London Heathrow is responsible for connecting the majority of flights in Europe. It’s a busy airport, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit and wait during a layover. Even with a short amount of time, there are plenty of things you can do in the city. Whether you want to soak up some of the culture, do some sightseeing or get some authentic food, we’ve got the stops you should make. Store your luggage in London and then pick a place to visit from our list.
Visit Trafalgar Square/The National Gallery
It’s simple to find the historic Trafalgar Square. Simply hop on the tube train and exit at Piccadilly Circus. From here, it’s a brisk walk toward Leicester Square. When you arrive at the square, you will make a right. Stop and enjoy one of the many bakeries on-site and take some time to browse the area.
At this same location, you can explore the National Gallery. This world-renowned art museum has over 2,000 paintings from the creators you adore. You can marvel at the works of Money, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
Feel Like Royalty at the Windsor Castle
Everyone loves the Royal Family, so why not incorporate a visit during your layover? It’s actually one of the closest tourist attractions near the airport. By car, it will only take you about twenty minutes to arrive. Depending on how long you have, you might also consider taking a Windsor layover tour hosted by Heathrow.
Learn History at the British Museum
Want something free to do? The British Museum is open to anyone and displays over eight million artifacts. Occasionally, there are special exhibits on display that help you to learn even more about human history in the region.
Visit the Palace of Westminster
Flights that arrive on a Saturday offer a unique opportunity. You can explore the Palace of Westminster while Parliament isn’t sitting. Enjoy a guided tour to learn more and have some afternoon tea after the excursion. You can sit on the Thames, below the clock tower of Big Ben and soak in the ambiance.
Ride the London Eye
Whatever your age, there’s a child inside waiting to get out. The London Eye is majestic and something that must be experienced once. You can view the city from a unique vantage point with your entire family. If you can, try to plan the trip at night, when the city is lit up.
At 443 feet in the air, there’s nothing you won’t be able to see. As Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, it’s become a popular attraction, so plan accordingly. Each air-conditioned capsule will hold up to 25 occupants, so drag the entire gang along for a ride.
As you time the visit, remember that one loop in the London Eye will take thirty minutes. Don’t miss your layover due to your sightseeing.
Walk One of the London Parks
Do you feel the need for some fresh air? You can get out some of that energy that’s pent up by visiting a local park. St. James Park is found near the British Parliament and by Buckingham Palace. It’s a great place for an afternoon stroll.
Another location to consider is Hyde Park. This green space includes the famous Speakers Corner. At this spot, you will see free speech at its best. You might even learn something new. If you choose to share your thoughts, make sure you keep it free of obscenities; all content must be family-friendly.
In addition, the Kensington Roof Gardens offer a Hanging Gardens of Babylon experience. On-site, you will find seventy trees, an English Woodland garden and a stocked stream. It’s the largest rooftop garden found in Europe. While the gardens are free to visit, the location is often booked for private parties, so check before you make the trip over.
Grab a Bite to Eat
It doesn’t matter where you are during your sightseeing; you are sure to find authentic cuisine to try out. Consider tasting sticky toffee pudding, fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding or beef wellington during your visit.
Explore the London Transport Museum
If you are traveling with kids, you will want to visit the London Transport Museum. Before you visit luggage storage and get back on a flight, stop at the LT Museum to learn the history of local transit. This museum covers the happenings from the previous two hundred years.
This museum is also free and a great way to let kids get out that extra energy. In fact, the Covent Garden is also on-site, which is fun to visit, even in the rain. This site is covered and protected from the elements for year-round enjoyment.
Once your adventures have ended, you will wish you had more time. However, the memories you made during this London layover are sure to last forever.