As a state-of-art, modern terminal, Terminal 5 is well-equipped with things to do if you have time to kill before your flight. Because the terminal is designed to get people through check in and security as fast as possible, you might well find yourself with more time on your hands here than you’d expect.
If you want to pass the time surfing the web while you’re in Terminal 5, you should have no problem getting online – there are wireless hotspots throughout the terminal for you to log on using your laptop or mobile device. There are also some computer kiosks – see our facilities page for details of their locations.
The glass construction of Terminal 5 makes it a great place for plane spotting. You can look out and see planes manouvering as they prepare for take-off or come in to land throughout the terminal. For those who have access to them, the BA Lounges have dedicated viewing areas. The Cafe Nero on the top floor of the terminal offers fantastic clear views of take-offs and landings, as does the grass embankment on the south side of runway 09L, 5 minutes walk from the terminal.
Windsor is relatively close, and holds a number of attractions for the visitor. Windsor Castle, one of the Queen’s official residences, is open for public visits to the royal apartments, and the town itself is a fascinating place to simply wander around, with cobbled streets and historic buildings. There is also Legoland, a theme park aimed at children with rides and plenty of Lego! To get there, will cost around £18 in a local cab (ring a Windsor based taxi firm from the airport and wait for them to collect you. Try Windsor Cars 01753 677 677, or Royal Windsor Taxis on 01753 585 585).
Heading towards London, the prosperous suburbs along the River Thames in the south-west of the city are easily accessible from Heathrow. Twickenham, home of the England rugby team, will make an interesting visit for sports fans, while those interested in botany will love the famous Kew Gardens. Richmond has some attractive streets to wander around, and a lovely riverfront where you can hire a rowing boat or simply sit outside a pub and watch the world go by. Hampton Court Palace is nearby too, scene of 400 years of royal history, and home to the infamous King Henry VIII. Expect to pay from £20 upwards in a minicab to these areas. Local firms to try are Euro Line UK on 020 3051 3531 or Twickenham Taxis on 020 7127 4687.
For more attractions, head into central London. Buses, trains, tubes and taxis are all easily available for those heading into town and the city is packed with things to do for everyone. You can spend days wandering around the city’s many art galleries and museums, many of which are free. The Tate Modern, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum are all worth a special mention. For shopping, head to Bond Street for high-end goods or Camden for more unusual purchases from market stalls. Explore the city’s history in areas such as Greenwich and Westminster, or get a fantastic overview of the city from on high on the London Eye.