Big Heatrow Layover? How to visit Windsor from Heatrow Airport

People who travel frequently know that
spending time at airports is an inevitability, whether they like it or do not
like it, and most of us do not like it very much, preferring to avoid it
whenever possible.
We also like to avoid it, especially since we
usually travel with family and with children this can become more difficult. To
avoid that these moments are difficult for the family, before each trip we
always look for the best way to enjoy the hours that we have to wait in the
airports (you can see here our post: How to survive long airport layovers with
children’s) and , one of the airports we have spent the longest time is Heatrow
in London.
We’ve been to Heatrow several times already,
and despite having several offers that can help to spend a few hours, this is
not at all one of our favorite airports to stay for many hours, as we tend to
find it very confusing, noisy and very busy, as well as being one of the
busiest in the world, with thousands of people going through it all the time.

A few years ago, in one of our tours of
Heatrow, we tried to organize our trip so that instead of spending an hour at
the airport, our layover passed for close to 24 hours and that allowed us to
spend an exceptional day in London (you can read more about our day here).
However, in our last layover we had come on a long trip, so we felt it was time
to return home and the idea of ​​extending our stay in London was out of the
We then had a layover from around 11am at
Heatrow airport that we did not want to pass inside the airport at all, as we
are sure would be huge and difficult times to pass.
Then we were sure that we would have this
time at the airport (of course, if we did not have any setbacks that
fortunately did not happen), we started at home just thinking about what to do
to enjoy these precious hours.
The main possibilities that came to us were
to visit central London, a visit to Legoland, which is not too difficult to
access from Heatrow airport and, finally, to visit the city of Windsor. As you
already know by the title of our post, our choice was to make the visit to the
city of Windsor, and we will explain the reasons for our choice.
Visiting central London is always appetizing
but as about 2 years ago we had been there and as the relocation is still
expensive we decided this would not be our choice.
Hypothesis number two was very attractive, to
visit Legoland but, we were traveling for more than 20 hours, having already
carried out a flight of about 11 hours, reason why the visit to Legoland would
not be properly taken advantage of, besides we would have a few hours to enjoy
it, and to spend the money of the ticket that, still is considerable, not to
enjoy it, we chose not to realize it. However, this is a visit we really have
to make, because our son and, not only him, is a huge Lego fan, and we are sure
that this visit will not stop him from marveling.
So, our decision fell on the visit to the
city of Windsor, which we recommend very highly, since it is a wonderful way to
enjoy the hours you have to wait for your next flight. But if you are planning
this possibility, there are certain issues that have to be taken into account,
the first is time.
We all want to make the most of the layover
time at an airport, but if there is something nobody wants to risk losing their
flight and thus risk ruining their entire trip. Although Windsor is close to
being close to Heatrow Airport, we do not recommend that you consider this if
your layover time is less than 8 hours. And why do we talk about 8 hours?
Because even though 8 hours might seem like a long time to stroll through a
city, in reality it will not be 8 hours that you will have available, but much
From the time your plane lands to being out
of the airport, it will always take at least an hour and, if you do not have to
pick up your luggage. And when we talk about an hour we are being positive
because something like an hour and a half will be more time that can take time,
and this time of delay can always be conditioned by several factors always
unpredictable when we refer to travel by plane.

In addition to the time it will take to get
out of the airport, you should count on the time you should spend before your
plane leaves the airport. At the very least, we always recommend 2 hours, we do
not like to play with these subjects and fortunately we never lose any plane
but, even respecting these two hours in advance, we have already caught our
scares. Arriving less than 2 hours to the airport is risk losing your flight
and I do not even recommend this time, especially at an airport like Heatrow,
so I would always aim for at least 2h30m. So, made the accounts, one can easily
see that from the 8 hours of layover, close to 4 are destined to enter and
leave the airport. For the remaining hours, we must also travel to Windsor and
return to Heatrow.

