Home Airport Spotting Guide London’s Best Airport Spotting Hotels

London’s Best Airport Spotting Hotels

by Matt Falcus

London is an amazing place for spotters. It has five major airports which each thrive on airlines from around the world, and each offers something slightly different to the other airports around the city.

Airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick are major hubs for long haul flying and large airlines, whilst Luton and Stansted are low-cos and biz jet hubs. Then you’ve got London City which is a unique commuter airport in the heart of the city.

When the daytime spotting is over, these are London’s best airport spotting hotels, each offering the great views of the action at their airport.


BLOC Hotel Gatwick

The view from the BLOC Hotel at London Gatwick airport.

South Terminal Gatwick Airport, RH6 0NP | +44 20 3051 0101 | www.blochotels.com

One of the best places to spot at London Gatwick is from a high floor room in the BLOC Hotel, which occupies the former administration building on top of the South Terminal.

Its views are similar to those at the old Spectators Terraces that used to be popular at Gatwick, and the height gives a good overview of all operations on the ground and runway. You won’t miss much here if you ask for a room with a view.

[A Review of London Gatwick’s BLOC Hotel With Pictures]


Renaissance Heathrow

The view from the Heathrow Renaissance Spotting hotel

140 Bath Road, Hounslow TW6 2AQ | +44 20 88 97 63 63 | www.marriott.com

Little needs to be said of this hotel. It is one of the best spotting hotels in the world, let alone the UK. The Renaissance is situated next to the northern perimeter fence, overlooking runway 09L/27R, its associated taxiways, and parts of Terminal 2, 5 and the maintenance area.

When booking online you can choose a Runway View room. The standard ones are on the second floor whilst the more expensive ones are on the third floor – better for photography as the fence and streetlights are more out of the way.

[Click Here for a Review of the Heathrow Renaissance Hotel With Pictures]


London City Travelodge

The London City Travelodge can be seen on the right,

Hartmann Road, Silvertown, London E16 2BZ | 0871 984 6333 | www.travelodge.co.uk

Travelodge hotels are usually very affordable, yet basic. This one is situated to the west of London City’s passenger terminal, behind the biz jet ramp. Any room on the third floor above has good views of this ramp, and the western end of the runway and main parking apron. You won’t miss any movements from here.


Holiday Inn Ariel, Heathrow

A picture I took from the Holiday Inn Ariel at Heathrow.

118 Bath Road, Harlington, Hayes UB3 5AJ | +44 20 89 90 00 00 | www.holidayinn.com

Another option for Heathrow, the Holiday Inn Ariel is a curiously-shaped round hotel at the north eastern corner of the airport, alongside the threshold of runway 27R. Executive rooms facing the airport are good enough for photography of aircraft landing or lining up on this runway, and on some of the nearby taxiways. You have a good general view of the eastern side of the airport and maintenance area.


Holiday Inn Express Luton Airport

London Luton Spotting Hotel

2 Percival Way, Luton LU2 9GP | +44 1582 589100 | www.hiexpress.com

London Luton airport has a fairly confusing layout. The terminal area is in the centre of the airfield along with some of the biz jet ramps, whilst the runway is off to the south via two different taxiways.

The Holiday Inn Express hotel here is right next to the access road to the airport, and set between the runway and terminal. You can ask for a room facing the runway, or the terminal. Runway rooms are probably best if you don’t want to miss any movements. Photography is possible.


Stansted Radisson Blu

Waltham Close, Stansted Airport, Essex CM24 1PP | +44 1279 661012 | www.radissonblue.co.uk

At London Stansted the Radisson Hotel can be found next door to the main passenger terminal on the airport’s eastern side.

Rooms facing the airport look out onto the most northerly of the parking stands, and also the end of runway 23. So any aircraft approaching this end or taxying for departure can easily be seen, and photographs are possible.

The rest of the airport is not visible from the hotel, but it’s the best option here for catching all movements.


Holiday Inn Southend Airport

Southend Airport Holiday Inn

77 Eastwoodbury Cres, Southend-on-Sea SS2 6XG | +44 1702 543001 | www.holidayinn.com

A fairly new hotel at Southend Airport. The Holiday Inn was opened when the new terminal appeared. It has good views over the airport, especially in higher rooms, although some of the remote parts of the airport’s northern side are still hidden.

The hotel has a restaurant and bar area on the top floor which has great views.


Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow

Eastern Perimeter Rd, Hounslow, TW6 2SQ | +44 20 8266 4664 | www.hilton.com

Formerly the Jury’s Inn. There are rooms which face south, overlooking aircraft on short final to runway 27L, or north/west which look out over part of the airport and the northerly runway. Choose which you’d prefer and make a request on booking. It’s wise to check the likely runway direction in use beforehand.

[Handy Guide to Heathrow Runway Usage]


Gatwick Sofitel

plane spotting hotels gatwick

London Gatwick Sofitel

North Terminal, Gatwick Airport RH6 0PH | +44 1293 567070 | www.sofitel.com

Another good option at Gatwick is the Sofitel, situated at the North Terminal, and linked via monorail from the South Terminal. Rooms on the higher floors facing the airport have unrivalled views of aircraft movements to both terminals.


If you’ve stayed in any of these hotels and have a good tip on the best rooms to ask for, or some advice from your experiences, leave a comment below to help fellow spotters out!

All of these hotels and many more are covered in our book Airport Spotting Hotels, available from this link: https://destinworld.com/product/airport-spotting-hotels-2nd-edition/



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Martin Wilson March 29, 2017 - 7:40 pm

For London Heathrow try the Leonardo Hotel, formerly a Holiday Inn and further West from the Renaissance.. Ask for rooms on the third floor facing the airport. My favourite is room number 3313 – a double. (I think they alternate doubles and twin-bedded along that side). It looks over the old fire station towards terminal 3.

Matt Falcus March 29, 2017 - 7:43 pm

Thanks for the tip Martin!

JOHN PRICE March 30, 2017 - 10:14 am

Hi Martin. Thanks for the info on London Spotting Hotels, Recently bought your Spotting Hotels book.Very useful’

Matt Falcus March 30, 2017 - 6:43 pm

Thanks John!

phil November 9, 2017 - 4:16 pm

Need to include the Premier Inn T4 for Heathrow any room floor 5 up from ?65-?85 will suffice the higher the better of course
this picture was from 563

only issue here is car parking which at £25/night is expensive unless you can get your room for under £30/night then the overall cost is comparable with all other hotels that have views of the runway

Renne Louis June 6, 2018 - 9:26 am

Thanks for sharing the hotels in london. Its really helps me lot to know the information.

Jez April 23, 2024 - 7:05 am

The Hampton by Hilton at STN is also excellent if you have an airport view room. I stayed for three nights last summer & will be returing as the view was so good.


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