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5.5 hour layover in Heathrow - what to do?

  1. Is 5.5 hours enough to do anything interesting in central London?
  2. If yes, how should I prioritize (not looking for a list of site seing favorites, but istead ideas on activities that are fun/interesting and can be acccomplished in an efficient manner between trips to/from Heathrow)?
  3. If it's not enough time to see something in City Center, how about Hounslow? Anything interesting to see/do there?
Posted by
356 posts

Ha ha ha ha ha! Sorry, I used to work in Hounslow and the thought of there being anything interesting to do there has amused me no end!

There are a couple of nice stately homes (Osterley Park and Syon Park), but the public transport options may not be that great. Chiswick is within the London Borough of Hounslow and is quite a nice place to mooch around, but you are going to have to change tube to get there. What sort of activities do you like doing?

Posted by
8700 posts

You really need six hours or more to make it worth your while to dash into London and back. A better choice would be Windsor Castle which is a 20-minute taxi ride from Heathrow. There is also public bus service--which would take a bit longer.

Posted by
780 posts

The only thing I remember being in Hounslow was the ASDA near the Hounslow Central station on the piccadilly line. Its owned by Walmart and if you needed anything before you go to your next place, maybe you might want to venture there just to get out of the airport for a while. It isnt very far via the underground.

Posted by
881 posts

Heathrow in 5.5 hours? - Go shopping.

It's a virtual Mall inside (duty free), and Heathrow is quite well known for delays when landing. I wouldn't plan on leaving the airport.

PS - They also have nice shower stalls you can rent out for a low price - is nice in the middle of along voyage to be able to clean up, and relax a bit!

Posted by
603 posts

Thanks for the info. It confirmed what I was inclined to think. I'll take a shower and chill out.

Posted by
2023 posts

A poster suggested shopping at Heathrow--that may not be an option. We had a five hour layover at CDG and found ourselves in a secured area with only two meager choices of places to eat and leaving the area to shop was not really practical. Windsor might be a good idea though--5.5 hours is a long delay.

Posted by
7 posts

A pass into the British Airways lounge may be worth it. I once spent 8.5 hours in Gatwicks with a overexcited, sleepy 7 year old, and a sleep-deprived, cranky husband. It was a life saver and so worth every penny for the shower, snacks and tv.

Posted by
970 posts

If you are changing terminals and catching international flights, I'd stay put. If not, Windsor seems possible, but pretty risky.

If it was me, I'd eat, have a drink, buy a book, and get to the gate early.

Posted by
2000 posts

The new Terminal 5 at Heathrow has a huge shopping mall on the first level. I guess you have to be flying British Airways to get to it, though I have seen other impressive shopping areas in other terminals too.

Posted by
180 posts

Do not leave the airport. I've heard horror stories about connecting in Heathrow, that having even a 3 hour layover isn't enough. I would suggest not leaving the airport and making sure you are at the terminal you need to connect.

Posted by
603 posts

Thanks again to everyone. I'm not going to leave the airport.

-Matt