How to kill time at Heathrow?
November 4, 2006 5:51 PM   Subscribe

What can I do at London Heathrow in two hours?

Next weekend I'm doing a mileage run to London Heathrow. I'll have about two hours to spend in the terminal after I clear security.

Any neat stuff to see, good food, etc. at Heathrow terminal three?
posted by nathan_teske to Travel & Transportation around London, England (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
what airline?

if it's with american airlines: I hope you posted a challenge with it. the end of the year is coming up and gold status is just one or two europe-us trips away.

alas, many airlines will let you into their frequent flyer lounges for a nominal fee. with aa admirals club lounges it's fifty bucks. see what emirates or british airways will charge you. a two-hour layover isn't much anyway.
posted by krautland at 5:58 PM on November 4, 2006

There is a lot of shopping.
posted by k8t at 6:01 PM on November 4, 2006

Response by poster: krautland - United and this mileage run, plus another in December, plus an already planned trip to Hong Kong will put me well over 1K for the year. I'm already a Red Carpet Club member so I can get into any Star Alliance lounge. (I'm going to try to get a shower in at Singapore Airlines' lounge.)

That said, I really want to do something --- by the time I land in London, I'll have travelled close to 7700 miles in 18 hours (MSP-DEN-LAX-SFO-ORD-LHR). I don't want to sit, drink and snack.
posted by nathan_teske at 6:18 PM on November 4, 2006

Get a haircut?
posted by Eringatang at 6:32 PM on November 4, 2006

posted by allelopath at 6:36 PM on November 4, 2006

I hate to tell you this but there is no way you will make it into town and back from heathrow on such short notice. you could take the picadilly line for a couple of stops at best.

I'd suggest asking this question in the flyer talk forum. chances are a bunch of people have been in your situation a couple times themselves.

yoga sounds like a great thing after a long flight.
posted by krautland at 8:00 PM on November 4, 2006

Response by poster: I'm a FT'er... I wanted an opinion which is not embittered business travellers. And I know I can't make it into the on 3.5 hours; given what I've heard about LHR lately, there are times when you couldn't clear immigration and security in 3.5 hours.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:29 PM on November 4, 2006

Best answer: There's an observation gallery in T2 if you want some natural air and a bit of plane spotting - Alain de Botton turned me on to it.
posted by forallmankind at 8:47 PM on November 4, 2006

Best answer: I can't specifically remember the interior of terminal three, but I am pretty sure all the Heathrow terminals have tons of shops and restaurants you can wander around. I can easily spend 2 hours walking around Heathrow terminals, and usually end up having to run for my plane when it gets called. Lots to do, assuming you like to shop or window shop. Remember the no liquids rule though, don't buy duty free alcohol or perfumes because it will be confiscated (the airline will sell it to you anyway without warning you).
posted by Joh at 9:04 PM on November 4, 2006

Response by poster: Joh - that rule applies to items purchased airside?
posted by nathan_teske at 9:14 PM on November 4, 2006

Nathan, I assume it doesn't include liquids you buy during your return flight (since you don't get your mitts on the duty free til you lands back in the US). It does apply to any duty free you buy on the US City - LHR flight, or inside the terminal because you would have to pass through final boarding security with it at LHR. So buy it on the return flight and I think you are OK. A friend flew YVR - LHR, LHR - YVR recently and said there was a table groaning with confiscated duty free at LHR and lots of angry people.
posted by Joh at 9:26 PM on November 4, 2006

The last time I was in Heathrow, there was plenty to do. I had a three hour layover, and I ended up browsing. If I remember correctly, you end up in a giant holding pen with lots of other passengers with about 40 minutes to get to your gate (which could be farther than you'd like) before your plane is scheduled for takeoff.
Go browse a bookstore, just to see the difference between the US and the UK.
posted by lilithim at 12:45 AM on November 5, 2006

Great shopping. The Thomas Pink store in Heathrow has the lowest prices of any Pink store in the world. If you like nice dress shirts (or need holiday gifts) it might be worth it to stop by.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:10 AM on November 5, 2006

You could take a bus to Feltham, if you want to discover how truly shitty some bits of the UK are.

(I dislike the whole class-war anti-chav thing, but the place really is a pit.)

Or you could take a 30 minute bus ride (doubtless quicker by taxi) to the local nature reserve.
posted by Luddite at 6:26 AM on November 5, 2006

Enjoy a nice pint and a full English at one of the pubs in the terminal. Then buy some nice tea from Harrods and stop by the World of Whisky for- ah, crap, liquid restrictions. You're out of luck on that front.

I'm not a huge fan of Heathrow (having wasted way too many hours of my life there as a student with no money to spend), but two hours is really not a long time to spend. As has been mentioned, it's quite a big place. A leisurely walk through the place (with some window shopping) will take a good chunk out of your allocated time.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:35 AM on November 5, 2006

The Pink store is only in Terminal 4.
posted by k8t at 8:22 AM on November 5, 2006

there's a (small) chain restaurant called giraffe which does very good breakfasts and smoothies..
posted by ascullion at 8:46 AM on November 5, 2006

Building work has finally finished in T3, so there's a bunch of designer shops to browse through.
If you're Star Alliance, then the London lounge after security is not bad. Upstairs in the far corner, there is a quiet area with loungers for a nap and a quiet read of the book you bought. Showers etc. are available.
If you don't have lounge access, then T3 is a nightmare as there's too many people and not enough seats.
I wouldn't recommend leaving the security area for only 2 hours as the queues are still long, especially if you don't have Fast Track line access.
There is a Thomas Pink in T3, check out the BAA site for details.
posted by arcticseal at 9:07 AM on November 5, 2006

I think I'm speaking of terminal 1, but I could be mistaken. It's the main BA terminal. I'd never pass that way and miss a slice of "Chocolate Godess" chocolate cake from Pret a Manger (a sandwich/coffee shop chain). Also, we usually depart with some DVDs from one of the shops (Virgin, I think) where they usually have nicely discounted selections.
posted by Goofyy at 7:23 AM on November 6, 2006

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