Heathrow: The Facts


Everyone in the UK knows of Heathrow airport and that it is the place that will give you access to the sights, smells and different cultures of the world. Situated in Hounslow, Middlesex, it is the busiest international airport in the world with over 180 travel destinations and more being added to its collection every year.

Heathrow: The History

The story of Heathrow begins in 1930 with Richard Fairey, a British aero engineer and aircraft builder, purchasing 150 acres of land to build a private airport; Fairey’s Great West Aerodrome was born and was the small beginnings of Heathrow. World War II saw the construction of RAF Heston on the site of Fairey’s Great West Aerodrome and the land around it; this consisted of a control tower and several runways that were laid in the shape of the ‘Star of David.’ After the war, it was passed on to the Air Ministry and in 1946, it became London’s civil airport with its first flight being to Buenos Aires which was performed by a Lancaster bomber.

In its first year, Heathrow saw 63,000 travellers pass through its airport and, at the end of 1951, this had increased to 796,000. The increase of popularity led to British architect Frederick Gibberd being commissioned to design a permanent airport; this included a 122 foot high control tower and a central area, a civilian terminal called the Europa Building and an office block designated the Queens Building.

1961 saw the closure of the north side terminal and airlines were using the Europa terminal, which is now called Terminal 2, and the Oceanic terminal, which is now Terminal 3, to fly from. They were joined by Terminal 1 in 1969 to accommodate for the 5 million passengers that were flying through the airport each year and as well as the new Boeing 707s, Tridents and VC10s that were gracing its runways.

By the 1970’s, Concorde and the Boeing 747 had landed and were able to take more passengers at quicker speeds and by the end of 1979, there were a staggering 27 million passengers using Heathrow airport every year. The rapid growth in air travel called for another terminal to be constructed and in 1986 Terminal 4 was opened for use.

In 2006, Heathrow celebrated its 60th anniversary and had catered for 1.4 billion travellers on 14 million flights all over the world. With the number of passengers constantly rising, there was a need for another terminal and in 2008, Terminal 5 was opened.

Today, Heathrow is one of the most famous airports in the world and has over 67 million people fly to and from its runways each year to over 90 countries all over the globe.

Fun Facts about Heathrow

  • Size: 1,227 hectares
  • Runways: 2
  • Terminals: 5
  • Top 5 Destinations: New York (JFK), Dublin, Amsterdam, Dubai and Frankfurt.
  • Most Passenger Traffic in 1 day: 238,949 in June 2013
  • Busiest year in Heathrow History: 72.3 million in 2013

Travel and Parking

Travelling to Heathrow is incredibly simple due to the ample amount of travel options available, such as car, train, tube, bus and bicycle. The Heathrow Express travels to the terminals and departs every 15 minutes from Paddington and the National Express coach service travels all over the country and drops off at all five terminals.

There are many parking options available to anyone who travels to Heathrow via car, such as long stay, short stay, business parking, Meet & Greet and a Valet parking service, so there is something for everyone. There are also options to park at one of the London Heathrow hotels surrounding the airport where they offer deals if parking is combined with an overnight stay. Here is an example of what the London Heathrow hotels have to offer:

  • Crowne Plaza.

Six minutes away from Heathrow airport lies the Crowne Plaza Heathrow Airport hotel. Luxurious and the epitome of comfort, it offers spacious dwellings, an indoor pool, a Health Club for pure relaxation and a choice of places to dine such as Orwell’s Brasserie for fine dining or O’Driscolls Irish pub for pub cuisine and a refreshing pint.

The Crowne Plaza offers travellers a Park, Stay & Go Package that includes:-

  • An array of bedrooms to choose from such as club rooms, suites and family rooms.
  • Kids can stay and eat for free.
  • Aromatherapy body, bath and skincare products available in rooms.
  • All bedrooms have a Sleep Advantage guarantee.
  • 24 hour room service.
  • Complimentary access of our fitness suite which includes a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym and tuition, spa, sauna, beauty treatments and fitness classes.
  • Regular ‘Hoppa’ bus service to Heathrow terminals

This package comes with a 10% discount and this increases the longer you stay on any one of the Park, Stay & Go packages.

Shop, Eat, Drink and Be Merry

There are a plethora of facilities available at Heathrow for you to enjoy before you fly such as high-end shops such as Mulberry, Ted Baker and Alexander McQueen, famous London shops such as Hamleys and Harrods, and high street shops such as Boots and WHSmith. Copious amounts of coffee shops, restaurants and bars fill the Terminals to ensure that you are truly fed and watered before embarking on your trip away. Whatever you decide to do while you wait, you will most definitely not be bored.