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Heathrow guide: avoid airport rush

Heathrow is a major international airport in west London which has two parallel east- west runways along with four functional terminals. It is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and that is the reason people are worried while taking their children to the airport. Here is a guide to Heathrow that will make your journey easier and smoother, especially if have kids.

Getting there:

Heathrow express, the link between London Paddington and Heathrow, provides the free travelling for two children (who are under 16) with each full fare paying adult under the offer of “the kids go free”. Previously, the offer was for a limited period of time but now it has been made permanent. You can book the tickets only in the months of July and August at ticket office or online year round.

Travelling on slower Heathrow Connect services and on the underground is cheaper for families. If you travel on national express coaches to all airports, that would be cheap as compare to the travel by train. Taking a Family Coach Card would be a great investment as children ageing 3 to 15 can travel free with a full fare paying adult.

Parking:

Though, there are family parking bays on site close to shuttle bus stops but that would be little expensive. On few occasions, Air porters are present on shuttle busses that runs between on site car parks and terminals and these air porters assist the families with luggage (without any charges). But if you are looking for an economic parking, booking the offsite parking in advance will be cheap enough than that of Heathrow’s official onsite parking.

Where to stay:

If you are seeking for the budget hotels near Heathrow, Premier Inn is one of the nicest choices. It has 590 soundproofed bedrooms and so many eating and drinking areas. The price is very reasonable with all the required facilities which include free breakfasts for two children under 16 with an adult’s full breakfast. The hotel is 3.6 miles from the Heathrow Airport and is closer to T5. You may also take the free local buses to the airport that has stops outside the hotels.

BW plus Park Grand London Heathrow is also a standardized hotel where you can have a comfort stay. It has nice infrastructure, comfortable rooms, provides free Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, minifridges and work desks too. It also offers the variety of international cuisines and a relaxed bar. It is 3.9 miles from London Heathrow Airport.

There are two more hotels that are connected by covered walkways to terminals. First one is “The Hilton” that has the standard rooms for maximum of three. If you have a family of four, you will need to take two interconnecting rooms. It has a small and pleasant indoor pool and is six minutes walk from T4.

The other one is “The Swish Sofitel”. It also has the features equivalent to “The Hilton”. The additional feature is that it has the Junior Suite for four. It is connected by fragrant passageways to T5.
Whichever time your flight is, expect the terminals to be busy all the time as Heathrow operates at near capacity and it cannot be vacant.

Food and Drink:

For sandwiches or fast food, outlets of “Pret A Manger” are the best options available in all the terminals’ departure lounges. It has more than enough seats to sit and enjoy the food. An economic alternative would be “Boots’s meal deal” which also has delicious snacks, sandwiches and drinks. Again, its outlets are in all terminals’ departure lounges.

Some of the good restaurants in different terminals are listed below:

Terminal 1:

“Giraffe” is the most fascinating family restaurant which is located between the two main departure lounge areas. Here you can get the nice view of runway, quick service and cheerful, friendly and efficient staff along with the delicious meal. It is a good place either to stop for a quick bite or to sit back and relax.

Terminal 2:

The new terminals will re- open soon.

Terminal 3:

“Strada” is the best for full meal. It is an Italian restaurant that has beautifully designed infrastructure. They also have a decent looking kids menu that covers three courses and a drink. So, take a break from the stress of hectic travel and the hustles and sit back to enjoy your meal peacefully.

If you want to munch some snacks, “Café Apostrophe” would be a pleasant place to munch in with the views over the southern runway. The café is inspired by continental European style cafes that adds the touch of glamour to terminal 4.

Terminal 5:

Before security, Carluccio’s deli and restaurant would be a great option. Children’s menu includes two courses and a drink at a sensible price. After security on the upper level, the most famous family restaurant is “Giraffe” that is often too busy and has the extensive views over the departure lounge and to the runways. Enjoy the fresh served Japanese food on the upper level in “Wagamama”. It is a good place to have a quick bite between flights in a pleasant environment.

Killing Time:

Many times it happens that people have to wait on the airports for long and don’t really know how to kill their time especially with kids. You may look for the staff in departure lounges who offer arts and crafts activities like making friendship bracelets and luggage tags.

Terminal 1:

You will get a play area near Café Nero and a small Hamleys. If you are seeking for peace, you may head towards “Servisair Lounge”

Terminal 3:

Lounge A is free-to-use, rooms with many soft play climbing areas for different age groups. No1 Traveller Lounge is pricey but excellent for families.

Terminal 4:

a soft play area off the end of the departure lounge will keep your toddlers busy.

Terminal 5:

“Hamleys” is located upstairs for fun but for quiet environment you may retire to the transit shuttles to terminal 5B and 5C.

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