A Guide to Explore London on a Long Heathrow Layover


Have a long layover at Heathrow Airport? Don’t spend it sitting at the airport! Book yourself a luxurious yet conveniently located hotel near Osterley Tube station, so that you save time on commuting, and simply, get out there and explore London, like you always wanted! This guide will tell you everything you need to know to make the most of your time in the beautiful capital city.

Explore Green Park

Begin your London adventure at the lush and serene Green Park! This area has the most direct route from Heathrow Airport, moments away from the exquisite Park Grand Osterley. Here you can explore the Green Park, take a stroll down the gently sloping pathway to the trees on the far side of the park. You might catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace through the branches. If you’re at the palace around 11:00 a.m., you can watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony too.

Explore Buckingham Palace and Beyond

After taking some photos of the iconic Buckingham Palace, head down to ‘the Mall’. At first opportunity, turn right onto a path and enter St. James’s Park, the oldest Royal Park in central London, featuring a wildlife sanctuary of its own! Follow the path downhill to a beautiful pond and soak in the picturesque views. Take a walk along the pond’s edge until you reach a footbridge to admire the Princess Diana plaque and of course, the stunning city skyline.

Head to the Tower of London

Walk two blocks from Buckingham Palace past Downing Street and you’ll be at the Westminster Underground stop. From here, take the District or Circle lines to the Tower of London Station. This will save you a 2.5-mile walk to see the majestic Tower of London, a Royal Palace, and a World Heritage Site.

See London from the Thames River

One of the best ways to see London on a long layover is to take a peaceful boat ride down  river Thames. You can board a boat at Westminster Pier which is located near the Westminster train station. A boat ride is a great way to see the alluring city from a different perspective. In fact, it will be an opportunity for you to relax and unwind without having to worry about navigating traffic or finding parking. No London exploration is complete without enjoying the classic British drinks and food as you dine at a bar in London, followed by a flavoursome, traditional British afternoon tea! So, make sure to save yourself some time for a scrumptious London meal and tea, afterwards.

London is a city full of wonders with a wealth of things to see and do. From its first-rate landmarks to its vibrant culture, there’s something for everyone in London. Even a 13-hour layover can give you a taste of what the city has to offer. However, it’s important to prioritise things and make a realistic plan. If you’re short on time, consider taking a guided tour or a hop-on hop-off bus tour, another fantastic way to experience London city in a short period of time.