UK airports are among the busiest in the world. With about 200 million people travelling to and from UK airports every year, there is more than enough evidence to back that claim.
With over 40 commercial airports, the UK is always brimming with passengers and travellers; both domestic and from abroad.
If you are one among them, you’d know how pre and post-flight tasks become more arduous than they actually should. Hence, it is worth checking out the best airports in UK in terms of the facilities, connectivity, airport transfers, etc. to ensure that your travels are safe, convenient, easy and fun; just as they should be!
The Best Modern Airports in UK
Modern airports are not just airstrips that facilitate air transportation as was the case earlier. They have evolved and developed into something far greater. Most airports in the UK boast of world-class entertainment and recreational facilities.
There are hordes of restaurants, each specializing in a particular type of cuisine, to take care of your hunger pangs. You could put your feet up, read a book, listen to music or do anything that helps you relax and unwind after a long flight awaiting your airport transfers or a connecting flight at the airport lounge. If you need to spend your time to have a quick trim or a warm massage, you could visit a spa or a salon located at the terminal. And yes, Wi-Fi connectivity is a given advantage. So there is no dearth of entertainment options.
All of these facilities were almost non-existent a few decades ago but thanks to the ever-growing popularity of air transportation, all these perks are now being viewed as basic requirements. The top ranking airports of the state pride themselves on their quality of service which is greatly enhanced by all these ‘add-on services’ that modernisation has heralded.
The airport’s connectivity, its degree of modernisation and the airport transfer facilities for its passengers are the 3 factors that determine just how good an airport is. And the ones listed below fare pretty well on all these 3 parameters.
1) Heathrow Airport
Easily one of the busiest airports in the world and the busiest in the kingdom, the Heathrow was host to a mindboggling 78 million passengers in 2017. Heathrow connects to all the major cities of the UK including Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, Inverness and Aberdeen. The airport is used by more than 80 domestic and international carriers to ferry passengers to and from 90 countries across the globe.
Heathrow has tonnes of facilities for its patrons that help them enjoy their time at the terminal. Shopping, dining, lounging, you name it, Heathrow has it! Apart from the general lounge, Heathrow has a number of independent lounges where you could relax, take a shower, take a nap in your private bedroom or even get a spa treatment. Their cafes offer a 15-minute menu which works just well if you want to grab a sumptuous meal in quick time.
Major Cities Near Heathrow
Major cities and popular holiday destination can be reached from Heathrow using trains, coaches or by car. Many small and big cities with history, art and architecture are located near the LHR airport.
The nearest place you can visit is Windsor as distance from Heathrow to Windsor is merely 10 miles and you have trains from within the airport terminals for Windsor.
For those visiting the suburb Wembley, Heathrow to Wembley takes around 45 minutes by car and lesser by tube. But you will need to change stations as you will not get a direct train / tube for Wembley.
Travelling from Heathrow to Central London takes around 60 minutes by road and around 30 minutes by tube or Heathrow Express. Central London is 15 miles from LHR and you can pre-book a private chauffeured cab or can hire luxury coaches if travelling with a big group.
The port city of Southampton is just over 60 miles from Heathrow airport and you can take either a train or private chauffeur services from Heathrow. Alternatively, you can also take a Southampton port shuttle bus from London.
5.Oxford & Cambridge
If you plan to visit the famous Oxford and Cambridge after landing at Heathrow, you will need to plan your route as Oxford, Cambridge and Heathrow form a triangle with former in the west of Heathrow while latter in the east. Oxford is nearer to Heathrow than Cambridge with the distance spanning around 45 miles while Cambridge lies 71 miles away. Oxford to Heathrow can also be reached apart from the usual modes, by special coaches directly from the Terminal 5 or from the Central Bus Station. It is ideal not to club Oxford and Cambridge together if it a single day trip.
Know how to reach Cambridge from Heathrow so that you can explore another seat of exemplary education and research. You can reach via train, bus / coach or can drive down to Cambridge in a private chauffeured car. Distance between Heathrow and Cambridge is 56 miles via the train route and takes around on an average 2 hours to reach Cambridge train. Alternatively, chauffeured cabs take around 1 hour 30 minutes to cover 72 miles by road from Heathrow.
Heading for cruises from Dover after you land at the Heathrow airport? The Port of Kings Dover is 100 miles from Heathrow. There are no direct train or coach services for Heathrow to Dover. You can reach Dover from London via the train or bus service. On the other hand, if you hire a private vehicle or chauffeured services from Heathrow, you can reach Dover comfortably and get door-to-door drop services.
