Long Layovers

If you have ever experienced a long layover in a connecting city you know how miserable it can be. How much shopping can you really do in a airport.

On my upcoming trip to South Africa my family will have a 5 hour layover in London on the way there and a 8 hour layover on the way back. So I have been researching what I can do with this time other then sit on a hard chair in the airport for hours.

We will be flying into Heathrow. The good thing about Heathrow is they have a express train (Britrail)that goes to Paddington station and takes 15 minutes. You can also catch the Tube (subway) right from the airport. I am considering taking the Tube to Tower Hill to see the Tower of London. The Tube ride takes about an hour with several stops.

The other option I am looking at is catching a cab from the airport to the city of Windsor which is only 15 minutes away. The local black cabs are kind of expensive 50 English pounds or more. The other option is to call “Five Star” cabs which are less then 20 Pounds but you will have to wait for them to come to the airport, not sure how long that would take. We would only have time to do this on the way home.

On our way to South Africa our layover is only 5 hours so we really won’t have time to leave the airport. For this time I am considering purchasing passes to the Heathrow airport lounge. We will be flying Virgin Atlantic and if we were flying first class we would have access to their first class lounge which is really nice, according to the pictures, I’ve never seen it first hand. However the airport itself has a lounge that anybody can get into by purchasing a pass.

Holideck Lounge – Terminal 4
Holideck Lounge


Terminal 4
Snacks and drinks Alcoholic drinks Air conditioning
Television Flight Monitors Internet WiFi
Phone Fax Conferencing Disabled access

The Main Deck – relax in the family lounge whilst your youngsters play in the interactive zone, packed with the latest computer games, toys and entertainment. For travellers over 16 this deck also houses the Enterprise Lounge with wireless net access for business users, “Bar vela” where you can watch sky sports or play on the playstations, or visit “Haven 2” to simply relax before you fly.

Upper Deck – Tune into one of the many hi-tech Sky TV screens in the Sports lounge bar or take a break in “the Haven”. Stimulation or relaxation? A choice for one and all.

Flight Deck – this glazed observatory raised high above the roof of Terminal 4 offers stunning panoramic views of Heathrow’s runways in action.

When planning a vacation I always make a list of all the things I need to do, there can be so many small details that need to be worked out I don’t want to forget anything (its happened). Lists are lifesavers.