etc. Time will probably go by fast after going thru customs and then having to get to the other terminal. If we leave, I note we would need to be back 3 hours before the next flight, etc. The storage of bags question was for our carry-ons --- the essentials that we are not checking but too heavy (13 lbs) to lug around if we went sight-seeing. DD
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Jun 20th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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You can store your carry ons at the "Left Luggage Area":

Terminal 4's Left Luggage area is on the extreme left hand side of the street level Arrivals area. Open 05:30 - 23:00. £4 per item per 24 hours.

On my last trip I took the underground to Kew Gardens. This is a very large botantical garden and it is much closer than going all the way into the city. Was nice to be able to walk around outside after an overnight flight and I avoided dealing with rush hour packed trains on my return trip to the airport.
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Jun 20th, 2007, 06:14 AM
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I agree with those who suggest leaving the airport. We had 6 hours between flights last year which were brutal. We thought we'd be able to entertain ourselves with the shops and a meal, but we found it a less than pleasant experience between 2 very long flights.
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Jun 20th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Kew's a great suggestion! It's a huge botanical gardens with fantastic hot houses. You could easily spend a whole day there.
DOn't bother with three hours early - you on'y really need to be there 1.5 hours before your flight
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Jun 20th, 2007, 07:06 AM
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I love Kew (and it's gorgeous this time of year). Infact I spent the day there this Sunday gone.

If you do decide to come into central London (depending on what time you're there) and want to meet a fellow Fodorite for dinner, let me know. I'm working up in Watford during the day...

Though, in fairness, I think the Kew idea is probably a better option for you!
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Jun 20th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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Depending on the weather (its been raining on and off here), you might want to remain indoors and the British Museum or the Natural History Museum might be good alternatives and are on the Piccadilly line which come in straight from Heathrow in case you decide not to use the Heathrow Express.
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Jun 20th, 2007, 08:03 AM
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If you want a fantastic lunch get a taxi to Bray (its a village about 20-30 mins from airport depending on traffic). It has one of the best restuarants in England (Fat Duck - though hard to get reservations) and a gourmet pub also owned by chef Heston Blumenthal (cant remember name but if you google bray you will find it)
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