On our trip from Amsterdam to Singapore we had a 9 hours layover at Heathrow. What to do being stuck at an airport with a very active toddler? Of course, go out to explore the city if you can (just be sure to have enough time to return). If you, for any reason, cannot or don’t want, read on.
Fortunately, Heathrow is big enough and features a playground next to Gate A1 with a separate area for smaller and bigger kids. In reality, kids of all ages go to try out both rooms but they have the variety to choose from.
Still, it was tiring but we made the best of our time there.
In the playroom the child must be supervised by a parent. Which is not bad – it’s a great chance to dive into the childhood yourself, slide, jump, build forts with huge Lego units and just lie on the soft floor while your little one plays nearby.
When you get hungry, you may want to try out the Giraffe Cafe. There are three huge (fake) giraffes in the middle and tiny ones are given to kids for them not to get bored too soon. The food and smoothies are good enough.
Then go on a tour around the airport, climb up and down the stairs and escalators (yes, our favourites), ride the trolleys, watch the planes out the huge windows and return to the playground and stay there till the boarding starts.
Riding trolleys is so much fun. Your own pram is too boring.
We had dreaded that long waiting time at the airport but everything went smoothly because of all the attractions listed above. An airport is a big and exciting place for a child and if you run out of entertaining ideas, just go to explore it together. Still, it was tiring but we made the best of our time there and managed to keep our toddler interested and awake up to the boarding time when she was so exhausted and fell asleep as soon as we reached our seats. And it’s not a secret that sleep is the best activity for the kid on a plane.
This was a planned stop and we knew we would have all that time and were ready for that. But if you have a delayed flight, we’d recommend demanding a hotel room from the airline if you have such a long stop, like we did in Melbourne after a delayed flight and missed connection when we had to wait a whole night.