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Advice for long layover LHR

Advice for long layover LHR

Old Oct 22, 14, 7:03 am
  #1  
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Advice for long layover LHR

We are flying to LHR this December arriving at 08h25, but our connecting flight to JNB does not depart until 18h05.

A few years ago, when we had a long layover at Amsterdam Schipol Airport, we were able to enjoy a mini tour of Amsterdam offered by Holland Tours. The tours departed from the airport and we were taken back in time for our connecting flight.

We are wondering if there are tours from LHR similar to those offered by Holland Tours.

Alternatively, we could wander around on our own but what to do with our carry-on? Can it be stored at the SAA Lounge?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old Oct 22, 14, 7:27 am
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I'm not aware of any tour offerings like that in London.

Assuming that you're arriving with AC you will arrive at and depart from the new Terminal 2.

Arriving and departing customers are separated at LHR, so in order to store your luggage in the SAA lounge you would have to reclear security, leave your luggage there and get out again. The latter part is not very straightforward and takes some time at T5, I have no experience with T2 yet.
My recommendation would be to pay to leave your hand baggage. See here: Left luggage at LHR.

Getting from LHR to Paddington by Heathrow express (cost roughly 40 p.p. for the return journey) takes around 20 minutes each way. Alternatively you can take the Tube (Picadilly line) for around 5, takes around 45 minutes to get to South West London. If you are planning to take the underground or a bus at all you should get an Oyster card (the model for the Presto card in Toronto). You may have to pay a deposit but can get it back at LHR tube station when you get back.

Timing wise you could be in London around 9.30 (if taking Heathrow Express and not too unlucky at Passport Control, this is a variable which is hard to control). You should plan to be back at LHR at least an hour before your flight, so this would give you a fair few hours in London.

Or you could go to Windsor Castle, not too far from Heathrow. You can find more details, and other ideas here: http://velvetescape.com/2012/06/thin...ndon-heathrow/

As a slightly quirky alternative you could take the airline (a coach service) to Oxford and spend the day walking around Oxford. Especially when it isn't raining this is a very nice place. The coach journey takes around 45 minutes to an hour each way, but it's mostly a very scenic drive. Downsides include more time sitting in a confined space between your flights and less time to walk around.
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Old Oct 22, 14, 7:32 am
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As this is a question about LHR rather than Air Canada or Aeroplan it's been relocated to the UK forum for further input.

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Old Oct 22, 14, 9:20 am
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Please don't bother with the Heathrow Express and save the to spend on a nice lunch! By the time you've got the tube to somewhere else (like a museum or Oxford Street for the shops) you'll have saved very little time but spent a lot of money.

Stick to the tube and just buy a zone 1-6 paper travel card from the ticket machine in the LHR tube station for use during the day.

There is no need to bother with Oyster for just a day visit. The saving over a 1 day travel card is 40p and you'll have forms to fill in to register the card and then claim the refund which will just take time.

This will be 8.90 per person if bought after 9.30 AM. And will take you all over London and is valid on tubes, buses and trains (except the HEX and the last leg of the Heathrow Connect train service). Even if you don't use it other than getting to/from LHR it will still save you money over the single cash fares.
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Old Oct 22, 14, 8:16 pm
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Advice for long layover LHR

Depending on the immigration waits which are usually long you should be in the city before lunch. I would plan to be back at the airport at least two hours before but that's me. I wouldn't go outside the city.
I'd take the tube to St.Pauls walk over the Millennium bridge to Tate Modern then depending in weather walk along south bank to lunch at Bill's or Cote or sandwich shops. I usually then continue up to Tower Bridge over to Tower of London and take tube to Big Ben/Parliament to either finish at London Eye or Westminster Abbey.
Another option is walks.com, I've done many a tour with them on a layover -then I get food and some treats (hummingbird cupcakes, Paul young chocolates, Laduree macarons, etc) for flight on way back to airport
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Old Oct 23, 14, 1:29 am
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This might be stating the blindingly obvious but London goes a bit nuts in December as tourist numbers soar (& the concept of 'work' seemingly escapes the indigenous population from around Dec 10th...)

Avoid Oxford Street/Regent Street, especially if you're there on a weekend.

The idea about taking the tube to St Paul's is a good one. Another option for some views is the Thames Clipper water bus (note not the tourist cruise). If you can factor this in correctly then you get to see Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, Houses of Parliament plus all the new skyscrapers from the river.

Make sure you allow long enough to get back to the airport. It's 1hr on the tube and that's before you allow for delays so by 3pm you need to be gone.
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Old Oct 23, 14, 5:50 am
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If you want the faster heathrow express don't bother going all the way into the west end. You can do lunch by the canal or get to notting hill easily enough from paddington, or even Kings Road.

I echo the Windsor or Reading ideas though - Reading has decent shops if you want that and Windsor is nice enough to spend a day.
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Old Oct 23, 14, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by ravishah View Post
I echo the Windsor or Reading ideas though - Reading has decent shops if you want that and Windsor is nice enough to spend a day.
With the qualification that shopping is pretty much all you can do in Reading...
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Old Oct 24, 14, 3:23 am
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If you fancy London, do as others have suggested and avoid the busier shopping streets of the West End.

Consider going to South Kensington and spending a few hours in the Victoria & Albert Museum, Natural History Museum or Science Museum (the latter is great with kids). If you really want to save on luggage fees, carry them with you on the tube and leave them in the free cloak room at the V&A. A (mostly) step free tunnel from South Ken tube takes you all the way to the side entrance of the V&A, where (if I recall correctly) there's a cloakroom just inside the door.
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Old Oct 24, 14, 3:27 am
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Originally Posted by TravellingSalesman View Post
With the qualification that shopping is pretty much all you can do in Reading...
And drink - although if you are getting on a flight maybe not so much.
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Old Oct 24, 14, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by jamesbrownontheroad View Post
... Consider going to South Kensington and spending a few hours in the Victoria & Albert Museum, Natural History Museum or Science Museum (the latter is great with kids). If you really want to save on luggage fees, carry them with you on the tube and leave them in the free cloak room at the V&A...
I agree that you should probably take your kids with you on the tube, but I didn't realize that you could leave them in the free V&A cloakroom. Is there a time limit on how long you can leave them there? Will they be fed? How will the staff deal with their toilet needs? Sounds like a great idea, though!
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Old Oct 24, 14, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
I agree that you should probably take your kids with you on the tube, but I didn't realize that you could leave them in the free V&A cloakroom. Is there a time limit on how long you can leave them there? Will they be fed? How will the staff deal with their toilet needs? Sounds like a great idea, though!
2 max at V&A. For more you need to go to the Science Museum.
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Old Oct 24, 14, 12:34 pm
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You can't leave kids at the cloakroom at the V&A - that's that the paddling pond in the courtyard is for.
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Old Oct 24, 14, 3:24 pm
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Originally Posted by stut View Post
You can't leave kids at the cloakroom at the V&A - that's that the paddling pond in the courtyard is for.
That would explain the passel of damp toddlers I saw napping in the Great Bed of Ware last time.
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Old Oct 27, 14, 7:26 am
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Smile

Thanks for all the good advice which is very much appreciated.
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