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9 Hour Layover in London

My boyfriend and I are wondering how adventurous we can be with our 9-hour layover in London (flying in to Heathrow at 9:00, flying out at 18:00). We don't really care to spend our time waiting in line at big tourist attractions, but would rather have a relaxing afternoon walking around, lunch at a fantastic pub, and maybe see something cool by chance if we happen to come across it. It's our first time in London, and we'll definitely be back for a more permanent visit. But for now, we're looking for a great taste of the city.

Any recommendations on where to go / how best to get there / if this is enough time at all to leave the airport and come back?

Thank you!

7 Answers

top answer by
Jessi from London

That's definitely enough time to have a taster of London!  Catch the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, then jump on the Underground Bakerloo line to take you down to Piccadilly Circus.  Head down Regent Street, and either hang a left to visit Trafalgar Square with Nelson's Column and the National Gallery, or a right to head along the Mall for a look at Buckingham Palace.  Your next stop could be down to Westminster Bridge for views of the Elizabeth Tower (which houses Big Ben), the House Of Commons, and the London Eye.  From there, you can wander east along the Southbank, stopping at galleries or great little restaurants as they catch your eye. If it's a nice day, Millennium Bridge might call your name - and there's Saint Paul's Cathedral and the Tate Modern nearby.  Or you might prefer to browse Soho's cute shops and winding streets.  Great pubs are everywhere, but for a classic with a twist I can't go past Waxy O'Connor's - it has a huge tree inside!  Hope this has given you some ideas - enjoy London!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paddington Station (attraction)
  2. Piccadilly Circus (attraction)
  3. Trafalgar Square (attraction)
  4. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
  5. Westminster Bridge (attraction)
  6. House Of Commons (attraction)
  7. London Eye (attraction)
  8. Millennium Bridge (attraction)
  9. Saint Paul's Cathedral (attraction)
  10. Tate Modern (attraction)
  11. Soho (neighborhood)
  12. Waxy O'Connor's (restaurant)
8 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Renate from San Francisco Bay Area

I say, "Do it!" Hopefully, you've checked your bags so you don't have to worry much about that. But, if not, leave them at Heathrow Left Baggage and head out. Take the Heathrow Express which takes you to Paddington Station which is just a few short blocks from one of my favorite places in all of London, Hyde Park. You can rent bicycles or just wander near Serpentine Lake, grab a coffee at one of the cafes or coffee vendors. Then, for great fish and chips, a Ghost Ship ale, and wonderful ambience, head to my favorite pub, The Victoria Don't forget to head up the stairs and have your drink in the library! Have a wonderful time! Cheers!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paddington Station (attraction)
  2. Hyde Park (attraction)
  3. Serpentine Lake (attraction)
  4. The Victoria (restaurant)
4 thanks

answered by
Laura from Buenos Aires

You can take the subway from the airport (ask there which line, I don't remember) to Piccadilly Circus Travel Information Centre, walk a little on Regent St, get inside the Soho, then take Oxford St to the The British Museum, make a quick visit to see the egiptian and greek treasures (its free), then take Holborn to go to Saint Paul's Cathedral, cross the Millennium Bridge, visit the Tate Modern, take a walk on the Southbank Centre, pass the City Hall and cross through the Tower Bridge.

On the way you'll find many pubs to eat.

I did that a few years ago when British Airlines cancel muy flight and it was great, you can do it in 5 or 6 hours. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Piccadilly Circus Travel Information Centre (attraction)
  2. Regent St (attraction)
  3. Soho (neighborhood)
  4. Oxford St (attraction)
  5. The British Museum (attraction)
  6. Holborn (attraction)
  7. Saint Paul's Cathedral (attraction)
  8. Millennium Bridge (attraction)
  9. Tate Modern (attraction)
  10. Southbank Centre (attraction)
  11. City Hall (attraction)
  12. Tower Bridge (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Jake from United Kingdom

A great place to spend some time in London is by walking up South Bank. Start at the London Eye. Get the underground to Embankment or Waterloo Station and walk over to the London Eye. Then walk down the South Bank and along the way you will see sites such as the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe and The Tower Of London (along many others) Along the way you will also pass a lot of pubs for lunch as you had said you wanted to. You can catch the tube back straight to Heathrow Airport once your time is running out and the walk is great as you can take as much or as little time as you wish. You'll also pass a little beach :D

Hope that helped.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. South Bank (neighborhood)
  2. London Eye (attraction)
  3. Embankment (attraction)
  4. Waterloo Station (attraction)
  5. Tate Modern (attraction)
  6. Shakespeare's Globe (attraction)
  7. Tower Of London (attraction)
  8. Heathrow Airport (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
matthew from Paso Robles

This is plenty of time to leave the airport and come back. There is a tube (Subway) terminal at the airport that will get you into central London in about 35 mins.

1 thanks

answered by
Perla from Alexandria (Virginia)

If you are a transit passenger, not sure if they will allow you to leave the airport. 

answered first by
trudy from Virginia

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Big Ben (attraction)
  2. Nando's Victoria - Cardinal Place (restaurant)

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