Festival season is almost upon us and London and the surrounding areas have some fantastic events this year, like Camden Rocks and Raw Power, but for some of you the buzz of a European festival is just too much to resist.
While the likes of Wireless, Glastonbury and Reading are all hugely appealing, Europe is now a hotbed of festival action. Whether it's Pfingst Open Air in Germany, Imaginarium in France or Estrella Levante SOS in Spain, many of you will be jetting off for some sultry sounds this summer.
Of course, if you're a Londoner heading for the continent this summer, you'll have the ever-dependable Heathrow to get you to your destination. Even before the proposed expansion, Heathrow is the aeronautical hub of the UK which means the majority of you heading for some festival fun in the sun will be heading there this summer.
Heathrow Travel Woes
"London Heathrow" (CC BY 2.0) by HerryLawford
Unfortunately, given the airport's popularity, getting to Heathrow and through check-in could take longer than your flight across Europe. In fact, while it might not be an issue in 2016, the problem with congestion on route to Heathrow could actually get even worse if a third runway is built.
According to a recent review by Transport for London (TfL), a third runway would place a £16 billion burden on the city's transport system. Despite Heathrow bosses asserting that it would contribute £2.2 billion to the improvement of transport links to the airport, the TfL has called this a substantial underestimation of the situation.
Analysing the potential impact of a third runway on road and rail links, the TfL believes there will be a major shortfall when all is said and done. If that's the case then it will mean more travel misery for those in and around London, especially during the summer months. Fortunately, for now at least, those plans are still under review. But that doesn't mean you'll be able to cruise to the terminals with ease this summer.
Know Your Route
"landing at heathrow" (CC BY 2.0) by saragoldsmith
According to ebookers, anyone travelling through Heathrow this summer will need to "plan ahead" in order to get to your destination as "quickly as possible". Outlined in the booking company's travel blog, there are four main terminals which each have their own routes that you'll need to consider. ebookers say that getting a train from Central London to Heathrow is the fastest option – trains run from Paddington station to Heathrow every 15 minutes. You can easily buy tickets from the Heathrow Express booth or the self-service ticket machines.
Assuming you can follow that advice, the route to your summer festival should be easy, but a lack of preparation could still scupper your plans. Just because Heathrow is on your doorstep, it doesn't mean the trip to the airport will be a breeze. As the average festival-goer you're probably used to leaving things until the last minute. However, if we could impart one piece of wisdom on you this year it would be to nail down your travel plans.
Don't Let Traffic Ruin Your Summer of Festivals
Getting to Heathrow might not be as big of an issue now as it might be in the future but if you don't know your terminals, tickets and train timetables then you could miss the flight and the opening set from your favourite band. Don't get caught out this summer. Make sure you follow the right route and you should be able to enjoy some of the finest festivals Europe has to offer.