Every day more than 1300 flights take off and land at Heathrow. This means that crowds at Heathrow Arrivals can quickly become overwhelming. Being well-prepared and knowing your way around the terminals will make things easier for you.
In this article you will find all the information you need to know about arriving at Heathrow. Find information about your arrival terminal, read below about the passport control process, the restaurants and duty-free shops available and all your transport options from the airport. Plus we will explore your parking options in case you’re driving to the airport or if someone is coming to pick you up.
Read on for our extensive guide for Arrivals at Heathrow Airport and follow the links for more in-depth information from our blog.
*Due to COVID-19, all flights operate from Terminal 2 and Terminal 5.
Heathrow is a big and busy airport and you will benefit from knowing in advance which of the four terminals your flight arrives at. With ninety airlines operating from Heathrow Airport including 26 based at Terminal 2, 18 at Terminal 3, 35 at Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 being a hub for British Airways and Iberia, you can just imagine how confusing it can be if you don’t know where you need to be.
To find your arrival terminal you can simply check the live updates for Heathrow Airport Arrivals on the official airport website to find out which terminal your flight will land at. See whether your flight is expected to arrive on time or if it is delayed. Look for the flight number, the departure airport, the airline, and the Arrivals Heathrow terminals. Prepared with this information, you can then plan your arrival in terms of pick-ups, taking public transport or collecting your vehicle from the airport car park.
Keep in mind that while you can walk between Terminals 2 and 3, you will need to take the free train service to get from, for example, Heathrow Terminal 4 arrivals to Heathrow Terminal 5 arrivals. You can take the free inter-terminal shuttle train for no extra charge using an inter-terminal transfer ticket, an Oyster card, or a contactless credit/debit card.
Currently, all Arrivals Heathrow flights land at Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 until further notice. Check regularly the live airport updates to stay-up-to-date for any changes.
Arrivals Heathrow Passport Control
Upon arrival at Heathrow, you will have to clear passport control. As soon as you leave the plane, have your passport ready so that you can show it at one of the security booths. See below if you’re entitled to use one of the electronic passport gates (e-gates) to scan your passport and pass fast through security.
- have your passport or identity card ready
- if you’re wearing any face covering or sunglasses, remove them
- move through passport control together with your family or other companions
If you’re travelling from outside of the EEA you will need:
- Your passport and visa, if you need to have one, will be checked at border control, and you’ll be asked about the purpose of your travel in the UK.
- If you’re from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, or the United States, you can use the UK/EEA immigration lanes and the automatic e-gates.
If you’re a citizen of the EU/EEA (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway)*:
- Use the EU/EEA channel for a quick passport - ID check.
- Use e-gates if you’re an electronic passport holder. Passengers between 12 -17 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
- You should know that these gates use facial recognition technology. Once you scan your identity card or passport, the system will match the ‘chip’ with your face.
Besides your passport - ID, you will also need to have completed the UK Government passenger locator form, regardless of where you’re coming from. This form is part of the current coronavirus travel measures. Visit the official government website to download and fill in the form.
*From 1 January, all British nationals travelling to the EU, should have a renewed passport, valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel, and less than 10 years old.Visit the official UK government website for more information.
Getting to and From Arrivals Heathrow
There are numerous transportation options from and to Heathrow Airport. Based on your end destination, budget, and other preferences, you can choose among train, bus or coach, taxi or minicab, or driving to the airport.
Four train services operate to and from Heathrow Airport. These are TfL Rail, Heathrow Express, Rail-Air bus links, and the London Underground.
- TfL Rail runs every 30 minutes between Heathrow and central London. It stops at Terminals 2, 3, and 4, and then you can use the free train transfer to get to Terminal 5. You can pay with an Oyster card or debit/credit card.
- Heathrow Express is the fastest way to travel to central London, in London Paddington. It departs every 30 minutes, and the journey time is 15 minutes. The train stops at Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 and Heathrow Terminal 5. From Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3, you can change on to the free train to get to Terminal 4. You can pay with an Oyster card or debit/credit card. During peak hours, the fare is £25 and £22 off-peak.
- Rail-Air bus links run from Heathrow Airport to Feltham, Guildford, Reading and Watford Junction. Visit the official airport website page to plan your journey.
- There are three the London Underground stations at Heathrow, one for Terminals 2 and 3, one for Terminal 4 and one for Terminal 5. The journey time to central London is around 50 - 60 minutes. Trains run every 5 minutes at peak hours and every 9 minutes at off-peak. All stations are in Travelcard Zone 6.
By Bus or Coach
Whether your end destination is London or any other city or town in the UK, there’s a bus or coach service that will get you there.
- Local buses can take you to locations outside Greater London. All operators accept an Oyster card, a Visitor Oyster card, a payment card, and a Day Travelcard. Children between 5-18 years old and students may be eligible for free or discounted bus tickets.
