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6 hour layover in LHR this week... is it crazy to go out to see things?

6 hour layover in LHR this week... is it crazy to go out to see things?

Old Jul 30, 12, 9:17 am
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6 hour layover in LHR this week... is it crazy to go out to see things?

LHR en route to HAM later this week... I have never been to London and I would like to go check out a few sites . How crazy is the transit system and all that there, since the Olympics are going on?
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Old Jul 30, 12, 9:20 am
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Moving this thread to the UK Forum.
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Old Jul 30, 12, 10:55 am
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I'm not sure you'd see much in 6 hours. Plan on an hour to clear immigration (non-EU, but can be faster) 30-45 minutes to get to and take the Heathrow Express to Paddington, and from there have an hour or two to see some places via bus or Tube in west/central London.

The Tube takes 45-50 minutes into Central London. Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square provide easy access to many popular sites.

Upon return to LHR, plan on 10-20 minutes to reclear security.
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Old Jul 30, 12, 12:57 pm
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Yep, even when things are running normally, 6hrs is going to be on the cusp of where it's worthwhile to leave the airport IMO.

I'd be using the broad line 1hr through immigration, 1hr to get to where you want to be, 1hr to get back to the airport and leaving 1hr to get through security, to your gate and a bit of contingency. That means you'd have 2hrs tops in London.

Is there something specific you want to see or do?
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Old Jul 30, 12, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Swiss Tony View Post
Yep, even when things are running normally, 6hrs is going to be on the cusp of where it's worthwhile to leave the airport IMO.

I'd be using the broad line 1hr through immigration, 1hr to get to where you want to be, 1hr to get back to the airport and leaving 1hr to get through security, to your gate and a bit of contingency. That means you'd have 2hrs tops in London.

Is there something specific you want to see or do?
I've made the schlep into London about 60 times now and I would totally agree with Swiss Tony's timeline. I love any reason to go into London, but the time that you have makes it marginally worthwhile at best.
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Old Jul 30, 12, 4:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Swiss Tony View Post
Yep, even when things are running normally, 6hrs is going to be on the cusp of where it's worthwhile to leave the airport IMO.

I'd be using the broad line 1hr through immigration, 1hr to get to where you want to be, 1hr to get back to the airport and leaving 1hr to get through security, to your gate and a bit of contingency. That means you'd have 2hrs tops in London.

Is there something specific you want to see or do?
Well, I have always wanted to go to London to see the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and a few other places. Thanks for the advice everyone! We'll see if there are any delays inbound and adjust plans accordingly- maybe it IS easier to just stay in the airport.

Flying from the U.S. by the way.
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Old Jul 30, 12, 4:22 pm
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The OP could take the Heathrow Express to Paddington and walk to the Hyde Park to watch Olympic events on big screens. Entrance is free and you can obtain Guaranteed Entry Tickets in advance.

http://www.btlondonlive.com/hyde-park
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Old Jul 31, 12, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by alphatarget1 View Post
Well, I have always wanted to go to London to see the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and a few other places. Thanks for the advice everyone! We'll see if there are any delays inbound and adjust plans accordingly- maybe it IS easier to just stay in the airport.

Flying from the U.S. by the way.
I think six hours is very doable and, in my book, better than sitting doing nothing in an airport. Take the Piccadilly Line straight from Heathrow to Hyde Park Corner (about 55 minutes). Walk down Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace, up the Mall to Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall to Parliament and Big Ben. There, get on the tube at Westminster and take the District Line to Hammersmith and walk across the platform to the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow (about 1 hour). Your walk, with a couple of stops for photos and assuming you are not in a race, should take no more than an hour, leaving you time for a cup of coffee and a sandwich somewhere on the way.

However, if you are doing this during the Olympics it will be more difficult as the Mall and Admiralty Arch may need circumnavigating because of the Beach Volleyball.
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Old Aug 1, 12, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
I think six hours is very doable and, in my book, better than sitting doing nothing in an airport. Take the Piccadilly Line straight from Heathrow to Hyde Park Corner (about 55 minutes). Walk down Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace, up the Mall to Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall to Parliament and Big Ben. There, get on the tube at Westminster and take the District Line to Hammersmith and walk across the platform to the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow (about 1 hour). Your walk, with a couple of stops for photos and assuming you are not in a race, should take no more than an hour, leaving you time for a cup of coffee and a sandwich somewhere on the way.

However, if you are doing this during the Olympics it will be more difficult as the Mall and Admiralty Arch may need circumnavigating because of the Beach Volleyball.
This is a great itinerary. I agree that this is the best bet, as long as your carry ons are light...
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Old Aug 5, 12, 6:27 pm
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6 hours really is marginal. As others have said you'll have about 2 hours in town maximum and transport is unpredictable at present.

An alternative is to visit somewhere else like Windsor. If you book a Windsor cab in advance it should pick you up and get you there in about 20 minutes for about 20. You can go and see Windsor Castle, have some lunch and a beer by the lake and either take a boat trip or head over to Eton where you can see the famous public school. I'm assuming all the rowing will be over by now so you'll miss that.

Just an alternative.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 11:28 pm
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You don't have carry luggage. There is a place to check it in the terminal (I was on delta)for a reasonable fee.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 6:16 am
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You could take the Heathrow Express into London which takes 15-20 minutes and have a look around.
Or take the Bus out of Heathrow and see Windsor.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 12:48 pm
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To the OP! Any update on what you chose to do, how it worked???
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Old Aug 13, 12, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by alphatarget1 View Post
Well, I have always wanted to go to London to see the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and a few other places. Thanks for the advice everyone! We'll see if there are any delays inbound and adjust plans accordingly- maybe it IS easier to just stay in the airport.

Flying from the U.S. by the way.
Don't waste the opportunity. These guys are right, it's on the margins but you can still do one thing. One thing only.

You will need to choose an attraction that is close to a convenient HEX terminus with minimal tube riding. You might then have slightly more than 2 hours if everything goes well.


Plan it very carefully and be prepared to abandon the plan if you're flatfooted outbound by things like electrical failure on the T5 HEX link, as happened to me two weeks ago.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 7:39 am
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Originally Posted by redtailshark View Post
You will need to choose an attraction that is close to a convenient HEX terminus with minimal tube riding.
I would not recommend taking Heathrow Express at all. It gets you into Paddington. There are no major attractions near Paddington. By the time you have queued for a taxi and driven to a major attraction, you would already have had time at that attraction if you had gone there by Piccadilly Line. Plus, you would save yourself many by taking the tube.
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