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Lunch in London -- Layover at Heathrow

We're headed on the overnight to London tomorrow on our way to Istanbul. We have a 6.5 hour layover and would like to leave the airport for lunch. Any recommendations on where we should head for lunch and an hour or so of people watching? A specific restaurant would be nice, but even an area of the city that would entertain us would be great.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I don't live in London any more, but I think you will need to be more specific. It is possible to do what you're planning if you eat somewhere which is near a Piccadilly Line station, but as that goes right through the city and passes many many great places to eat, maybe you should narrow it down a bit - ie. budget, nationality, ambience etc

    1. That seems like a long layover, but in reality, it is not really enough time to go into London and back for a leisurely lunch. If you are not travelling through Terminal 5 at LHR, the security process can be lengthy.

      That said, the trip into London doesn't take all that long and a quick lunch is possible.

      Another idea I often suggest if for people to take a short cab over to either Windsor or nearby Bray. There are several very nice pubs in Bray - one owned by Heston Blumenthal called The Hinds Head. it always get good reviews for the food, and I can vouch personally for its quality.

      1. Is 6.5 hours scheduled landing to take-off times, or net of check-in etc? What time are you due to land please?

        1. If you decide to get on the tube, there's quite a few good choices in Hammersmith, which would involve an easy change to the District Line at Acton Town, and should take a little over 30 minutes to get to from the time you get on the tube.

          My favorites are Franco Manca for Napoletan pizza (nearest tube station is Turnham Green), 101 Thai Kitchen for Thai food (nearest tube station is Stamford Brook) and Mahdi for Persian food (nearest tube station is Ravenscourt Park, but you could just stay on the Picadilly line and get off at Hammersmith).

          You could venture into central London, though you need to allow a good hour each way for that trip by tube. Chinatown is right by Leicester Square station, which is direct from the airport, so that could be a good choice, do a search on the board for recommended restaurants there. A faster but more expensive route would be the Heathrow Express, which should get you into Paddington in around 30 minutes. From there you'll be very close to areas like Notting Hill, Edgware Road, Bayswater and High Street Kensington.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Malik

            In the Hammersmith area, there's also Indian Zing that's great.

            1. re: Malik

              malik - it actually takes only 15 minutes on the h'row express. and then you're very close to very good stuff within a 5 minute cab radius: el pirata des tapas, al waha, pearl liang (walking distance) etc.

              you really should go and check out el pirata des tapas if you haven't already.

              1. re: howler

                I've never made it in the advertised 15 minutes from Heathrow to Paddington on the Heathrow Express. By the time you buy your ticket, wait for the next train, get out of the station at Paddington, you pretty much have to allow 30 minutes.

                Al Waha was very good. I've only made it to El Pirata Detapas once, and I liked it but wasn't wowed. But I'd like to try it once more before I make up my mind on it.

                1. re: Malik

                  you should indeed give el pirata another chance - make sure that you try the tortilla.

            2. This question does get asked here several times a year. Be sure to do a 'Search this board" search for Heathrow. You should be able to pull up a number of prior threads on this topic.

              1. My mum- and dad-in-law are in a similar situation: they land at Heathrow at 6:30 a.m. and do not depart (to Istantbul from Terminal 5) until 5:30 p.m. I have suggested to them that as long as they're back at Paddington Station by 3:30 p.m., they'll have time for a nice lunch in London. My research has turned up the Frontline Club as one of the better options nearby Paddington. Any thoughts? Any other suggestions?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Blumie

                  We ended up going to Windsor to visit the Castle and a nice lunch a a cafe in Windsor. Easy enough to take the bus and be back in plenty of time.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    Hereford Road is reasonably close to Paddington, and you can book online. I really like it and it is very British (sort of St Johnny)

                  2. Go to L'Atelier Robuchon, world class food but you can enter really easily and organize everything exactly what you wanted. They are very flexible! Otherwise The Ledbury in Nothing Hill is a perfect place for lunch serving some of the best food in London.