Despite strict prohibitions against smoking in the United Kingdom, you can still smoke at two locations inside London Heathrow Airport.
About a year ago, I wrote a post entitled, The Secret Place to Smoke Airside at LHR. That story pointed out “secret” locations in Terminal 2 and 5 where smoking is technically possible. But Heathrow also has two official designated smoking areas, one in Terminal 3, the other in Terminal 4. One is intended for transiting passengers (T3) while the other is intended for departing passengers (T4).
Let’s start with Terminal 4, since I have pictures from a recent trip. Once you are past security, follow the smoking signs. You’ll walk toward the end of the terminal, head downstairs via two sets of escalators, exit via double doors, and come out in an enclosed outdoor cage:
In Terminal 3, a similar cage exists, but it on the arrivals floor. At the lower level of the terminal, where the busses pick up and drop off passengers for inter-terminal transfer, look for the smoking sign. You’ll have to step outside to smoke in the cage.
Smoking Still Officially “Prohibited” at London Heathrow
I’m not sure why the Heathrow website does not list these two smoking area. On the contrary, it explicitly states that smoking is prohibited in all areas of Heathrow Airport. It’s not. The map images above with the smoking symbols are official airport maps.
Heathrow is a smoke-free airport, in line with British law on smoking in enclosed public spaces.
Smoking is permitted in designated areas outside the terminal building.
However, please be aware that once you have passed through security control, you will not be able to smoke anywhere in the departure lounge.
If you are catching a connecting flight at Heathrow, please note that smoking is not permitted during the connection process. It’s only possible to access the outdoor smoking areas by entering the UK (via passport control), and you would then have to pass through security control to return to the departure lounge.
Again, don’t be confused by this website. Smoking is officially permitted in at least two parts of the airport.
At least once per week I receive questions about smoking at London Heathrow and I understand why. LHR is one of the most difficult airports to travel through and enjoying a smoke between connecting flights is extremely burdensome. But facilities do in fact exist for smokers, even if the official website suggests otherwise.
AUGUST 2018 UPDATE: It appears that the T3 smoking area has been closed. The T4 smoking cage remains open.