We pass on another of the essential issues to
anyone who is preparing a visit to Windsor from Heatrow Airport, which is: How
to get from Heatrow to Windsor?
Well, there are several options that you can
choose from the time you have and of course your budget.
This is probably the most comfortable and
quickest way to travel from Heatrow Airport to Windsor. There are several
companies that work from the airport and the trip is short, some 15 Kms and
lasts approximately 20 minutes. The main disadvantage is the cost, which will
be around 45 to 50 pounds.
However, there is a possibility of getting to
make this trip for much more affordable prices, and we are talking about the
possibility of pre-book to local cab from Windsor. In order to make this taxi
journey cheaper, at around £ 20 per journey, you can book your taxi through
companies working in Windsor and you will be able to make the round trip to
Heatrow Airport Windsor and then his return.

To travel in this way, you can consult the
following companies by clicking on their name to access their official website.
However, there may be other companies, so we
advise you to do a search and find the best deal for you.
If you have not pre-book and wish to take a
taxi back to the airport, we recommend that you take your taxi to the Windsor
area where taxis are easily and frequently available and even find taxi rank,
which is right next to the Castle. To get there, you only have to turn right at
the exit of the castle through the gate of Henry VIII, go down a little at all
times around the castle walls and you will see the taxi rank, nothing to cheat.
Another possibility that may be useful, but
also expensive, is to book a private tour, in which a meeting point will be
arranged to start your visit. In addition to being a comfortable option, you
have the advantage of packing your bags when, for example, you make your visit
to Windsor Castle which, if you want to carry it with a very large luggage, you
may not be able to enter. However, also this transport service and to store
your luggage may be subject to additional payment, so we recommend that you do
an online search to see and compare prices, which vary greatly considering the
number of people making the tour, the number of luggage, the meeting place …
Let us now speak of the last hypothesis which
was chosen by us, and the reason we chose it is obvious, the price. We are
talking about going from Heatrow Airport to Windsor using the local bus. This
will be the option that takes you longer, so we only recommend for those who
actually spend a lot of time at Heatrow Airport, as we mentioned, our layover
time was over 10 hours, so we had enough time for this choice and, we are
required to recommend it to anyone as we like to travel as much as we can and
thus save as much money as we can. However, let’s say again, this option is
even for those who have many hours available, it is not worth risking losing
the flight for this tour, however good it may be.
Catching the bus is extremely easy for anyone
who is in Terminal 5 at Heatrow Airport. If this is not your situation and you
are in another Terminal, getting to T5 is also easy, we explain how to:
To get to Terminal 5 from Terminal 1, 2 and
3, you only have to take the Heatrow Express train, which connects between the
different terminals. In addition to being a quick trip, the train leaves with a
frequency of 15 minutes and, always good, is totally free for the trips made
inside the airport.
Regarding Terminal 4, you will not be able to
make this connection, which will have to be done through the red buses 482 and
490, which make this transfer, also free of charge. The journey takes only a
few minutes and you will not have to wait too long for your bus.

However, once
again we leave the warning that you will have to rely on this time of changes
between the different terminals when calculating the time you can spend in
Windsor and, do not forget to leave some room for some unforeseen event that
may occur. Do not worry about knowing where you need to catch the train or the
Bus, inside the terminals, you just have to follow the various directions
that lead you to where to get the connection to Terminal 5, there is nothing to
After arriving at Terminal 5, you have only
to follow the directions that lead you to the different Bus, something that has
nothing to cheat. When you get there, you have two chances to get to Windsor,
but we’ll start by talking about what we’ve used that does not make any change
The hypothesis we are referring to is the
First Berkshire bus that runs Route 8, between Terminal 5 from Heatrow and
Windsor, through Staines and Eghan. 

To take this bus, you have to go to stop number 9, and you can get the ticket from the driver. You can pay in pounds or credit card, which was our option.

The bus usually leaves every 30 minutes (you
can check the time here), and travel to
Windsor in less than an hour when there are no setbacks.
Although the Bus ended its course in Windsor,
we asked the driver which is the best station to go out to the Castle, who
recommended us and, in a very nice way, advised us in good time to leave at the
Windsor Parish Church stop (Stop A). Anyway, there it’s hard to get lost, as it
is very close to the Castle and you will easily know you have arrived.

As for the price, it is cheaper to buy a
ticket that offers the possibility of a return and that is what we did on the
driver’s advice, with the price of the trip being £ 6.50 per adult and £ 4.50
per child (from 5 to 15, less than that age is free).

