Tripadvisor 5* Rated

March 13, 2024

Destination: London


In this article

Things to Do Near London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is situated close to London and even closer to some outer London attractions, which makes it a great place for a layover, unlike some international airport which are in the middle of nowhere!

Central London is a short 25 minute train journey via the Heathrow Connect to London Paddington, so there is plenty of opportunity to tick off a few major sites before returning to the airport. You’ll need at least an entire day to do this without worrying about time.

If you only have a few hours spare, then staying closer to the airport still offers several surprising gems for you to explore during your layover. Public transport via bus is the best option in and around the airport perimeter as the tube network will carry you further afield.

So, if you’re just looking to pass the time and stretch your legs, we have a few options closer to the airport.

Can I Leave Heathrow During a Layover?

You can absolutely leave Heathrow airport during a layover. But how far you can venture will depend on how much time you have before your connecting flight.

London Heathrow road with British Airways 747 flying overhead
Perimeter road by Heathrow Airport with British Airways 747 flying overhead. Image: Shutterstock, Travers Lewis

What to Do Near Heathrow Airport 

1. Spot Planes at the Official Viewing Stand

If you know your Airbus A380s from your Boeing 777s then Heathrow Airport has a diverse mix of planes to spot for enthusiasts and photographers. Or perhaps you’re just in awe of the planes up close and how they manage to get off the ground! As one of the world’s busiest airports you’ll have no trouble spotting from the ground. There’s an official viewing stand outside the Heathrow Academy building just off the perimeter road. You can catch a bus there directly from the airport. 

2. Have a Meal at the Aviator Bar & Restaurant

Or for a more relaxing way to plane spot, why not head to the Aviator Bar and Restaurant at the Thistle Hotel? As you may guess from the name, this buzzy eatery overlooks the runway and offers fantastic views of the planes and airport whilst having a quick bite to eat or refreshment.

For added fun, if you arrive at Heathrow Terminal 5 you can use the futuristic Heathrow Pod system to transport you to the Thistle Hotel from the airport. The Pods are an electronic monorail system with driverless pods that move from the airport to the hotel in a very convenient 5-minute journey time. 

Address: Aviator Bar & Restaurant, Thistle London Heathrow Terminal 5 Hotel, Bath Rd, London UB7 0EQ; 020 7523 5056;

3. Relax in the Sofitel Spa

Feeling the need to unwind with a little pampering post-flight? Head straight to the Sofitel for a five-star spa experience. The hotel is connected to Heathrow Terminal 5 via a covered walkway. With treatments starting at just 30 minutes, you’ll have plenty of time to rejuvenate yourself ready for your onward travels.  

Address: Sofitel London Heathrow, Terminal 5 london heathrow airport, London TW6 2GD, 20 8757 7777;

4. Play a Round of Golf at Wyke Green or Stockley Park

There are two golf courses near Heathrow Airport: Wyke Green Golf Club and Stockley Park Golf Club. Both welcome visitors so it’s the perfect gentle activity post-flight. 

Be sure to call ahead to book a tee time so you can maximize your layover. If you haven’t got time for a full round of golf, then Stockley Park has its own driving range to practice those swings.

Address: The Clubhouse – Stockley Park, Hayes, Uxbridge UB11 1AQ; 020 8813 5700;
Address: Wyke Green Golf Club, Syon Ln, Isleworth TW7 5PT; 020 8560 8777;

5. See the Animals at Hounslow Urban Farm

If you’re travelling with children, then you’ll most certainly want to get away from the airport for a few hours. Hounslow Urban Farm is a great thing to do with kids just outside Heathrow Airport’s perimeter.  

The farm offers the chance to see some animals from alpacas and cattle to sheep and donkeys as well as smaller fluffy bunnies and guinea pigs. 

Address: Hounslow Urban Farm, Faggs Road, Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 0LZ; 0208 831 9658;

6. Stretch Your Legs at Hobbledown Heath

Hobbledown Heath offers a huge indoor adventure playground as well as plenty of outdoor fun. So, you can certainly let your little ones run free after being cooped up onboard a plane for hours. 

Address: Staines Rd, Hounslow TW14 0HH; 020 3885 0074;

7. Stroll in the Gardens at Osterley House

The National Trust’s Osterley Park & House is just a stone’s throw away from London Heathrow Airport. Accessible via London Underground tube or taxi from the airport you will be transported into the tranquility of the grand 18th-century gardens.

Explore the historic house that can be traced to the Tudor era. At just under 4 miles from the airport this piece of history sits amongst the urban neighborhoods, and you can be back at the airport in less than 15 minutes, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the serenity that Osterley House and Gardens offers.  

Address: Osterley Park & House, Jersey Rd, Isleworth TW7 4RB; 020 8232 5050;

8. Marvel at the Magna Carta

To the west of the airport and just 9 miles via taxi is the Magna Carter landmark. Set amongst the National Trust grounds of Runnymede and Ankerwycke is the site of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215.

There’s also delightful ancient woodland, nature trails, and a cozy tearoom to have your first taste of a fine English tea with scones.  

Address: Runnymede and Ankerwycke, Windsor Road, near Old Windsor, Surrey, SL4 2JL; 01784 432891;

Long walk leading to Windsor Castle. Image: Shutterstock, Mistervlad

9. Visit Windsor Castle

And saving the best thing to do of all till last… The most notable nearby historic landmark – at a mere 16 minutes via taxi or a 45-minute direct bus journey from Heathrow Terminal 5 – is Windsor Castle.

Still used by the British Royal Family, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Depending on time you may be able to squeeze in a quick tour (pre-booking required) but fear not, if your time is precious, there’s plenty to marvel at on the outside. The old, cobbled streets of Windsor also make for a fantastic amble whilst passing the time before heading back to the airport.

Address: Windsor Castle, Windsor SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom; 0303 123 7334;

If you have a longer layover and would like to explore the famous sights in central London, then have a look at our suggested London layover walking and cycling tour 

Equally if you’re keen to find your way around Britain via public transport then check out our handy guide.   

Experienced by


Content Marketing Manager

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

England Tours

Scroll to Top

Enquiry Form