Wheelsatc From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3028 times:
Your options are not as good as they used to be!
The observation deck is closed and has been for about 2 years. The tops of the car parks have much reduced views now because of building work. The best place to go is the visiter centre which is situated on the perimiter road north of the airport. It runs parallel to runway 27R and offers good views or the movements particuarly if they are landing or departing on 27R (if they are using 09's then it is not quite as good. There is a shop and cafe in the visitor centre so really it is the only official place from which to spot.
There are other places around the perimiter but you run the risk of being moved on.
SmithAir747 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1673 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2955 times:
There is another great place to spot--Myrtle Avenue (at the end of which is a grass clearing, where many spotters gather). You get off at Hatton Cross tube station, cross the perimeter road just south of it to Hatton Road, and walk westward along Hatton Road until you see the Myrtle Avenue sign. Walk north (it's only a brief walk) into the grass clearing.
Myrtle Avenue is among the best spots for photography, since there are no buildings, windows or trees in the way. In fact, it's right under the approach to LHR runway 27L, so you see approaching planes very close up. Sometimes, takeoffs occur over Myrtle Avenue, but it's mostly approaches. The aircraft are so close you can read the registration numbers with the naked eye. Plus, police NEVER hassle you at Myrtle Avenue!
Also, there is the roundabout for East Church Road and eastern perimeter road, just north of the aircraft crossing (between BA & BMI hangars). Many gather there for runway 27R approaches. Sometimes aircraft take off in that direction, but mostly, you see approaches. Again a great close-up location for photography. Also, the registrations are visible on the aircraft using only the naked eye. I've tried there, and have not been hassled by any police.
The Visitor Centre may be OK for watching planes from, but it's TERRIBLE for photography because of the tinted windows upstairs. It's more for those who bring their families, or who specialise in taking down registration numbers (need a binocular/telescope to see the numbers). The parking lot is a little better for photography, but you need magnification to see details on the planes, and there is a fence blocking the 27R views once the planes touch down. However, if you like seeing the history of LHR, and even want to "fly" a 777 simulator, the visitor centre is the place! They also have their own shop upstairs selling a large variety of models, books, photos, etc. to enthusiasts, along with a cafe for simple lunches and drinks. Also, there are lots of kids' activities/attractions on both floors.
Hope this helps!
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)