The return to Heatrow from Windsor on the
First Berkshire 8 bus is also very easy to do. To do so, just go to the bus stop
outside the Parish Church (Stop A) , or to Windsor Barclays Bank (Stop C), and wait for
your bus.

If you have done the same thing as us, you do not need to buy your
ticket, you just have to show what you got on your first trip, just be careful
not to throw it away before you reach your final destination, Heatrow Airport.
the last bus stop, so you have nothing to cheat about.
If your plane does not depart from Terminal
5, you will need to use the means of transport mentioned above to get to your
destination and simply follow the directions easily visible at the airport.

There is yet another alternative, which we
did not use to oblige a bus change and so the journey time will be more time
consuming, even though the cost is exactly the same. And this hypothesis is to
take the First Berkshire Bus 7 which departs from the Central Bus Station at
Heatrow Airport, which can be reached on foot from Terminal 1 and 2.

This bus
departs towards Slough Bus Station and then , you will need to take one of the
following buses to Windsor Castle, the 2, the 8 or the 702. We leave here
notice to be careful on your return because if bus 7 is your choice for return,
when you arrive in Slough, you will have to leave Wellington Street as the bus
does not enter Slough Bus Station.


– The first advice is, organize your tour
very well, what you want to see, how much time will be available. If you want
to get to know the city, a lunch, count for at least 3, 4 hours, which should
always add the time of leaving the airport, 1h30, at least 2h hours before the
plane leaves, but we recommend 3h in international flights and, some to the
shipping time it will take. If you have this time and preferably a little more?
Advance, it is very worth taking advantage of these hours, sure to be much more
precious than the torture of waiting so many hours at the airport.
– Sometimes we have a great plan and we want
to do something really, but things do not go very well, the plane is delayed,
or it takes longer than expected to leave the airport … When you leave the
airport and you are close of your means of transportation is the best time to
check if you have time to carry out your plan, if yes, advance, if not, stay
for another time.
– If possible, avoid carrying your suitcase.
Many connecting flights do not require you to take your bag, being transported
directly from one plane to another. If this is not the case, consider leaving
it in a locker that the airport offers, the cost is reduced and will make your
visit more enjoyable and, if you decide to visit Windsor Castle, avoid the
danger of being at the door for no to take with him.
– Do not forget that the airport is huge and
that going from one terminal to another takes time, and even in a terminal it
may take until you get to your boarding gate, so do not waste unnecessary time
to see the shops …
– While strolling around the city, have fun,
enjoy, but always be aware of the hours and near the time of departure, try to
walk closer to the place where you will catch your means of transportation,
being careful to address it with the necessary advance.
Windsor is a very beautiful city. We love to
wander the streets, by the Thames, it’s a great place to shop, eat (we eat
delicious fish and chips at Chippy of Windsor and of course see the castle and, if
you’re lucky, see the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle, which takes place at 11am on
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and in June and July this change
takes place almost every day.

Anyway, you can consult the British Army’s
schedule through its official website to see if the Changing of the Guard will occur on
the day of your visit (click here).

The guard change takes place inside Windsor
Castle, so you will need to purchase a ticket (see here for entrance fees andtimetables), but if you are not planning to visit the Castle, you can watch the
guards to march next to the castle, when they arrive and leave the same. Note
that if you are planning to catch the bus near the Castle at the time of
changing the guard, this street is closed to traffic and the bus does not pass,
so you have to wait for the next one or, go down the street and pick up the
next pay, which has nothing to cheat because just go down the street always
next to the Castle.

To visit the Castle, you can do so between
9:30 a.m. and 5:55 p.m. in summer time and between 9:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in
the winter. To consult more in detail the opening hours and prices, we advise
you to visit the official website clicking here.
To finish, we wanted to say that although we
have throughout our article left several warnings to be careful with the time,
this is a visit that, if it can do, we recommend even. Spending several hours
in an airport can be a nightmare, especially for those who travel with
children, and the possibility of taking advantage of these hours and making a
visit as extraordinary as the one we make pays off.
Thank you very much for visiting our Non Stop Family travel blog, we hope the information we give here is useful and, do not
forget to leave your comments, opinions or questions in our comments box.

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