As a first-time visitor to London, something you might not have realised about Heathrow Airport is just how far it is from London itself. Of course, it has to be so far away to avoid noise and traffic problems affecting local residents, but as a visitor it’s a royal pain to have to trek all the way into the city and back out with heavy luggage.
If you’re only stopping over at Heathrow for a night, there’s an easy way around this: simply check into one of the hotels near Heathrow for a nap and a tasty breakfast before you hop back on the plane. This saves you from making the long trip into central London when all you really want is a comfortable place to lay your head for the night. Hotels like the Park Grand Heathrow are stylish yet affordable havens for weary travellers on both business and leisure trips.
If you have some time to kill at the airport, Heathrow is full of ways to pass your time. The terminal is full of pubs, bars and restaurants so you can enjoy a meal that isn’t plane food. Weary travellers might consider finding a cinema near Heathrow airport to catch the latest flicks – hit movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron often hit the UK before they arrive in America. Or if you’re interested in the planes themselves and their destinations, plane-spotting at Heathrow Airport is a little-known pastime that can easily fill several happy hours.
However, if London is your final destination, you’ll want to think about how to get from the airport to your accommodation in the city. You’ll see plenty of the iconic London black cabs lined up at the Heathrow taxi rank, but beware! Although they might seem like an essential part of the London experience and you might be tempted to take one for convenience, they come at a hefty price and they only take cash. The ride from Heathrow into central London costs up to £70 – not the best start to your vacation!
A better solution, especially if you’re travelling with a group, is to arrange a private transfer. They are cheaper than a black cab with fares starting from £46 for two people, but they also come with a range of extra services that you just don’t expect from a normal cabbie. Pre-booked drivers will keep an eye on your flight details and meet you in the arrival hall to escort you to your car – no hassle, no waiting in line and no need to drop by a cash machine.
If you won’t be able to check into your hotel room for several hours, you can even arrange for your driver to give you a private guided tour of London. This is a fantastic way to get familiar with the city, see some famous landmarks and enjoy yourself after your long flight. The best part is that your luggage can be left securely in the vehicle while you see the sights. It’s a much nicer way to spend your first day in London than sitting in a coffee shop, guarding your suitcases and waiting desperately to check in so you can get on with your holiday!
A private transfer is highly recommended if you’re travelling in a group. Whether it’s a family, a group of friends, a high school class or a social club, the best way to make sure you all reach your destination is to have your own vehicle to take you from A to B. If you do take this route, it’s important to make sure you know how much luggage each person in your party will be bringing since it will affect the size of vehicle you can use. Obviously a bigger vehicle will cost more, but more importantly: if you arrive with more luggage than expected, you may need to organise a bigger car on the spot. That means delays and extra costs – two things everyone wants to avoid.