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With five terminals and two runways, Heathrow Airport (LHR) is by far the biggest and busiest airport in the UK. 69.4 million passengers passed through in 2011 - that's about 190,000 every day! 86 airlines fly out of Heathrow to 183 destinations in 90 countries.
There are five terminals at Heathrow Airport, although only four of them are currently open, as Terminal 2 is being revamped. The old T2 closed in 2009, and the new one is set to open in 2014. You can walk between T1 and T3, and you can get to T4 and T5 on a free bus or train.
Heathrow Airport is 15 miles west of central London.
Reaching Heathrow Airport by car:
The airport is easily accessible via the M25 and M4. From the M25, use junction 15 for T1-3 or junction 14 for T4/5. From the M4, exit at junction 4 for T1-3. For T4/5, exit the M4 at junction 4b and take the M25 south to junction 14.
Reaching Heathrow Airport by tube:The Piccadilly Line goes to three Underground stations at the airport: T1-3, T4 and T5 (all zone 6). This is the best-value option to central London (around £5), and it takes under an hour.
Reaching Heathrow Airport by train:
There are two fast services to London. The Heathrow Express runs from Paddington every 15 minutes and takes 15 minutes. The Heathrow Connect runs from Paddington every 30 minutes and takes 26 minutes. Trains go to Heathrow Central (for T1 and T3). From Heathrow Central, there is a free train service to T4/5.
Reaching Heathrow Airport by bus:
RailAir buses link the airport with the national rail network at Feltham, Reading, Woking and Watford Junction. There is also a good network of local buses.
Reaching Heathrow Airport by coach:
National Express and other coach services connect Heathrow with over 500 UK destinations, including Oxford, Bristol, Birmingham, Wales, London, and Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports. All buses and coaches run to/from the Heathrow Central station.
The shopping experience at Heathrow Airport is second to none. As well as the usuals (Boots, WHSmith, World Duty Free, etc.) you'll find a range of other high-street retailers such as Accessorize, Clarks, Fat Face, French Connection and HMV, and designer labels including Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Dior, D&G, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu, Prada, Tiffany & Co. and many more. Try not to spend all your holiday money before you take off...
Special offer vouchers are available on the Heathrow website. With a WorldPoints card, passengers can earn points on purchases across all BAA airports.
Heathrow operates a free Shop & Collect service for passengers travelling within the EU.
Bars and restaurants at Heathrow Airport: in all terminals you'll find a great choice of places. There is any number of cafés including Costa, Starbucks, Caffè Nero, AMT Coffee and Café Apostrophe. Restaurants include Carluccio's, Gordon Ramsey's Plane Food, Caviar House Oyster Bar, Giraffe, Oriel French Restaurant & Bar, Itsu, Strada and Wagamama. Bars include several branches of Wetherspoon's, The Globe, The Three Bells and The Tin Goose.
Taxis: black cabs stop in the taxi ranks outside all terminals. Taking one into central London will cost around £45-£70. You can also book minicabs in advance with greentomatocars.
Currency exchange: available through American Express and Travelex, who have kiosks throughout all terminals.
Internet: high speed wi-fi is available in all terminals, as well as broadband-connected computers.
Special Assistance: a courtesy special assistance bus is available for transfers between terminals, and there are special assistance help points throughout all terminals.
Other services include ATMs throughout every terminal, an Airport Concierge service, kids' Stay & Play areas in T4 and T5, help points and Roaming Ambassadors providing help throughout the terminals (look for the purple uniforms), baggage storage facilities, free mobile phone charging points in all departure lounges, a porter service, showers in T3 and T4, multi-faith prayer rooms in all terminals, an art gallery in T5, the Be Relax spa in T5 and the YOTEL cabin hotel in T4.
There are two Servisair Executive Lounges in T1 and T3, with complimentary drinks and snacks, internet access, phones and fax, TV, newspapers and magazines.
There is a No.1 Traveller Lounge in T3, with complimentary food and drink, free wi-fi, newspapers and magazines, games room and cinema, No.1 Travel Spa, runway views, showers and bedrooms.
There are also 23 dedicated airline business lounges in the terminals.
The larger hotels near the airport, such as Sofitel, Hilton and Sheraton, have conference facilities and meeting rooms for hire.
There are set-down lanes outside the terminals, but cars waiting to pick up passengers will have to wait in the Short Stay car parks.
Short Stay car parks can be found next to each of the terminals. There are three Long Stay car parks, which serve T1-3, T4 and T5. Each one has a free courtesy coach service to the terminals running every 10 minutes.
Business Parking is available for all terminals. These car parks are closer to the terminals than Long Stay, with quick courtesy transfer services. Transfers from the T5 Business Car Park are via the Heathrow Pod service.
Valet Parking is available from all terminals. British Airways also operate a valet service from Terminals 3 and 5.
There are blue badge parking spaces in all car parks, and free cycle parking is available at all terminals.
Car hire at Heathrow Airport is available through Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt. It pays to compare car hire companies before you travel .
There is a large number of on-site hotels, including Sofitel, Thistle, Premier Inn, Sheraton, Arora, Holiday Inn, Hilton, Marriott, Park Inn and Radisson Blu. Some of the hotels are directly connected to terminals by covered walkways, and others are connected to the airport by shuttle bus services. Click here to find great deals on Heathrow hotels. Click here to find a great deal on Heathrow hotels.
Call 0844 335 1801 or visit www.heathrowairport.com.