Plane Spotting Heathrow

Plane Spotting Heathrow

The majority of hotels of use for Plane Spotting and Aircraft Photography at Heathrow are located on the perimeter on Bath Road to the north of the airport.

Hotels are located all along the perimeter giving opportunities for viewing both ends of the runway depending of the runway in use. 

Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel
is widely regarded as one of the best hotels for spotting. Indeed, it may now be one of the best places for spotting overall as other areas like the Queens building and the visitors centre close. The hotel is situated on the Northern perimeter road and is linked with all the terminals with a complimentary shuttle bus. Ask for a room on the third floor overlooking the airport. From here you will have great views of runway 27R / 09L and many of the taxiways. Distant views of runway 27L / 09R can be seen from the rooms, although either ACARS or an SBS-1 unit would be useful to assist in reading any movements that use this runway. With patience, you can expect to read virtually everything during the day.
Location: *** Couldn’t be much better than this being so close to 27R / 09L
Spotting: *** With the correct rooms you will not be disappointed. Room 2185 is a twin room and confirmed as having great views. The room overlooks the terminal 1 cul de sac and has close views of the nearby runway 27R. From this room departures landing or lining up on Runway 27L can also be read off with a good pair of binoculars.
Photos: ** Good photos are possible from the rooms depending on the runway in use. The glass in the rooms does not pose a problem. On a sunny day you are into sun therefore the hotel is no good in the winter for photos. In the summer good shots can be had early morning and from 1800 in the evening.
Value: ** Rooms generally between £80-150
Book:  

The Marriott Hotel website is the best site to go through as they offer dedicated plane spotting packages which guarantees a great runway view room saving the hassle of worrying if you are going to get a room with a view. The above link will send you direct to the plane spotting packages page.

We highly recommend an upgrade to a club room if your budget allows. This gives access to the club lounge which also has great views of the airport. Free buffet food is available in the evening along with a buffet English breakfast in the morning which often works out better value than paying for your meals in the local fat food outlets. A link to the executive room prices, as well as other runway view rooms can be found here

 AGODA can occasionally offer cheaper deals than the official website, however runway rooms are not guaranteed using this site so it is down to luck on the day if you can get a good room or not.

 

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Above : Typical shot from the Heathrow Renaissance Hotel upper floor rooms

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Renaissance spotting Heathrow Heathrow hotel spotting

Heathrow Hotel Photography

 Typical room view gives the expansive views across the airport (double click photo to expand)

Credit Tripadvisor

Taxiway shots can be taken with around a 300 lens as shown above. Credit Tripadvisor  Runway shots require a shorter lens due to its proximity to the airport. Credit Tripadvisor

 

Hilton Garden Inn Terminal 2                                                                                                                                Updated 2020
Is a new hotel only a 10 minute walk from terminal 2 arrivals. Runway views are available from this hotel. A main attraction is the rooftop sky bar with great views out onto the airport.
Location: *** Excellent, only a 10 minute walk from terminals 2, 3 and the central bus and train station.
Spotting: **

Runway view rooms give a view over to runway 27L/09R, and parts of terminal 3. The sky bar opens at 1500 and gives great views over the airport and is highly recommended. 

Room 1228 has great views of Runway 27L restricted views of traffic rolling out on Runway 27R

Photos: ** We are still awaiting the initial reports from the hotel however the rooms and bar appear to have views over to the runway and taxiway, however for most of the day will be into sun.
Value: ** Rooms generally between £100-150
Book:  

The AGODA website generally offers good rates at this hotel. The option to book a runway view is available on AGODA which should guarantee your room with a view. If the quoted price is acceptable please make the booking through this link as the small commission paid by the hotel helps to fund our website

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Above : A typical view from the Hilton Garden Inn Terminal 2 looking out over terminal 3 and the Runway 09R threshold.

