Heathrow Airport Mini Guide
Heathrow - What to Know Before you go
Due to its sheer size Heathrow can be likened to a small city, providing connections to over 180 destinations in more than 90 different countries . It houses its own internal transport system, has three on-site hotels and while it stops short of city status by not having a cathedral it can boast of its own chapel and multi faith prayer room. The airport is one of the few around the world to experience continued growth in passenger numbers, an over 5% increase last year, and that growth is expected to continue.
For business travellers with demanding schedules it’s quite possible to work in transit and prepare for those all important meetings as all the terminals offer up to the minute Wi-Fi facilities with business lounges also available. Many provide fax machines, PCs, printers and even meeting rooms.
Heathrow Airport is not just business friendly however, it offers excellent extras for families travelling with children. To keep the little (and not so little) ones amused while waiting you can head to the nearest children’s play area. With one in each terminal at Heathrow offering traditional children’s play equipment as well as modern fun in the form of the Nintendo Wii, waiting times should pass more quickly, not to mention painlessly. Heathrow also helps to ensure a smooth transition for families with the provision of family lanes to shorten the journey through security (and almost make it fun with the help of specially trained child friendly staff) and a Reserve and Collect Service for baby food and milk at the airport.
What’s the Best way to get There?
By bicycle, no, seriously, there is a network of cycle paths linking Heathrow to the city centre and parking for bicycles is free at the airport. Why not take the scenic route? The Grand Union Canal towpath may be followed for most of the 90 minute cycle to Paddington.
If you’re too much of a petrol head and the thought of all that fresh air frightens you, the more traditional method of driving there is also an option. Just 15 miles from the centre of London
it can be easily reached via motorway by taking either the M4 or M25.
With a journey time of just 15 minutes, the Heathrow Express train direct from London’s Paddington Station is by far the fastest way to get there. There is a full timetable available online. A slightly longer journey time, taking approximately 30 minutes but also reliable is the Heathrow connect bus service. The airport is also serviced by the National Express Bus Service which connects it to over 500 destinations countrywide.
If you're not too fond of public transport, privatise and grab a cab. When travelling in London an iconic black cab is a must try or if you prefer a little luxury why not book a personal chauffeur through Heathrow's Chauffeur Service. Further information for this vetted service is available directly from the airport's customer service or concierge help desk.
That Little Extra
Heathrow is a very traveller friendly airport though due to its huge size it can be a little daunting for infrequent travellers. Don’t fret however as help is at hand in the form of a fantastic airport concierge service. They will meet you on your arrival at the airport and escort you through to you departure, providing guidance and any assistance you may need.
If you find yourself with a long time to pass while waiting for a connection or if you just need to lie down, there are three onsite hotels at Heathrow - the luxury Sofitel London Heathrow, the well known Hilton at London Heathrow and a quirky favourite for many, the YOTEL. The YOTEL at Terminal 4 is a capsule hotel with just 32 cabins. Its Japanese inspired design and the fact that it’s bookable by the hour makes it a must try for a cat nap. A word of warning however if you don’t like small spaces it’s probably not for you.
If too much luggage is your only problem there is also a porter service at Heathrow. For a small fee your luggage will seemingly check itself in, leaving you free to relax, grab a coffee or shop till you drop, speaking of which.....
Can I Shop at Heathrow?
To say there are good shopping facilities at Heathrow would be an understatement. While shopping there you can tell you’re almost in Bond Street. From Bulgari to Burberry, you’ll find all your heart desires, including luxury scents and Gucci glasses, so for a proper dose of modern London’s unrivalled retail therapy, start there.
Worked up an Appetite?
Been all around the shops and feeling like a pick me up? Treat yourself to a freshly brewed cup of Arabica or a snuggle on a comfy sofa with a creamy hot chocolate and let the time roll by.
There are a wide range of coffee shops, cafes and international coffee houses available to choose from at Heathrow. All offer various snacks and pastries but if you prefer a full meal there are over 70 different eateries available offering a plethora of food choices from succulent fillet steak to a classic Big Mac so, whatever your personal tastes, you will find all (well almost all) can be met.
Do you Require Special Assistance?
At Heathrow the management aim to surpass the standards of legislation through the high levels of customer assistance offered at the airport. Courteous and exceptionally trained staff members are available to assist whatever your requirements. Customers are asked only to notify their airline of any special assistance, mobility or otherwise they may need at the time of booking. Be assured that when travelling to or from Heathrow Airport every effort will be made to accommodate your needs.
- Following the decision not to build a sixth terminal at Heathrow with an accompanying runway, plans are being considered for another London Airport in the Thames Estuary. Alternatives include extending Gatwick Airport and providing a high speed rail link to Heathrow making the combined airport a virtual hub.
- Recently Heathrow Airport announced record breaking passenger figures confirming its position as the world's third busiest airport. It was also voted as the world's best airport for shopping.