- From Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, you can hop on one of the National Express coaches to get to London or any other destination in the UK. The central bus station is located between Terminals 2 and 3, and it’s only a few minutes walk from the terminals via underground walkways.
- Hotel Hoppa bus service is the most convenient way to get to your airport hotel at Heathrow. The buses call at stop 9 in the Terminal 2 forecourt and at stop 17 in the Terminal 5 forecourt. You can purchase a ticket from the driver, £6 one-way and £11 for a return journey. A single-family ticket costs £11 and a return £21.
By Taxi or Minicab
You can book a licenced fixed-price minicab to take you anywhere in mainland Britain or catch one of the typical London black taxis. All Heathrow flight arrivals terminals have an authorised taxi rank. Before getting in a cab, ask the driver about the cost of your journey. A ride from Heathrow to central London takes around one hour, and the fare ranges from £45–£70.
If you decide to travel from and to the airport, make sure that you’re heading to the right Terminal.
The airport is 24km (15 mi) west of London. It is easily accessible from the M4 motorway (junction 4) or M25 (junction 15). Once you’re approaching the airport, follow the signs for Terminals 2 & 3 and Terminal 4.
When heading to Terminal 5, you can take the M25 (junction 14) or M4, exit at junction 4b, and then follow the M25.
For your convenience, enter the postal address of your Terminal into your GPS:
- Terminal 2 - TW6 1EW
- Terminal 3 - TW6 1QG
- Terminal 4 - TW6 3XA
- Terminal 5 - TW6 2GA
There are many on-site parking options for all purposes: short term, long term, business, meet & greet, and valet. You can always check the trusted off-site car parks close to Heathrow Airport, which offer parking services at great prices.
Heathrow Arrivals Pick Up
When coming to the airport to pick up your passengers, you’ll need to park at any of the four short stay car parks. You are not allowed to park curbside while waiting for passengers to exit the airport. If you do, your vehicle risks being towed by the airport staff.
Each of the short stay car parking facilities is a 2 - 5 minutes walk to their corresponding terminal. Heathrow short stay car parks fares are £4.50 for the first 30 minutes and £7.80 for an hour. Read our updated Heathrow Short Stay Parking guide to see a full price table and your alternatives for short term stays.
Duty Free Shops at London Heathrow Arrivals
Heathrow Airport has over 150 retailers, but most of them are located in the Departure halls. There are, of course, some duty-free shops situated in Heathrow Arrivals in case you need to grab some last minute gifts or take advantage of the duty-free prices.
Continue shopping tax-free at all four terminals:
- Heathrow Terminal 2 Arrivals: Boots, Excess Baggage Company, WHSmith, We Know London, World Duty Free
- Heathrow Terminal 3 Arrivals: Boots, Excess Baggage Company, WHSmith, World Duty Free
- Heathrow Terminal 4 Arrivals: Boots, Excess Baggage Company, WHSmith, World Duty Free
- Heathrow Terminal 5 Arrivals: Boots, Excess Baggage Company, Voyager Entertainment, WHSmith, We Know London, World Duty Free
Read our complete Heathrow Duty-Free Shops guide to see the updated list of the available retailers.
Restaurants and Bars at Heathrow Arrivals
If you feel hungry after a long haul flight, there are a few restaurants and cafes at Flight Arrivals Heathrow. You can find everything from sandwiches, salads, snacks, drinks to a full menu.
See what your options are at:
- Terminal 2: Caffe Nero, M&S Simply Food, Nero Express
- Terminal 3: Caffe Nero, Costa, Giraffe
- Terminal 4: Caffe Nero, Costa,
- Terminal 5 Caffe Nero, Costa, Giraffe Stop, M&S Simply Food
Facilities at Heathrow Arrivals
Upon landing and after clearing passport control and any other necessary security checks, you can use a number of facilities located within Heathrow Airport Arrivals buildings.
At all Arrivals Halls you will find:
- cash machines
- at Heathrow Arrivals Terminal 2 Level 1
- at Heathrow Arrivals Terminal 3 Ground Floor
- at Heathrow Arrivals Terminal 4 Ground Floor
- at Heathrow Arrivals Terminal 5 Ground Floor
- internet facility
- at Terminal 2 Arrivals Level 1
- at Terminal 3 Arrivals near the escalator
- at Terminal 4 Arrivals near the escalator
- at Terminal 5 Arrivals next to the lifts
- toilets with baby changing facilities and accessible toilets
- Terminal 2 Arrivals Level 1
- Terminal 3 Arrivals Ground Floor
- Terminal 4 Arrivals Ground Floor and Mezzanine
- Terminal 5 Arrivals before and after security
- airline and Heathrow lounges - after security and arrivals
- information desk
- baggage reclaim and baggage enquiries counter
- bureau de change
- car rental desks
- help point
- lost property
- meeting point
- ticket sales
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While the contents of this article were compiled with the greatest possible care, there is the possibility that certain information will become outdated or incorrect by the time of reading. Last updated in December 2020.View informative-posts View all blogposts