We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. How do I get from one terminal to the next? What are the best airport restaurants? Is there anything to do if I have a long layover?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to the world’s top airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Heathrow Airport (LHR).
About Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport is undeniably one of the world’s busiest, most important airports, seeing a record 78 million passengers in 2017. Those 78 million passengers were distributed across 4 terminals on more than 80 airlines serving 204 destinations in 85 countries. Of the 4 terminals, Terminal 2 and 3 are within a short walk of one another, while 4 and 5 are served by complimentary trains and buses.
Heathrow lies 15 miles (24 km) west of London, and is accessible via the Heathrow Express, which is the fastest transfer between Central London (Paddington) and Heathrow. Nonetheless, the airport is also accessible via the London Underground, Heathrow Connect, National Express coach, and of course taxi. If you need to rent a car, you’ll find car rental desks in each of the four terminals at LHR.
As one of the world’s busiest airports, Heathrow has a variety of restaurants to accommodate its international travelers. This includes restaurants like Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food (Terminal 5) and a number of pub-style restaurants, including The Market Gardener (Terminal 3, Arrivals), Prince of Wales (Terminal 4), The Flying Chariot (Terminal 2, before security), and The George (Terminal 5, before security). Other more proper sit-down restaurants include Caviar House & Prunier (location in every terminal), La Salle (Terminal 2), Oriel French Restaurant and Bar (Terminal 3 & 4), Strada (Terminal 3), Huxleys (Terminal 5), and The Gorgeous Kitchen (Terminal 2). For something quicker, consider Wagamama (Terminal 5) for noodles and rice dishes, EAT (Terminal 2 & 3) for sandwiches and salads, and Wondertree (Terminal 2) for a fast casual restaurant that also has a gluten-free menu.
As alluded to above, Heathrow has a number of classic pubs where you can belly up to the bar for a drink. This includes Prince of Wales and The George, both of which have a full drink menu, as well as custom craft cocktails. The Prince of Wales also has an exclusive house ale and a gin and tonic menu. Other good pubs for a drink include The Crown Rivers and Huxleys, both of which are located in Terminal 5 after security. One of Heathrow’s newest bars is The Curator, located in Terminal 3, which has an extensive drink menu, including custom craft cocktails. For Heathrow’s version of “drinks with a view,” head to The Flying Chariot, encompassing two floors and with its own runway views.
Like most international airports of its size, Heathrow has a plethora of shops. This ranges from familiar luxury brands like Gucci, Michael Kors, BVLGARI, and Tiffany & Company, to toy and entertainment shops like Hamleys, Paddington Bear, and The Harry Potter Shop. Another shop of note is World of Whiskies, featuring hundreds of different whiskies from around the world. Unique to Heathrow is the T5 Gallery, which is one of the first permanent art galleries of its kind to be situated in an international airport. Finally, if you have at least a couple hours to spare, pop over to the Sofitel London Heathrow, connected to Terminal 5, to enjoy the hotel’s spa. Alternatively, if you want to ditch your luggage for a few hours to travel into London, there are left luggage/baggage storage facilities in each terminal.
As one of the busiest airports in the world, Heathrow also has one of the highest number of airport lounges. This includes Plaza Premium Lounges in each terminal, Club Aspire Lounge in Terminal 3, Aspire in Terminal 5, and SkyTeam Lounge in Terminal 4. Plus, there are a number of airline lounges, including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and British Airways, which has several lounges since Heathrow is the primary hub for the airline.
Use TripIt’s interactive airport maps to discover shop, restaurant, and bar locations. You’ll also have everything you need to navigate your way with estimated walk times and step-by-step directions.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he’s not traveling, he’s perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.