Flying from Heathrow Airport: A guide to affordable transport, popular destinations and airlines, and advice on navigating the different terminals

Make this journey from Heathrow the simplest yet, with our guide making it easy for you to prepare for your onward travels hassle-free.

interior of heathrow airport terminal

Famous for being the UK’s largest airport, Heathrow can seem intimidating for many passengers, due to the number of different terminals, and the sheer size of it. At over 1,200 hectares in area, parking at Heathrow can stress many travellers, however, it doesn’t have to be a daunting experience when you’re prepared for the airport.

Heathrow’s popularity is due to the variety of destinations available, with options to fly to over 220 locations directly, making it the perfect spot to start your adventures. Here’s the information to ensure your next Heathrow experience is as smooth as possible.

Key information about Heathrow airport

Understanding the different terminals

Heathrow currently has four terminals in operation - Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5. (Don’t worry — while it may seem like Terminal 1 is missing from this list, it stopped being used in 2015 following the expansion of Terminal 2.)

Each terminal hosts different airlines:

  • the majority of Terminal 5 flights being British Airways or Iberia;
  • Terminal 2 hosting Lufthansa, American airlines, AirCanada, and many more;
  • Terminal 3 is home to Delta, Qantas, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and others;
  • Terminal 4 hosts Etihad, China Southern, Air France, Korean Air, to name a few.

However, these lists aren’t extensive, and checking which airline operates from each terminal beforehand is essential.

Travelling between terminals

If you have a self-connecting flight, getting to your departure terminal can feel stressful, however Heathrow’s inter-terminal transit options make it simple. Some terminals are within walking distance, like Terminals 2 and 3, however, you have to catch the Piccadilly line, free of charge, to Terminals 4 and 5, each of which have their own station. Between Terminals 4 and 5 there is a free bus service too. Heathrow offers plenty of information for efficient transfers between terminals, and offers assistance to ensure all passengers have an easy commute from one terminal to the next.

Destinations offered

From Heathrow, you have access to 84 different countries across the world, making both leisure and business travel easily accessible from London. The top three destinations from Heathrow are Dubai, New York, and Madrid: perfectly demonstrating the mixture of long and short haul flights on offer, as well as the balance of both leisure and business passengers. If you want further travel inspiration, Heathrow’s interactive route map is a great tool that allows you to explore destinations and find direct flights.

Opening times and facilities

Heathrow is in Hounslow, in West London, with each different terminal having a different postcode:

  • Terminal 2 is TW6 2GA
  • Terminal 3 is TW6 3XA
  • Terminal 4 is TW6 1QG
  • Terminal 5 is TW6 1EW

All four terminals at Heathrow are open 24 hours a day, however different shops, bars, and lounges will have their own respective opening times, which may be worth researching before you travel to the airport if your flight is late at night or early morning. The airport recommends that you arrive two hours before your flight time if you’re flying within the UK or Europe, and three hours if you’re flying outside of Europe. This is to allow time for checking in bags, and passing through security. If you have extra time after doing these tasks, Heathrow has lots to explore before your flight, with different terminals having different shops and restaurants.

Where to eat:

  • Grab a pre-flight coffee at one of the many popular cafes in Heathrow, including Black Sheep Coffee, Caffe Nero, Joe’s Coffee House, and Pret A Manger
  • If you’ve got more time, have a sit down meal in Giraffe World Kitchen, Wagamama, or Co-Pilots Bar and Kitchen
  • For a fine dining experience, visit Gordon Ramsay Plane Food.

Where to shop:

  • Visit cosmetics shops like Benefit, Clarins, and Huda Beauty
  • Check out some last-minute tech options at Apple, Bose, FitBit, and Canon
  • Visit Hamley’s if travelling with children, or even the Harry Potter Shop in Terminal 5, for a memorable and entertaining bit of fun before take-off
  • Like most airports, Heathrow has a Duty Free shop, for deals you wouldn’t get elsewhere in the country.

Where to have pre-flight drinks:

  • The Globe is a family-friendly craft beer and food stop in Terminal 5, being a good spot with various unique drink and dining options
  • The Queen’s Arms and the Prince of Wales offer a relaxing and comforting environment, making the departure lounge feel less intimidating
  • Big Smoke offers cocktails and independently brewed beers, for a unique bar experience

All four terminals at Heathrow have hotels nearby, which can be useful if you prefer arriving at the airport the night before your flight, to avoid last minute stress. These range from Premier Inn, which has branches at each terminal, to the Hilton at Terminal 4 and Luxury Sofitel at Terminal 5. 