 

Premier Inn Terminal 4                                                                                                                          Updated 2020

Is a new hotel opened in 2017 which is connected to Terminal 4 by walkway. Airport facing rooms give an excellent view over the airport. There is 24 hour free wifi available in the rooms. Check In commences at 1400 with check out at noon.

The hotel also has a bar area with outdoor veranda  however you can only see distant 27R arrivals from this point which require tie ups from flight tracking programs. The hotel has underground parking and multiple entries and exits can be arranged with reception for the one price. 

Location: *** Excellent, only a 10 minute walk from terminal 4. The hotel is within the free Heathrow Travel zone, bus numbers 482 and 490 run free of charge to the hotel from terminal 5 (leave the bus at Starlight Way, the stop after terminal 4). If travelling to terminal 5 from the hotel catch the bus at Sheffield way which is a short walk after turning right out of the hotel entrance. The hotel is around a 20-30 minute walk to the famous photography points at Myrtle Avenue-head to the Sheffield Way bus stop then cross the road through a gap in the fence and head towards Hatton Cross station. 
Spotting: ***

Excellent views can be had of aircraft on both runways and over to terminal 2 and certain terminal 3 stands. The Runway 27 configuration gives the best overall view of action-all traffic can be seen. If on Easterly operations, arrivals on Runway 09 can be seen if they take a long landing roll, all departures can however be easily seen. Rooms from the 4th floor upwards will give the above views, the higher floor the better. The rooms with views end in the range *65-*95 ODD NUMBERS ONLY. Many of the described rooms are double rooms with sofa beds.

In the event that the rooms above are not available, the following rooms also give acceptable, however slightly restricted views.

758,759,760,761,762. Views of 27L AND 27R approaches and the airport between BA Maintenance to the Terminal2 Satellite.

792,793,794,795,796,797,798 Give good panoramic views over the airport. 

 

Room allocation is usually by automated machine, making a request in advance generally does not seem to guarantee a room with a view. All is not lost however as staff are very helpful and used to our hobby. In the event of receiving an automated key for a poor room, simply ask reception with your requests and subject to availability they will allocate you a room with a view. 

Northolt movements can be seen in the distance on clear days.

It should be noted that flight tracking signals are very poor in the hotel and only really displays traffic on the ground or on very short finals. An internet hook up to Flight Radar 24 or similar is therefore required to show a more comprehensive view of traffic in the area. 

Photos: *** As the hotel faces North this gives opportunities for photography with the sun behind you which is unusual for a Heathrow Hotel. Good runway shots can be taken from the room as well as certain taxiway shots on terminal 4. 
Value: *** Can range from £30-80
Book:  

The AGODA or Premier Inn website generally offers good rates at this hotel.  The option to book a runway view is available on AGODA which should guarantee your room with a view. If the quoted price is acceptable please make the booking through this link as the small commission paid by the hotel helps to fund our website

