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5 hr layover at Heathrow - time enough to go to town?

5 hr layover at Heathrow - time enough to go to town?

Old Apr 3rd, 2010, 09:23 PM
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5 hr layover at Heathrow - time enough to go to town?

Traveling to Athens from USA we have a five hour layover at Heathrow and were wondering if there is a quick bus or underground to London? And if there is enough time to make it given all the gates to pass to and fro. Any suggestions?
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Old Apr 3rd, 2010, 10:08 PM
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No, it's not enough time to go anywhere significant.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2010, 10:27 PM
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the underground takes nearly an hour to central London and you wouldn't want to risk getting stuck in traffic...sorry I you can't really do anything
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Old Apr 3rd, 2010, 11:32 PM
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Nope - not really. What time do you land and what day of the week? That might make a bit of a difference. But the time you land is not the time you get to arrivals or get through immigration.

Say an hour deplaning and getting through immigration, 45-60mins to get anywhere interesting in London by public transport, 45-60 mins to get back to LHR and 1-2 hrs at LHR for security/check in. Doesn't leave you any time.

The closest place of interest is Windsor which is only about 20 mins by cab so you might have time to go there and walk around a bit.But wait until you actually get to LHR to decide -- if you land early then you can give it a shot. Otherwise, LHR has LOTS of shopping/restaurants
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 12:20 AM
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Unfortunately. What it doesn't have is some outdoors if you want to get some fresh air (or pollute it with smoking) or showers for a clean-up without having to pay for lounge access or being airside at T4.

I'd go for the Windsor option if only to clear your head
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 01:46 AM
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I wouldn't bother going anywhere. Grab a sit-down meal and wander the shops. For all of its faults, Heathrow at least has a fair number of shopping distractions and decent food choices.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 03:03 AM
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Personally I'd just settle for a bed and a shower for an hour or so - and someone to wake me up in time for my flight.

The shopping is overrated unless you are a fan of esoteric booze like 20 yr old OldSocks Malt Whisky or insist on macing everyone for miles around with Canal Number 5.

Having said that a Wetherspoons breakfast (aka heart attack on a plate) and a copy of The Sunday Times would make me a lot happier
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 03:09 AM
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I actually do a fair amount of shopping at airports. Toiletries, jewelry for the wife, luggage, bags, even the odd piece of clothing. Virtually all of my spirits come from the airport. On my last trip through Heathrow, I picked up a 27" iMac. The shopping in Heathrow T5 is especially good.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 09:22 AM
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Agreed travelgourmet - we just spent our 5 hour layover in Heathrow yesterday, Terminal 5. We had a fabulous lunch at Gordan Ramsay's Plane Food and then did some duty free shopping. No rushing, no stress
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 10:16 AM
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Heathrow is an OK airport to have a long layover. No, you don't have time to go anywhere. Because I allow 3 hours at least for any transfer, to be on the safe side. As mentioned there's public showers available for a small fee, good shopping, bars, restaurants, and *world class* people-watching at that airport.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 10:28 AM
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Yes of course you can go into London if you want to. And it's not particularly rare for people to fly to London, get the Heathrow Express (15 or 20 mins to Paddington: every 15 mins), have a 90-120 meeting at the Paddington Hilton or at one of the companies with head offices adjacent to Paddington, then go back to the airport and fly home. Just as they do at ATL or ORD.

In less than 5 hours between planes, I've gone into town, gone home, written and printed off a presentation, had a shower and change, repacked and gone back to the airport. Without any stress.

If you just want to get out of the airport air for a few hours, the canalside walks, and late Georgian canalside houses, round Paddington, or Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens 5 mins' walk away, offer far more pleasant choices for whiling away a couple of hours than the tedious - if extensive - Heathrow malls most sensible people would pay a small fortune to avoid.

The negative replies you're getting are from people who wouldn't themselves do it, and would rather assume you share their tastes than answer a simple question ("is there a quick tube" Answer: YES!!!)
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 10:31 AM
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No, the negative responses are because I've had it take two hours to be able to leave the airport from the landing time, let alone get anywhere.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 10:32 AM
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Absolutely true. A good part of the reason I wouldn't leave the airport is because I'm not at all familiar with the area, getting around on local public transportation, etc.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 11:30 AM
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90-120 minutes at Paddington is not my idea of fun.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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flanner - I think you underestimate just how long the wait times can be for non-EU citizens to clear passport control. During the peak North American arrival period, you can be looking at more than an hour, easily.

And, to be clear, I would consider heading into town, myself, but I also can use the Iris lane and clear passport control in no time, and have so many shiny elite cards that I can use the priority security lanes on the way back. But I recognize that a lot of folks don't have either convenience and I try to tailor my advice to the audience.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 03:46 PM
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I'd agree with the majority here - it's not enough time to safely and comfortably get anywhere decent and be sure to catch your on-going flight. Take the advice re decent places to eat and some shopping is what I'd say.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 05:38 PM
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You really don;t have time to leave the airport - unless your plane lands very early and you get through Immirgration in 10 minutes (my best time has been about 20 minutes and that was at 6:30 am). Don't forget that there may be very long security lines to board your ongoing flight.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 10:28 AM
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No - just get one of those "short-time" rooms nearby and go to sleep or get on the net.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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Thanks for all the advice. To be mlore specific, our flight arrives at 6:55 AM (perhaps immigration lines are not so long then??) and next one leaves at 11:50. We are not particularly interested in shopping, not into sleeping right off a plane. One of our group has never been to London and we are fairly adventurous. We thought even just an hour in Victoria Station area or Trafalgar Square or Westminister would be more fun than airport sitting. Is this doable, you folks who live there?
Appreciate the help.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 12:33 PM
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6:55 am is prime arrival time for overseas flights. It also puts you on the train at the beginnings of rush hour and puts you in London for a period when nothing will be open. I can't recommend bothering to go into London at that hour and for such a short time.
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