A small airfield was established in 1929 and called Great West Aerodrome on land southeast of the hamlet of Heathrow. In 1944, the Heathrow area was being developed into a very large airfield for long distance military aircraft but the war ended before its completion. The Government developed the airfield as a civil airport which was called London Airport and later Heathrow Airport.
Terminal 1 opened in 1968 and was the base for British Airways domestic routes and some long haul routes. In 2005, the terminal was redeveloped and expanded, and became home to MBI, Aer Lingus, and several other Star Alliance airlines. Terminal 1 is to be closed and demolished in 2014 in preperation for the construction of the 2nd phase of Terminal 2 which is to be completed by 2019.
Terminal 2 is the oldest terminal and is currently under construction and will be considerably larger than before and similar to Terminal 5. The old Terminal 2 building originally opened in 1955 as the Europa Building and closed in 2009. Heathrow airport's new Ј2.5bn Terminal 2 (known as the Queen's Terminal) opened to passengers in June 2014.
Terminal 3 opened in 1961 as The Oceanic Terminal and handled long haul flight departures. It was renamed Terminal 3 in 1968 and expanded in 1970. Pier 6 was completed in 2006 which is used to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo which is operated by Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Qantas. In 2007, the forecourt was redeveloped with a new four lane drop-off area and large pedestrianised plaza and canopy to the front of the terminal building. BAA has plans for a major upgrade over the next 10 years.
Terminal 4 opened in 1986 and is connected to Terminals 1,2, and 3 via the Heathrow Cargo Tunnel. It is home to the SkyTeam alliance and some unaffiliated carriers. It has had a recent upgrade to enable it to accommodate 45 airlines with upgraded forecourt, extended check-in area, renovated piers, and departure lounges, and also 2 new stands to accommodate the Airbus A380 have been constructed, and a new baggage system installed.
Terminal 5 was opened in 2008, and is exclusively used by British Airways as their global hub, although in 2012 it will also be home to International Airlines Group. Terminal 5 consists of a four storey main terminal building linked with two satellite buildings via an underground people mover transit system. One of the buildings includeds dedicated aircraft stands for the Airbus A380 which became operational in June 2011. The main terminal building has 60 aircraft stands as well as more than 100 shops and resturants. Another satellite building may be built to provide another 16 stands.
to London Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport is 15 miles west of central London and easily accessible from the M4 and M25 motorways. Terminals 1, and 3 are close together at the centre of the airport site. Exit the M4 (junction 4) or M25 (junction 15) and follow signs for Heathrow Terminals 1 and 3. Terminal 4 is in the southern part of the airport site and has a separate entrance. Exit the M25 at junction 14 and follow signs for Heathrow Terminal 4. If you're coming from the M4, leave at junction 4b and follow the M25 south to junction 14. Terminal 5 is on the Western Perimeter Road and has its own separate access road, reached from junction 14 of the M25. If you're coming from the M4, exit at junction 4b and follow the M25 south to junction 14. Sat Nav postcodes are as follows: Terminal 1 (TW6 1AP), Terminal 2 (TW6 1EW), Terminal 3 (TW6 1QG), Terminal 4 (TW6 3XA), Terminal 5 (TW6 2GA).
Trains offer the quickest link between Heathrow and central London. There are two services to choose from:
Heathrow Express with a journey time of 15 minutes to or from London Paddington Station and departures every 15 minutes, and Heathrow Connect with a stopping service to London, calling at local stations in west London and reaching Paddington in 26 minutes.
Bus services link Heathrow with the national rail network at Feltham, Reading, Woking and Watford Junction.
Heathrow has three London Underground stations – one for Terminals 1 and 3, one each at Terminal 4 and Terminal 5. Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 station is in the central area between the terminals, which are a few minutes' walk away via underground walkways. Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 stations are in the basements of the terminal buildings.
National Express and other operators run services from Heathrow to more than 500 destinations. An extensive local bus network provides a low-cost route between Heathrow and towns in west London. Many services offer free travel within the airport site.
Travelling by taxi from Heathrow offers the flexible way of getting into London or beyond. There are three distinct fully licensed services. Whether it's a classic black cab, private hire car or the charm of a personal chauffeur service, there is something that suits all your needs.
There are a number of parking options. Whether you are looking for cheap airport parking at Heathrow or the nearest car park to your terminal. More information on car parking can be found on the official website.
Local hotels for London Heathrow Airport.