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Thistle Hotel
is now regarded as the place to go when Heathrow are on Easterly ops. Although no rooms have views the hotel has an excellent outdoor terrace with tables and chairs. It appears that the staff are happy for guests to use the terrace providing that they purchase the occasional drink/snack. Car parking is available for a fee for non residents who are also welcome into the cafe/terrace area. A Mcdonalds and small garage/shop can be found around a 2 minute walk from the hotel
Location: *** On the northern perimeter adjacent to the runway 09L threshold.
Spotting: *** Ask for a room overlooking the airport. This will give views views of RW09L, you can also read off Runway 09R line ups with a good telescope as well as aircraft in view on Terminal 5. The outdoor terrace offers great views and is a relaxing place to sit and observe arrivals when on Easterly ops. When on westerly runways outbound’s can be read off from 27R and seen in the distance on 27L (SBS required). The hotel also overlooks terminal 5 where aircraft can be seen taxing for parking.
Photos: *** The location is into sun, however great landing shots can be had early morning/late evening as the sun moves around (see below). A 15 minute walk takes you around to the grass banking area around the terminal 5 area where great landing shots can be had.
Value: ** Rooms generally between £50-£100
Book:   For the best price check AGODA
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Holiday Inn London Heathrow Ariel
is located just 1/4 mile North of the threshold of runway 27R. The hotel offers a shuttle bus to the terminals for a one-way fee of £3.00. As usual ask for a room overlooking the airport to avoid disappointment. Reports suggest that the following room numbers offer great views 270, 274, 276, 278, 280 and 284. From here expect to see landing and departing traffic on 27R, aircraft on the taxiways and distant views of the other runway 27L. Note that the hotel is circular, and only the rooms described above give the best views, other rooms may give very limited views of part of the airfield but are far from ideal.
Location: *** Fantastic location close to the threshold of 27R
Spotting: *** From one of the rooms quoted above you will not have any problems reading the majority of the movements if the airport is on westerly ops. Easterly ops would give distant views of departures from 09R (SBS required) howvere only a limited number of arrivals on 09L would be seen depending on which terminal they park on after arrival. Note all the rooms described only have double beds, the rooms with twin beds face away from the airport and are of no use for spotting.
Photos: ** From the hotel you would be facing into sun and good quality shots would be limited. You are around a 15 minute walk away from the cargo sheds which are a great photo spot for 27R arrivals
Value: ** Rooms generally between £50-£100
Book:   This hotel can be booked through the following sites :  AGODA  or the official website of  Holiday Inn LONDON – HEATHROW ARIEL
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Suitable rooms give views like this from the Holiday Inn Ariel.

Credit Mark Curran

   

 

 


 

Ibis Hotel
is located on the same street as the Holiday Inn above but slightly further East. Hint : just across the road at the lights there is a free bus to the airport. Catch 105,111,140 & N9 to terminals 1,2 & 3. For terminal 5 catch bus number 423.
Location: ** Well away from the central terminal complex however ideally placed to see the action on the northern runway, especially when on westerly ops. The hotel is only a 10 minute walk away from the photo spot at the Cargo Sheds for 27R arrivals.
Spotting: *** Ask for a room on the 4th or 5th floor ending in 01 to 07 (eg 501 etc) and you will see all movements on 27R. If operations are Eastrly you would see about 50% of the arrivals as they vacate 09L and have distant views of traffic climbing out from 09R (SBS required)
Photos: *** No actual reports from the hotel as you would be shooting into sun, however the hotel is only a 10 minute walk away from the photo spot at the Cargo Sheds for 27R arrivals.
Value: *** Great value with a twin room at a weekend costing just £40.
Book:   This hotel can be booked through the following sites : IBIS
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Premier Inn Bath Road
is located on the same road but further East of the IBIS. Because of it’s location on the approach it is very difficult to observe any traffic moving on the airfield and is only of use for arriving traffic when Heathrow are on Westerly ops. Arrivals on 27R arrive more or less over the hotel, arrivals on 27L can be seen and identified on SBS
Location: ** Well away from the central terminal complex however ideally placed to see the arriving action, when Heathrow are on Westerly Ops.
Spotting: ** On a limited number of rooms overlook the approach to the westerly runways. When checking in ask for a room overlooking the approach or maintenance area, they get plenty of spotters here and should know what you are talking about!. Caution, there are two levels of double glazing to the windows. On a previous visit a lace curtain was located in between layers, the room side window was locked which rendered the view almost non existant! Rooms 2070-2079 are reported to have the best views
Photos: ** Photos of arrivals onto 27R can be taken from the hotels rear car park although you are into sun most of the day. The cargo sheds are around a 10-15 minute walk away from this hotel
Value: ** Rooms generally between £50-£100
Book:   This hotel can be booked through the following sites :  Premier Inn .  Don’t forget to visit our online plane spotting shop prior to your trip for great prices on all spotting gear.
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Above : An arrival on Runway 27R seen from the room at The Premier Inn, Bath Road

 

Heathrow maps and satnav download : A great site with maps of the spotting locations at Heathrow, along with a downloadable Satnav file for

the Uk, ensuring that you are guided to all locations without ever consulting an A-Z again.

