Things to do near London Heathrow Airport

Given its fantastic location to the west of the capital, London Heathrow Airport provides a brilliant gateway to the delights of London and beyond with airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines. The international hub welcomes hundreds of planes and thousands of passengers to the UK every day, providing easy access to London’s many awe-inspiring attractions, its abundance of top quality museums and its incredible hotels.

Your travel options

Heathrow Airport is incredibly well connected by both road and rail and sits just 15 miles from central London. The Heathrow Express service into London Paddington station takes around 15 minutes from Terminals 2 and 3, and a few minutes longer from Terminals 4 and 5. Alternatively, the Piccadilly Tube line serves all terminals and takes between 50 and 60 minutes to reach central London, including operating all night on Fridays and Saturdays.

What you can do

If you’re heading to London having arrived at Heathrow, you’re in luck, as many of the capital’s top attractions and museums are within easy rich. Simply purchase a travel card for London Underground, use a contactless payment card, or top up an Oyster card and you can explore to your heart’s content.

1. ZSL London Zoo

Come face-to-face with Asiatic lions, get up close with ring-tailed lemurs and walk among spiders if you’re feeling brave at ZSL London Zoo. Housing everything from otters and meerkats to tigers, gorillas, reptiles and insects, the zoo is home to more than 18,000 animals and features daily talks, feedings and a host of other entertainment. Zoo Nights events also run on Fridays in June and July.

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ZSL London Zoo

2. Kensington Palace

Explore the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria and immerse yourself in the history of the Royals from the last 300 years at Kensington Palace. To mark 200 years since Queen Victoria’s birthday, two new exhibitions will open on 24 May. Both the King’s State Apartments and the Queen’s State Apartments are open daily, providing a glimpse into royal life in Victorian England.

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Kensington Palace

3. Sherlock Holmes Museum

Hidden away on Baker Street is the Sherlock Holmes Museum, dedicated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary detective. Packed full of memorabilia and artefacts from the various television shows and other productions, visit and you’ll be transported back to the world of Holmes and his sidekick, Dr Watson. The museum is also situated just yards from Holmes’ fictional home, 221b Baker Street.

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Sherlock Holmes Museum

4. Buckingham Palace

The official London residence of the UK sovereign since 1837, Buckingham Palace is also the administrative headquarters of the ruling Monarch. Although the Queen still uses the palace for official events and receptions, the State Rooms are opened to visitors for a limited period every summer. Don’t miss the regular Changing of the Guard outside the palace, when the Queen’s Guard is replaced by another regiment in a ceremonial display.

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Buckingham Palace

5. Natural History Museum

Immerse yourself in nature at the Natural History Museum, with incredible exhibits detailing everything from dinosaurs and mammals to fossils, treasures, volcanoes and human evolution. The museum in Kensington is free to enter and features the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition which runs until the end of June, displaying an array of breath-taking photography.

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Natural History Museum

6. Victoria and Albert Museum

Described as the world’s leading museum of art and design, the Victoria and Albert Museum has a permanent collection of more than 2.3 million objects, some of which date back more than 5,000 years. Discover expansive collections of resources from the study of fashion, architecture, textiles, theatre, sculpture, photography and much more.

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Victoria and Albert Museum

7. British Museum

With its spectacular architecture and stunning historical collections, the British Museum provides a unique insight into history. Since being founded in 1753, its collection has expanded dramatically to take in millions of items, of which only a handful are displayed at any one time. Bask in the glory of the Great Court and its spectacular dome before exploring the 4 wings of the museum that house galleries with exhibits on Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, as well as Africa, the Middle East and Asia, among others.

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British Museum

8. Lord's Cricket Ground

Visit the ‘Home of English’ cricket and go behind the scenes as part of a tour of the famous Lord’s Cricket Ground. Tours run on most days throughout the year – apart from on major match days and when other big events are taking place. Discover the history of cricket as you visit the players’ dressing rooms, the Grade II listed Pavilion and the MCC Museum.

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Lords Cricket Ground

9. Kew Gardens

Discover the rarest and most threatened species of plants in the world at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the most bio diverse place on the planet. You’ll find more than 50,000 living plants at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which supports science and conservation work around the world. As well as enjoying expert guided tours and exhibitions, you can wander the Arboretum that is home to 14,000 trees, climb the giant Pagoda for spectacular views of London and explore the rustic charm of the 17th century Kew Palace.

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Kew Gardens

10. Theatreland

Lion King stage show. A musical production on stage of the Disney film. Andile Gumbi as 'Simba' the main lion character.

Make a theatrical show in the West End of London part of your stay and choose from an array of musical and drama performances. While many of the big name shows have run in Theatreland for years, others are available for a limited time so pick your performance wisely! Les Miserables, the Lion King Musical and the Book of Mormon are just some of the shows to pick from in 2019.

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Theatreland

11. Madame Tussauds

Stand shoulder to shoulder with the Royals, bask in the shadow of your favourite celebrities and immerse yourself in the Star Wars experience at Madame Tussauds London. With more than 250 lifelike wax figures of famous people from the world of sport, film, music and more, the attraction on Baker Street allows you to rub shoulders with the stars.

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Madame Tussauds

12. Science Museum

Delve into the exciting world of science at the Science Museum where you can learn about everything from medicine and genetics to atomic science, space and robots! There are numerous interactive displays to enjoy as well as detailed exhibitions that explore some of the latest and most advanced scientific discoveries.

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Science Museum

13. Hounslow Urban Farm

A short walk from Hatton Cross station on the Piccadilly line, and a matter of minutes from the airport, is Hounslow Urban Farm. Meet ferrets, bunnies, goats, pigs and a host of other farmyard animals, and get up close and personal with many others as part of regular ‘animal encounters’.

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Hounslow Urban Farm

14. Nearer to the airport

As well as all of the delights of London, Heathrow Airport is also ideally situated for discovering the royal town of Windsor. Catch the Changing of the Guard outside Windsor Castle as the Queen’s guard changes shift, before venturing inside the fortress to see the beautifully decorated State rooms of the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. LEGOLAND Windsor theme park has over 55 rides and attractions for the family to enjoy, while Thorpe Park is also nearby and has plenty of rollercoasters and other rides that are perfect for thrill seekers. Ascot Racecourse hosts Royal Ascot in mid-June too, a delightful mix of top-quality horseracing, pageantry and fashion.

11 Apr 2019(last updated)