Built sometime around the 1940s, London’s Heathrow Airport is considered one of the world’s busiest airports, serving more than 60 million passengers per year with about 90 airlines to over 180 destinations. The massive airport, covering more than 1,000 hectares in area, has a grand total of 5 terminals, with plans underway for further redevelopment and construction. Popular destinations from Heathrow Airport include megacities like New York, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, making Heathrow one of the top gateways to major cities in the world.
Heathrow Airport serves bustling London, the capital city of England. To get to the city from the airport one has a choice of using the Heathrow Express train, the London Underground or taxis. The Heathrow Express, a comfortable air-conditioned train with baggage space and free TV, is considered the fastest option. It runs every 15 minutes from Terminals 1, 2, and 3 from the Airport, and takes only 15 minutes to arrive at London Paddington. For those on a budget, the London Underground is the most cost-effective way into the city. With 3 undergrounds serving the 5 terminals, the Tube is easy to get to but slower than the Express, taking less than an hour to reach the city. If you’re looking for ultimate flexibility you can also grab a cab directly from the airport to your destination, as taxis can easily be found at the taxi ranks outside all Heathrow terminals (and worry not – the drivers have all passed the famous ‘Knowledge of London’ test).
For a trip out of London to somewhere more idyllic in the United Kingdom, you can grab a quick flight – less than 2 hours! – that will get you into Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. The gorgeous city was named European Capital of Culture in 1995 and offers some amazing scenic sights in the form of rolling hills and clear blue lochs. It also boasts a happening music and art scene. On top of that, Glasgow was once named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities for tourists.
But if Scotland’s not your thing another nearby popular destination from Heathrow is Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland. The birthplace of world-famous cruise ship, the Titanic, the city is home to the Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. Go to the actual historic site of the doomed ship’s construction and learn about her behind-the-scenes story, revel in the pride of her makers, and find out intimate details about her maiden voyage and eventual tragic end. Besides that, Belfast also features Cave Hill, Stormont Castle and more, for a well-rounded holiday experience.
For something a little closer to home, the city of Manchester is only an hour away by flight from Heathrow. There you can gallivant with the Mancunians, take a look at the Christmas Market on Albert Square if it’s the festive season, and visit Old Trafford Stadium for a closer look at the city’s pride and joy, Manchester United Football club.
But if you’d prefer to leave the United Kingdom on your vacation, why not try one of Heathrow’s most popular connections and fly to Frankfurt? Considered the most international city in the country, Frankfurt is the birthplace of renowned author and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and has a rich and colourful history recorded in its many museums and cathedrals. Don’t miss the Museumsufer, a row of more than 10 museums set side-by-side on both banks along the river Main, or the Römer, Frankfurt’s iconic town hall.
Or you can head further east from Heathrow to Amsterdam in the Netherlands to check out those iconic windmills. Take a boat cruise along the city’s many canals (Amsterdam is known as the ‘Venice of the North’), or enjoy al fresco dining in Dam Square right in the heart of Amsterdam, which served as the reception area for Napoleon and his troops during their takeover of the city in 1808.
For a taste of Asia, Heathrow Airport offers multiple direct flights to Hong Kong, one of Asia’s bustling metropolises. Nightlife experiences can’t get much better – at extremely affordable prices – than at Lan Kwai Fong, a street in Hong Kong filled with flashy discotheques, lively bars and colourful taverns. In this densely populated little city you can also chow down on authentic dim sum. Treat your sweet tooth to pineapple buns and sweet buttered rolls saturated with condensed milk, and finish off with popular beverage yuanyang.
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