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Hilton Garden Inn Bath Road (Previously Jury’s Inn)
is located behind the British Airways maintenance facility at Heathrow. One side of the hotel looks out to the 27R approach, the other side looks out to the 27L approach. The hotel is also midway between the 2 photo locations used when Heathrow are on Westerly Ops (around 2/3 of the time). A 15 minute walk will take you to the Cargo Sheds for 27R or Cairns lane for 27L arrivals
Location: *** Well away from the central terminal complex however ideally placed to see the action, especially when Heathrow are on Westerly Ops
Spotting: ***

Ask for as high floor as possible. Room 737 has been reported as giving a great view of 27R along with the far end of runway 27L where distant movements can be seen.

Report below thanks to Nick Webb

I stayed in room 649 which faced west and gave and overall view of the airport and both runways. The room was a double bed though not a twin. I am not sure which rooms are twins if required.

 
Looking at other rooms, 646 through all numbers to 652 should give similar views also facing west. Any rooms lower than the 6th floor may obscure some runway views.
 
Rooms 610 to approx 618 inclusive face South so will only give you 27L arrivals with no other views that i can see.
 
Rooms 645 to 634 inclusive face North and will give you views of 27R as well as the far end of 27L as already reported.
 
I am also not sure if the 7th floor are exec rooms but if they are not then the views will be even better but the 6th floor is more than suitable.
 
Photographs can be taken with a long lens but as the windows are double glazed and do not open they are not particularly good. Also,if you have an SBS or similar then the reception signal from behind the hotel is quite poor and most aircraft will not be picked up until they are on short finals. 
 
 
Photos: *** Distant room shots although a short walk in each direction will take you to the popular phot spots when arrivals are on westerly ops.
Value: ** Rooms generally between £50-£100
Book:   This hotel can be booked through the following sites : Booking.com 
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  Above, view from room 649 of Runway 27L at The Jury’s Inn (click picture to expand)  

 


 

Park Inn Heathrow
is another hotel situated on the perimeter Bath Road with similar views obtainable as from the Ibis and Holiday Inn above
Location: *           Located on the Northern perimeter
Spotting: ***
Views are Ok if you get the right rooms
 
4927-4951
5927-5951
Odds only will give views of all movers.
SBS would be needed to read off on 09R/27L.
 
I think they would all be double rooms. I did have a problem with SBS not picking arrivals up on 27R due to line of sight, I could pick all departures up though. Hotel report credit : Jeff Hulme
Photos: *          None reported, however shots may be possible as the hotel is ideally located on the perimeter
Value: **          Can be expensive at around £90 a night
Book:            This hotel can be booked through the following site  Hotels.com 
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Photos of Park Inn Hotel & Conference Center London Heathrow, West Drayton
Above: Typical view from airport facing room at the Park Inn courtesy of www.tripadvisor.co.uk  

 


 

Premier Inn Terminal Five
is a fairly new hotel located at the very Western End of Bath Road looking across to Terminal 5. This is a good option when Heathrow are on Easterly operations as aircraft land directly in front of the hotel. The hotel has a McDonalds situated next door. Wifi is available for around £3 per night. Parking is an additional £12 a night and must be factored into your overall bill. The Thistle Hotel is only a short walk away where you could purchase a coffee on their outdoor terrace if the weather is good.
Location: *** Excellent location with views over the threshold of Runway 09L and terminal 5.
Spotting: *** Great views over the touch down zone of Runway 09L and terminal 5. Departing aircraft taxying to the threshold of Runway 09R should be seen from many airport facing rooms although flight tracking software would be required to tie these up. Certain rooms will also gives distant views of traffic climbing out from 09R. Rooms 456 and 470 are reported to have good views. Ask for a Runway facing room on a high level, the staff have many requests!
Photos: ** Low quality shots possible from the room although you are into sun for most of the day. The Thistle hotel is only a short walk away where you can use the cafe terrace to take great landing shots early morning or late evening during the summer months. The fields at the end of Runway 09R are around a 20 minute walk away. A free bus departs from across the Road to terminal 5 where good photo vantage points can be found at each end of the departures level
Value: ** Rooms generally between £50-£100
Book:   This hotel can be booked through the following sites : Premier Inn
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Shot from room 456 of the Premier Inn Terminal 5. Note Runway 09L in the foreground. Double click picture to expand

