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12 Hour London Layover w/ Airport Change


My husband and I have a 12 hour layover in London (arriving at 7AM, departing at 7PM) but just realized we will be flying into Heathrow and out of Stansted. We wanted to book the long layover so we had time to explore the city since none of us have ever been there, but now are trying to figure out if/how we can do this since we also have to switch airports before departing. We will likely have one big suitcase that will be checked and then each of us will have a carry on bag. Also to note, I will be 26 weeks pregnant at this time and while likely incredibly active (I am 20 weeks today and running ~30 miles a week), think it may be something important to callout.

Any tips on what we should do? I want to make the most of our time since its such a long layover, but not sure how we can do this in the most efficient manner.


Posted by
6544 posts

Just wanting to point out that you dont really have twelve hours. If your arriving flight is on time, it could take a couple of hours to disembark, get luggage, clear immigration and customs, then find your transport to the city - train, bus, taxi, or tube. Then at least an hour to get to the city. Look for a place to store your luggage. Then the time for transport to Stansted to arrive 2+ hours to check in before your departure. You may only have time for one sight. Most of the places you'd be likely to want to see, are not next door to each other, so justing getting from one place to another in the city eats up a lot of time. So does standing in line for tickets or security.

Posted by
1294 posts

If I were to do this i would probably get to London Liverpool Street rail station. It has a left luggage facility where you can store you bags until you leave for the airport.

The station also is where you can catch the Stansted express to the airport.

Working backwards for a 7pm flight two hours for check in and security and about an hour for the train means you want to be on the train about 4pm. Factor in a wait to pick up your bag so maybe 3:15 or 3:30.

So with a 7am arrival at LHR you have time to grab lunch and one major site. Perhaps also a quick minor site too if it’s nearby.

If your trip is after the UK opens up egates to more travelers you may get some more free time to spend in town.

Posted by
1524 posts

From Heathrow, go straight to Stansted airport. Store your luggage in lockers in the airport. Then, explore the nearby towns near the airport. There are public transport from Stansted. I would suggest a trip into Saffron Walden, a visit to Audley End stately home or just head to Bishop's Stortford. It's a historic town. Cambridge is just 30 minutes away from Stansted airport by train. You also have the option to go to london, 1 hour away, and spent a few hours there before going back to Stansted.

Posted by
3336 posts might be of use to you. After you land at Heathrow you can go into town, leave your bag at a citystasher business near the things you want to see, and then pick your bag up again when you are ready to head out to Stansted. It's fully insured and super convenient. There are tons of locations in London.