Accessibility at Heathrow

Heathrow ensures that all passengers can have a stress-free flying experience, and offers support for both visible and non-visible disabilities. This ranges from a Blue Badge scheme operating in all car parks, to in-airport help points, with teams of helpers who can support you in your journey. There are also help points at bus and train stations, and car parks, so you can call for assistance for getting into the airport itself.

Getting to Heathrow airport

Heathrow is located 16 miles west of central London, making it well connected via a multitude of transport methods. These vary from the cost-effective tube, to private taxi services, so you can find the way to travel that best suits your needs.

Using JustPark to find affordable airport parking

Perhaps the most popular way of getting to the airport, driving allows for personal comfort and ease if travelling in a large group or with children. However, a big concern for people is the threat of airport car park prices, especially for long stays, and the subsequent parking fines if booked incorrectly. 

JustPark offers a solution to this problem: airport parking at an affordable price. With options from airport meet and greet parking options available at each terminal, to the more cost-effective parking on nearby driveways and using public transport for the last stretch of your journey. JustPark offers services that are perfect for your budget, and length of stay, and by booking in advance, you ensure the best deal and a stress-free trip.

Heathrow can be accessed by the M4 and M25 motorways. If you’re using the M25, exit at either Junction 14 or 15, depending on your terminal, or Junction 4 or 4b on the M4, allowing for a seamless journey from across the UK.

Take local bus routes for cost-effective transport

There are over 15 local bus routes connecting Heathrow to different areas of London, including Piccadilly Circus, Hounslow, Twickenham, Feltham, and Hillingdon. Some routes run through the night, but it is important to plan your journey in advance.

There are also local buses from outside London, from Windsor, Slough, Ashford, Watford, Horton, and many more. Lists of providers and timetables are available, to ensure you arrive with enough time and plan in advance.

Using public transport from further afield

Thanks to both the Piccadilly and Elizabeth lines running to all Heathrow terminals, it is accessible from anywhere connecting to the tube network, including central London. If you want to avoid the rush, the Heathrow Express is a 15 minute train that connects London Paddington to the airport, and can be booked in advance for peace of mind. 

Coaches offer a low-cost method of travelling to Heathrow, with National Express having direct services from Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, and many others. These coaches stop at the Central Bus Station (for Terminals 2 and 3), and then right outside of both Terminals 4 and 5. 

Use rideshare apps or taxi services

Services like Uber and Bolt have grown drastically in popularity over recent years, offering passengers door-to-door convenience. However, these services can be expensive, especially if not booked in advance, and the apps can get busy at peak times. Local taxi services can also be booked as a convenient and easy way to the airport.

Cycle and secure your bike

For passengers who live locally, or are environmentally conscious, Heathrow is increasingly encouraging passengers to cycle into the airport. Terminals 2 and 3 share a bicycle storage area, while 4 and 5 each have their own, so you can plan out exactly where you need to go. When cycling, remember to secure your bike safely.


How early do I need to arrive at Heathrow?

  • Heathrow recommends arriving three hours before your flight time for long-haul flights, and two hours for domestic or European flights. This however can depend on other factors such as your airline, if you need to check bags, and if you require assistance at the airport, as you may board earlier. 

How can I find cheap parking at Heathrow?

  • Heathrow offers on-site parking that can be booked in advance on their website, or upon arrival, however, it can be costly, and often extremely busy. By using JustPark, passengers are able to find the parking option that suits their budget and length of stay. We offer both long and short stay options at affordable prices, and by booking in advance, you have ultimate peace of mind on your travels.

Is there blue badge parking at Heathrow?

  • Heathrow offers free drop-off for Blue Badge holders, even if the car doesn’t belong to the badge holder. For longer-term parking options, JustPark offers filters for accessible parking, to ensure you get the best possible price, and as smooth a journey as possible.

How much is the Heathrow drop off charge?

  • Terminal drop-off charges are £5 for every vehicle that enters the drop-off zone. You can pay this in advance, and need to pay to avoid being issued a Parking Charge Notice (PCN), which could be costly. You can have 30 minutes free parking in the Long Stay car parks, if you’d prefer time for a longer goodbye.

How many terminals does Heathrow airport have?

  • Heathrow has four operating terminals, numbered two to five. It is important to check which one your flight is departing from, as some terminals require you to get a bus or train between them, which could feel time consuming in a rush.

You can learn more in-depth about tips for navigating Heathrow in the video below:

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