Credit Tripadvisor

   

 

 


 

Travelodge Terminal Five
is a relatively new hotel build on an industrial estate between the parallel runways on around a 3/4 mile final. The hotel is only really of use when ops ore Easterly (around 1/3 of the time). When on westerlies, outbound’s can be seen from the hotel, however many are high and SBS would be required. For the more energetic this is the closest hotel to the King George Reservoir photo spots (around 30 minute walk) were great banking shots can be had of heavies departing 27L. Wifi is avaiable but is reported to be expensive
Location: ** In between the approach to the Easterly runways. Due to its remote location a car is required, otherwise the bus from the airport is £4 each way. There are no real shops or restaurants around the hotel, although the hotel itself does have it’s own restaurant and bar.
Spotting: ** Assuming that the airport is on Easterly ops ask for a room in the Annex as this will give excellent views of traffic landing 09L (the main landing runway on Easterly Ops). A family room should also give views of the 09R holding bays for outbound traffic. High level rooms on level 3 or above are required, otherwise other buildings obstruct the views. When Heathrow are on westerly ops the departures off 27R are quite hard and high to identify, the majority of traffic off 27L would also be out of view.
Photos: ***

When on Easterly ops great approach shots should be possible from the area around the hotel with the sun behind you for most of the day. All is not lost if the airport is on westerly ops as great banking shots can be taken of the heavys from the location at King George Reservoir (shown on the map below). This location is around a 30 minute walk from the hotel.

Hotel report credit :Simon Butler

Value: **  From £40-80 a night
Book:  

This hotel can be booked through the website of Travelodge

Please help support our site. We are constantly checking the links for hotels to find the best price offered for our readers. If the price on this site is the best quote you receive, please help us by booking your hotel from the link provided as we receive a small commission payment from the hotel. This helps contribute to the running costs of this site enabling us to continue to offer a great service

 

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St Giles Hotel Bedfont
is only of use for those photographers who are looking to get banking shots of heavy departures when on the climb out from the Easterly runways
Location: *  Located around 2 miles south east of Heathrow in Feltham
Spotting: ** If Heathrow are on westerly ops ask for a north facing high level room and you will get distant views of the approaches (SBS required to identify many movements)
Photos: ** Some great shots can be had of heavy southbound departures from Heathrow from the park in Feltham only a 5 minute walk from the hotel. This area is for serious photographers only as only about a quarter of departures fly over here but magnificent shots can be had as the aircraft bank south on departure (at least a 400m lens is required)
Value: *** Great value with a twin room at a weekend costing just £40.
Book:   This hotel can be booked through the following sites :  AGODA or  Booking.com
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Travelodge Central Bath Road
 
Location: *  Located on Bath Road a little further north of the Premier Inn Bath Road
Spotting: ** Right on the final approach to Runway 27R. All aircraft landing, or departing from this runway can be read off. If on Easterlies traffic landing 09L can be read off as it vacates the runway. Departures on 09R can be seen briefly, however flight tracking software is required for tie ups. Reports appear to favour the views from this Travelodge, rather than the one at Terminal 5
Photos: ** You are directly under the arrivals for 27R so not great, however a 10 minute walk down the road should give you better aspects.
Value: *** Great value with a twin room at a weekend costing just £25
Book:   This hotel can be booked through the following site :Travelodge 
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 Please visit our Plane Spotting Gatwick page for great hotels in the London Gatwick Area

 For detailed information on spotting areas around Heathrow please visit the spotterswiki.com


  

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