Airports and Customs

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Airports

The main airports in the UK servicing international travellers are Heathrow and Gatwick.

Both airports offer Bureaux de Change, cash dispensers, information desks, left luggage, luggage trolleys, pay phones, postal services, smoking areas, toilets with baby care, showers and disabled facilities, car hire, hotel reservations, trains, taxis and executive lounges. Full shopping facilities are also available, with numerous shops throughout each terminal including newsagents, music, books, health and beauty, gifts, accessories and Duty Free.

Heathrow

Heathrow airport is located 15 miles west of London, the airport has excellent public transport links from central London and all over the rest of the country. Of note is the Heathrow Express, a revolutionary, non-stop train service between Heathrow Airport and Paddington station in the heart of London. It’s just 15 minutes to and from Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and five minutes more to and from Terminal 4. Convenient and reliable, trains depart every 15 minutes from 05:00 to 23:50, 365 days a year. Contact Heathrow Express to check availability and book tickets.

Gatwick

Gatwick is located 28 miles south of London and has excellent rail and road links, making it very easily accessible. Of note is the Gatwick Express, a non-stop service between Victoria Station, London and Gatwick Airport which runs every 15 minutes from 05:20 to 00:50 and hourly overnight. The journey from London to Gatwick takes 30 minutes.

Customs

However you arrive in the UK (by plane, Eurostar, ferry, or coach), you have to abide by the UK Customs and Visa regulations. And passing through HM Customs & Excise will be straight forward as long as you obey a few simple rules.

Getting through customs is also usually faster than you might expect. European Union (EU) countries use three ‘channels’ for customs processing. If you arrive from another EU country, whatever passport you hold, choose the Blue Channel once you’ve collected your luggage. Arriving from outside the EU, choose either the Green Channel – if you have nothing to declare based on the allowances outlined below – or the Red Channel, if you have goods over the duty free allowance.

While customs officials rely on your honesty, they will also undertake random checks and anyone found to be deliberately concealing goods will face stiff penalties if convicted.

Like other countries in the EU (European Union), the UK has a two-tier customs system: one for goods bought duty free and one for goods bought in another EU country where taxes and duties have already been paid. Duty free goods, such as perfume, alcohol and cigarettes can be purchased at the airport.

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