Time to kill in London

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
May 22, 2019
5
8
3
71
#1
We have a daytime 10.5 hour layover at Heathrow on our way to Africa this Fall. Anyone have a suggestion as to what we might do? (We've seen all the major sites in London on a previous trip)
 
Sep 12, 2015
29
73
13
59
#5
Personally, I’d rethink the idea of leaving the airport.

It’ll take you 3.5 hours to deplane, get to/through passport control, collect your luggage, find the Left Luggage shop to store your bags, and then take the HeathrowExpress (about $50US Roundtrip) or the Piccadilly line (about $5US) into Central London.

You’ll need to leave Central London 4 hours before your flight to Africa (60 minutes to get to Heathrow, 30 minutes to retrieve your bags from Left Luggage, 30 minutes to check-in, 60 minutes to get through passport control and security, and then 60 minutes waiting at the gate).

So you’ll spend 7.5 hours in transit – assuming there are no delays on the transit to/from Central London – which would be a miracle in the Autumn, when everything often comes to a grinding halt whenever there are leaves on the tracks!

And if your trip is in November -- after the currently-scheduled Brexit Day (Oct 31st) -- all bets are off as to how much time you’ll need to get through security in and out of Heathrow.
 
Dec 19, 2014
395
729
93
47
#7
I have experienced the exact same scenario. Morning arrival into LGW, evening flight out of LGW. I stayed in the airport. 10 hours may seem like a lot of time, but over half of that time will be lost in transit, and that's if everything works well.
 
Likes: AMA

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,397
8,503
113
San Francisco
#10
So many good ideas. What you do with ten hours depends on your energy level. If deplaned at Heathrow from SFO, I'd not care about sightseeing. I'd get a day room at the Terminal 4 Hilton, easy walk with a lovely trolley that you can't steer ... but it wakes you up. Use the indoor pool, read, relax, shower and have a bite. OR, hop on the Hotel Hoppa to the CrownePlaza, get a day room, do the same with their (much better) pool. THIRD, store your luggage, get a taxi out to Windsor and spend a few hours walking around this charming little village. Stand on the sidewalk and hope the Queen drives by on her way to a State Dinner. I'd hate to stay at the airport that long before another long flight, even in a nice lounge (unless it's Virgin's Clubhouse, I could spend a week there). In 20 years, I don't remember it ever taking more than an hour from deplaning to steppIng out the terminal door ... even tho the walk from the plane to bag claim is about a mile, and a very brisk walk it is.
 
Oct 11, 2018
12
15
3
56
#11
I think the idea of going to Windsor is a good one. It's relatively close to Heathrow, and if you're never seen Windsor Castle, it's definitely worth the trip, and Windsor itself a nice place to spend a few hours, being easily reached by taxi.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,397
8,503
113
San Francisco
#14
I would not make any nonrefundable plans as your plane into LHR might be late. A substantial delay can really cut into the time that you have.
Yes, be sure you make Plan B and Plan C. There are "left luggage" stations in both Terminals 3 and 4, and I assume at the others as well, so that's convenient. Do not lose track of the time! If you go out to Windsor, be sure you know how to arrange a taxi back ... they "book" in England ahead of time, and the taxi driver wants to know the postal code of your destination. I said "Heathrow? You don't know where the Heathrow Hilton is? I don't have a postal code, I'm a tourist." Interesting folks, these Brits.
 
Likes: ADM
Nov 21, 2014
94
130
33
#15
On both of our Africa trips, we checked our luggage all the way through to our destination, in spite of up to 11 hour connections. If you’re on one PNR, luggage storage won’t be an issue! I love shopping in LHR...so never occurred to me to leave the airport. Lounge + shopping = a busy day!
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
1,145
1,441
113
#17
But what about customs? If you're flying from the US and your first point of arrival is London, even if you're going on to somewhere else, don't you have to reclaim your luggage in London and go through Customs there?

On both of our Africa trips, we checked our luggage all the way through to our destination, in spite of up to 11 hour connections. If you’re on one PNR, luggage storage won’t be an issue! I love shopping in LHR...so never occurred to me to leave the airport. Lounge + shopping = a busy day!
 
Jul 3, 2019
2
3
3
69
#19
Take the tube into London (Picadilly Circus) and then do a Hop-on_hop-off bus tour. I did that with kids when we had a 12 hour layover at Heathrow.
 
Nov 21, 2014
94
130
33
#20
But what about customs? If you're flying from the US and your first point of arrival is London, even if you're going on to somewhere else, don't you have to reclaim your luggage in London and go through Customs there?
If you are transiting through LHR, you don’t pick up your luggage or go through customs. You just head to your terminal/gate. Every time you change terminals though, you get to go through security. So you do allow for bus rides between terminals and then security again! It does take time. You will see your luggage and go through customs at your final destination.
 
Likes: AMA