Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge... There's no shortage of things to do and see in London!

8 hours in London!


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  • Added on: August 13th, 2007
My flight lands in London en route to Athens--but we have an 8 hour layover in London first! Although I've never navigated Heathrow or London transportation before, I'm assuming it will be possible to leave the airport, dash around London hitting the biggies, and come back? Or would y'all recommend staying put?

Secondly, if I did leave the airport, where should I go? Where would you go if you only had 8 hours to spend there?
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  • Added on: August 13th, 2007
I've done such a mini stay in London, but you really cannot do too much.

1 hour to exit the aircraft, immigration, customs
1 hour on the Tube into London

4 hours in London!

1 hour on the Tube back to LHR
1 hour for security (and we assume your luggage is still checked with boarding pass)

What time of day and day of week will you be blowing through? What kind of stuff interests you? I'd recommend keeping things simple--take the Piccadilly Line to whatever stop, hanging out and seeing a sight or two, have lunch or whatever, and get back on. Remember that London is BIG. Smile
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Lost in Place
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  • Added on: August 13th, 2007
Pick one place you really want to go to (i.e. Tate Modern) and concentrate on that. Invest in the Heathrow express rather than the tube (15mins to central London rather than an hour). Oh, and make sure you are back to Heathrow in plenty of time as the security checks can be considerable.


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  • Added on: August 14th, 2007
That sounds like plenty of time. Most of the "biggies" are clustered together, not far from the Thames -- you've got Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace all relatively near each other with a comfortable enough walking distance among them (and are well linked by public transport if you don't want to walk). If you do like walking and the the weather is pleasant, a walk along the river itself is pretty nice, especially on the south side -- you could walk from the London Eye to the Tate Modern, cross over the Milennium Bridge and photograph St. Paul's Cathedral. I would recommend taking public transport to see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, as these are further out. Have fun!

Frank Wilson

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  • Added on: August 15th, 2010
I would suggest you pick one of your favorite London attraction ( Not Madame Tussuad or London Eye )
which can be easily seen with lesser time, such as tower bridge , south bank or oxford street shopping , or you can have nice meal in one of London's favorite restaurant and get back soon.

For more information on London , visit


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  • Added on: August 16th, 2010
I've also done quick day stays in London. If you want to maximize your time in the city, you can take the Heathrow express, which cuts the hour-long tube ride down to about 15 minutes, plus however long the tube takes from Paddington to your desired destination, let's say 30 minutes total. The tube is complex, so with a tight time frame, figure out how to get where you want to go before you actually get there.

As I see it, you basically have 2 choices:
1 - pick an attraction to go and see. If you've never been before, I'd probably pick the Tower of London.
2 - wander the city centre. This is what I've done both times I've had a few hours between flights. One time I started near St. Paul's, the other time, I started near parliament. Both were great walks through areas with great history and architecture. If scheduling works, you might consider hooking up with a walking tour (London Walks offers the most variety), you'll get a little more out of it. But just wandering is good, too. Find somewhere to eat, or sit in a park for a while and enjoy. London has a great atmosphere, IMHO.

Remember that you may not be able to recheck your luggage right away after customs, but there is luggage storage at the airport and in train stations. It's a bit pricy, but mostly just adds some extra time to getting out of the airport.

Also remember that Heathrow can be a little nuts, so consider giving yourself at least 3 hours to get there, and get through security - particularly if you weren't able to check your luggage through in the morning. 2.5 hours if you're using the express train.


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  • Added on: September 6th, 2010

sounds like a film - 8 HOURS IN LONDON! :D

As has already been mentioned - you'll need to factor in the time from your plane through customs and again on your return to Heathrow, so you probably need to take around 3 hours off of your 8 hours (at Heathrow you need to allow 2 hours to check-in for European flights).

You can get into Central London Paddington in 15 minutes with the Heathrow Express - you can find the timetable here:

From there you can get onto the underground system and go anywhere you want. Undergound system journey planner:

Not sure what your interests are or whether you've been to London before but it might just be worth simply heading into the heart of the West End of London (Piccadilly) - takes around 11 mins on the tube. Here you'll find plenty of shops, bars, cafes. If you like a brisk walk, from Piccadilly, you could possibly walk up Shaftesbury Avenue to Covent Garden although you might be looking at your watch too much to enjoy it.

Hope that helps


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  • Added on: October 27th, 2010
i did a day trip to London once and I think if you stick to the city center yopu can still take in alot in a few hours. I would suggest going to trafalger square then to Westminster and finishing up on the London Eye to get a great view of the city. Dont stray too far or you could get lost and miss your flight!

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