A World Heritage Site, Canterbury holds secrets of the middle ages and Roman and Gothic architectural marvels. For history and art lovers, this place cannot be missed. With 91 miles from Heathrow using the M25 route, Canterbury can be reached in 1 hour 36 minutes. With no direct train available from Heathrow, you tend to reach faster by private transfers. Hiring luxury coaches or minibuses work out well when in need to transfer large group travelling together.
The beach town is nestled 76 miles away from Heathrow airport on the south-eastern coast. Popular for attractions like Adventure Island, Hadleigh Castle, the Cliff Lift, Southend Pier and similar other places apart from the splendid beach, this is a popular resort town to visit if you are looking for some leisure and rejuvenation. Heathrow to Southend by taxi or private vehicle should be the ideal choice for you do not have any direct train or coach service and the travel time involved is longer.
Wonder if you could take a train to Edinburgh from Heathrow? Certainly, though you do not get any direct train, you can travel by train taking an average of 5 hours 30 minutes of travel time and covering a distance of 329 miles from Heathrow to Edinburgh.
Where to Stay?
To find good hotels near Heathrow airports is a task. Not because you do not get any good ones, but because you are spoilt for choices. 5-star hotels, business and upscale hotels, boutique hotels, B&B options, homestays – you get what you ask for; though some of them might not be situated exactly near the terminal gate or near the airport.
Luxury chains like Hilton, Sofitel, Marriott, Taj, Novotel, Premier Inn and others are all located very near to Heathrow airport and offering you to indulge and taste their offerings of luxury.
Attractions Near Heathrow Airport
A lot to discover, experience and enjoy, you can find the best of attractions and sights near Heathrow. Here’s a quick list to help you to plan your visit.
Thorpe Park – Theme park with some of the biggest roller-coasters – 5 miles
Syon Park & Garden – Gardens – 6 miles
Windsor Castle – Royal Residence – 6.7 miles
Musical Museum – The world of Music – 7 miles
Sea Life – Chessington World of Adventure & Zoo – 10.4 miles
2) Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport, another one of London’s 6 airports, used to be the world’s busiest single-use runway airport until recently. Gatwick connects London to UK towns and cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and Newquay apart from the more prominent ones of course. About 56 airlines today operate flights through this airport.
Apart from the cab services, passengers could avail the services of executive coaches at Gatwick Airport to reach the airport or their destination in the city in a luxurious ride. Gatwick is easily connected to major cities of UK through trains and coaches and also a good number of hotels near the airport to make your stay comfortable. Read more information about this Gatwick Airport.
Gatwick Airport to Central London is one of the popular routes of Gatwick.
3) Manchester Airport
The cities of Southampton, Norwich, Exeter and Gibraltar, besides the usual suspects, all form one part of the 2-way route involving Manchester.
Football fanatics and shopaholics have every reason to look forward to some time at the airport as there are a lot of ‘Manchester airport exclusive’ products available here.
Travelling to and from the airport is relatively hassle-free with the option of booking an airport chauffeur at Manchester. With a luxurious vehicle and a trained professional at your service, there shouldn’t be a reason for you to be disappointed with airport transfers. Manchester City Centre hosts the best of the hotels and you can easily find one suiting your needs and budget.
Travelling from Manchester to various places in UK is easy and trains, coaches or car can be pre-booked for the same.
Manchester Airport to Newcastle is one of the popular routes of Manchester.
4) Liverpool Airport
Though the coastal city is not quite as large as the 2 big London airports, Liverpool is one of the best rated UK airports and it provides direct connectivity with the cities of Londonderry, Belfast, Isle of Man and New quay. Liverpool airport taxi offers an affordable and convenient travel option to and from popular Liverpool hotels.
Coaches and taxis are popular mode of transport for exploring Liverpool or commuting to and fro to Liverpool from major locations.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport to London Euston are one of the popular routes of Liverpool.
5) Newcastle Airport
You could travel to Dublin, Cork, Jersey, Southampton, Cardiff and Bristol through Newcastle airport. An airport shuttle and an airport taxi are your best options for commuting to the airport.
With their wide airport connectivity, easily available and classy transport options, and all the things you could do while at the airport, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these airports rank among the best in the United Kingdom.
Newcastle Airport to Manchester is one of the popular route of Newcastle.