Spending long periods of time hanging around at airports is undesirable and stressful at the best of times, and having to do so with young kids only makes matters worse. However, that familiar feeling of dread that accompanies a cancelled flight or impending afternoon’s layover at an airport needn’t be an inevitability of international travel. At Heathrow airport, there are lots of great family facilities to ensure that your journey is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible for you and your children. This begins before you even arrive at the airport, if you’re coming from further afield than Best Western PLUS Park Grand London Heathrow. Heathrow has an abundance of family friendly parking spaces, close to entrances and exits so little legs won’t have to travel as far. If you’re taking the train, kids under 15 travel free on the Heathrow Express.
When you get to the airport, Terminals 2, 4, and 5 feature play areas that are brilliant for younger children. There are slides, soft play areas and separate baby and junior zones, meaning there’ll be plenty to keep your children entertained regardless of their age group. These Stay & Play Areas are free of charge, and open from 6am to 9pm every day. They are suitable for children up to the age of 9, and children must be accompanied by an adult.Terminal 3 is home to The Family Lounge, a dedicated area for families. It features play areas for children aged 0-2 and3-9, a quiet room for children, a Game Zone for kids between 10 and 15, and, to make sure you adults don’t go neglected, a well-earned comfortable seating area and coffee and soft drink vending machines. There is also a discreet area available for the use of nursing mothers. Entry is free and the lounge is open between 6am and 9pm. The lounge is in departures, after security; follow signs for Lounge A.
One of the most dreaded aspects of plane travel and airport layovers is the food. However, Heathrow is doing a lot to turn this stereotype on its head, with a range of fantastic dining & bar options, covering a variety of price ranges and styles, which are great for families. One of the most family-friendly is Ca’puccino, which features special breakfast and afternoon menus which double as activities for children, with colouring tasks and puzzles, and a dedicated children’s area with iPads, low tables and high chairs. The Flying Chariot also provides high chairs, colouring pencils and milk warming, as does Giraffe and The Five Tuns. Many of Heathrow’s restaurants participate in a Kids Eat Free scheme, valid on selected dates throughout the year and at a (wide) range of participating outlets. For older kids, there’s a range of great eateries which illustrate the fact that Heathrow is reinventing airport food. At Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food, you can get a delicious three course dinner to take with you on to your flight for a very reasonable £12.95. For those with more expensive tastes, check out Caviar House, a seafood restaurant where you can get delicious high quality caviar and salmon.