Best Sightseeing Near London Heathrow Airport

Waterworks Railway near Heathrow Airport

If you are looking for some great sightseeing near London Heathrow Airport, there are some great places to see in London not too far away.

You can use Heathrow Express to travel from the airport to central London in approximately 15 minutes, but what if you don’t want to venture out for an extended stay? There’s a lot to do within a 30-minute drive of Heathrow, and we created this list of our favorites to help you find the fun quickly. Not all attractions are in London, but they’re all nearby with a short commute to and from the airport.

Favorite Places for Sightseeing Near London Heathrow Airport:

Favorite Places for Sightseeing Near London Heathrow Airport

Hounslow Urban Farm

Approximate Distance from Airport: 1 mile

Head out to the farm to stretch those legs after or before a long flight for some unique sightseeing near London Heathrow Airport. You’ll meet Willow the Barn Owl and all her friends, including ducks, guinea pigs, turtles, chickens, peacocks, snakes, goats, donkeys, and ponies. Family-friendly activities are scheduled daily, including up-close animal encounters.

You can buy a family ticket for just £23. A family is two adults with up to two children or one adult with up to three children.

Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway

Approximate Distance from Airport: 4 miles

The Hampton and Kempton Waterworks Railway was established in the early 1900s to transport coal to large engines pumping water into London. The railway was less than four miles long and was also used to transport disposable furnace ash. After 32 years of operation, use of the railway was discontinued. Restorations started in 2003 under the guidance of the Metropolitan Water Board Railway Society.

The narrow-gauge railway is now open for short rides that loop through southwest London. Your family will board a locomotive built in 1903 and take in scenic views on the short ride. You can also explore the history of the railway at the on-site museum and allow the kids to blow off some steam in the play area.

Picnic tables are available if you want to pack a lunch.

Thorpe Park Resort

Approximate Distance from Airport: 7 miles

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush for your sightseeing near London Heathrow Airport, you can’t go wrong by spending the day at this resort. It’s home to the UK’s fastest roller coaster that goes 80 mph and the first horror-themed roller coaster with a “beyond vertical” drop of 100 feet.  Your family can also enjoy water rides and live entertainment in addition to a variety of dining options.

Day tickets start at just £35 when you book online.

Hanwell Zoo

Approximate Distance from Airport: 7 miles

If you want to another opportunity to see animals when you are sightseeing near London Heathrow Airport, you’ll find this small zoo in Brent Lodge Park in Hanwell. It’s open seven days a week except Christmas day from 10 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m., depending on the time of year. In addition to a seasonal butterfly garden, the zoo is home to lemurs, cranes, meerkats, mara, mice, frogs, plus a variety of other mammals, reptiles, and birds.

This is a low-cost option for family-friendly fun near London. It’s not nearly as large as the London Zoo, so younger children may find it less overwhelming.

Windsor Castle

Approximate Distance from Airport: 9 miles

Windsor Castle is one of the oldest occupied castles in the world, and it’s open to visitors year-round. The queen spends a lot of her weekends in the castle, and nearly 40 monarchs have called it home since it was established in the 11th century.

You can buy tickets to tour the castle online or book a guided tour to take advantage of live narration. Group and private tours are available online.

Kew Royal Botanical Gardens

Approximate Distance from Airport: 9 miles

This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to more than 50,000 plants. It’s the playground of many botanical experts and a leader in the conservation field. Walk through the alpine rock garden. View more than 14,000 trees in the arboretum. Grab a bite to eat at one of the on-site restaurants or cafes.

You can buy family tickets to reduce the cost of entry. Depending on family size, the prices run from £15.00 to £24.00 without added donation.

LEGOLAND Windsor Resort

Approximate Distance from Airport: 11 miles

For more even more sightseeing near London Heathrow Airport, you’ll have to venture a bit further from the airport to find this theme park, but the rides, shows, and live entertainment will more than make up for the drive. Send the little ones to LEGO Driving School, then let them breeze through the treetops while sitting on a LEGO dragon. Rides vary from carousels and swings to boats that soar high in the sky.

Tickets start at just £29 when you book at least seven days in advance online.  

Spotting Points

Approximate Distance from Airport: varies

What if you don’t have time to venture out to any of the attractions on this list? You can spend what time you do have spotting airplanes flying in and out of the airport. There are various spotting points at the airport, including an observation deck near gates 15 and 16.

If you have time for nothing else, try your hand at aviation photography. Go to one or more of the spotting points and try to capture in-flight pictures of various aircraft. Even young kids are often enthused by the arrival and departure of big planes.

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