The Ultimate Guide to Heathrow Airport: Make the Most of Your Layover

How to Spend a Layover at Heathrow Airport

Planning a trip through London? If you have a layover at Heathrow Airport, you're in luck! We've put together a guide with some great options for how to spend your time during a layover at Heathrow Airport. Let's dive in!

How to Spend a Layover at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, so if you're scheduled for a layover here then you're in for a treat. There are plenty of things to do, whether that be relaxing, exploring, shopping or catching up on work. There's something for everyone, and to make your life easier we've put together a list of all that is exciting at Heathrow Airport. 

The Ultimate Guide to Heathrow Airport: Make the Most of Your Layover
Explore the Airport

Heathrow has five terminals, covering an area of over 4.8 square miles. Each terminal has its own unique design and architecture, so simply wandering the airport and soaking in all that you can see is an activity on its own. Each terminal has its own shops, restaurants, and amenities. Take a walk around and see what catches your eye.


Heathrow Airport is one of the world's top shopping destinations, offering a wide range of luxury and high-street brands across its five terminals. If you have some time to kill, then why not treat yourself to some retail therapy? Indulge in a fabulous shopping experience where you're offered a diverse range of brands and products to suit every budget and taste.

Here are some tips and information for shopping at Heathrow:

Terminal Guide: Each of the five terminals has a different selection of shops and restaurants, so it's worth checking the terminal guide to see which terminal suits your preferences best.

Tax-Free Shopping: Heathrow offers tax-free shopping for non-EU residents, so make sure to bring your passport and boarding pass to take advantage of the savings.

Reserve & Collect: Many of the shops at Heathrow offer a reserve and collect service, allowing you to reserve items online and collect them at the airport.

Luxury Brands: Heathrow is home to a large number of luxury brands, including Burberry, Chanel, Hermes, and Prada. You can find these brands in the airport's luxury shopping area, The Collection.

Beauty Products: Heathrow has a great selection of beauty and cosmetics stores, including MAC, Jo Malone, and Dior, where you can purchase high-quality makeup, perfumes, and skincare products.

Technology and Gadgets: For tech enthusiasts, Heathrow has a variety of electronics stores, including Dixons Travel and Apple, where you can find the latest gadgets and accessories.

Heathrow Rewards: Heathrow Rewards is a loyalty program that lets you earn points on your airport shopping and dining, which you can then redeem for rewards, including discounts, experiences, and frequent flyer miles.

The Ultimate Guide to Heathrow Airport: Make the Most of Your Layover
Take a trip to Central London

Have you ever dreamt of laying eyes on the world-famous Big Ben, Tower Bridge or any other one of London's beautiful landmarks? Well you can tick this dream off with The Heathrow Express! If you have a few spare hours, then grab this train that'll take you from the airport to Paddington Station in central London in just 15-20 minutes. Trains run every 15 minutes, seven days a week, with additional services during peak travel times.

The Heathrow Express serves all terminals at Heathrow, with stations located near the airport's main terminal buildings. It's a fast, convenient, and comfortable way to travel to central London with free Wi-Fi onboard, as well as at-seat power sockets and refreshments for purchase.

Relax in a Lounge

If you're looking for a comfortable and luxurious experience before your flight, then it's worth looking into the airport lounges. Heathrow has several lounges where you can relax, and indulge in their wide range of facilities. The lounges at Heathrow are located across the airport's five terminals, with most of them situated near the departure gates.

There are a variety of lounges including airline lounges, independent lounges, and pay-per-use lounges. Some lounges are open to all passengers, while others are only for business or first-class travellers. 

The facilities available vary depending on the lounge, but they typically include comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, food and drink (including alcoholic beverages), shower facilities, and business amenities such as printers and fax machines.

Most lounges have a maximum stay limit, which is usually around three hours, but it's worth checking the specific lounge's policy before your visit.

Some may allow you to pre-book your visit online, which can guarantee your entry and save you time queuing at the lounge.

Eat and Drink 

Heathrow Airport has over 150 retail and dining outlets, making it a shopping and dining destination in its own right. You're spoilt for choice with Heathrow's great selection of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a meal or a drink. Whether you're looking for a quick snack or a sit-down meal, there's something for everyone.

Dining options are located throughout the airport's terminals, with a concentration of restaurants and bars in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. Many restaurants at Heathrow offer pre-flight dining options, allowing you to enjoy a meal or drink before your flight. Some restaurants also offer the option to pre-order your meal online, which can save you time and hassle at the airport.

There's a variety of cuisines from traditional British pub fare to sushi and Indian cuisine. Here are some of the options you can choose from:

Fast Food: There are several fast food options available at Heathrow, including familiar chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

Bars and pubs: Heathrow has a range of bars and pubs, offering everything from a quick drink to a leisurely pint or cocktail. Some bars also offer views of the runways, allowing you to watch the planes take off and land while you enjoy your drink.

Grab-and-go: If you're short on time, there are several grab-and-go options available at Heathrow, including coffee shops and sandwich bars.

Allergy and dietary requirements: Many restaurants at Heathrow offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, as well as dishes that cater to other dietary requirements. It's always a good idea to check with the restaurant staff if you have any concerns about allergens.

The Ultimate Guide to Heathrow Airport: Make the Most of Your Layover
Oggle at the Art Installations

The airport is home to a number of art installations, including the 'Slipstream' sculpture by Richard Wilson, which is suspended from the ceiling in Terminal 2. It plunges from the ceiling in a dramatic twist, then back-flips into the arrivals level before swooping up past the escalator towards departures. Let's just say that this aluminium serpent has left a big impression on Heathrow's 20 million visitors who pass beneath it every year! 


If you don't want to fork out on a whole lounge experience but have a long layover and need to grab a few winks, then there are several hotels at Heathrow where you can book a room for a few hours. Alternatively, you could find a quiet corner of the airport and take a nap.