Avoid high roaming charges when traveling to Europe and buy a UK sim card on arrival at London Heathrow! It is the best way to stay connected and it doesn’t have to cost much. In this complete guide for buying a sim card UK at London Heathrow I tell you where to buy a sim card, tell you all the available options regardless which terminal you arrive at Heathrow Airport and even give you info about e-sim cards for the UK.

This article is updated in February 2022 with the latest prices and information from London Heathrow Airport.

Getting a local sim card is the first thing I do when arriving to a new country. It is the easiest, best and cheapest way to get connected to the internet. On my way to visit every country in the world I have written more than 150 local sim card guides now from all over the world.

Some of the latest ones are: MalaysiaZambia, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador. But you can also find every standard holiday destination and every country and airport in Europe on my blog, like London Stansted Airport, London Gatwick Airport, London Luton Airport. So bookmark Traveltomtom and next time you go on a trip abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the best sim card advice!

Why buying a UK sim card at London Heathrow

Simple question... do you want to rely on other people? No, of course not! However, yes your London Airbnb or hotel in London has free WiFi and so do most restaurants and bars. But these WiFi networks are not guaranteed to be fast and these are unsecured networks. But what about ordering an Uber on the streets, getting directions from Google Maps or finding out the tube or train time schedule? Having a data connection makes traveling to London so much easier.

RELATED: Charming London Airbnb's for UNDER $100 per night!

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends a Vodafone UK sim card for traveling to London. They have a great and strong network and they offer the best value prepaid sim card deals at London Heathrow Airport. For around £30 you get 25 GB data.

If you can wait till you reach London city center and then pop in to a EE store you get the best prepaid sim card in the UK in 2022. For £30 you get 100 GB data. Check out what and where in my article with the best UK sim card for tourists in 2022.

If you are traveling from overseas to the UK or to Europe I recommend you to take a look at my comparison of the best international sim cards in 2022 and you might find a great sim card for your trip there or even an e-sim card for the United Kingdom.

Free EU roaming with a UK sim card

Luckily since June 2017 roaming fees within the European Union are banned and you can use your sim card without any extra charges in all of Europe. People traveling to multiple countries in Europe therefore can use their UK sim card, which is valid in 35 countries across Europe.

For my complete list of tips and trick buying a local sim card in Europe check out my latest article with a list of the best prepaid sim card for tourists per EU country.

Free EU roaming and Brexit

So far Brexit has not affected free roaming in Europe and the UK therefore, until further notice there are NO extra roaming costs when using a UK sim card in other countries in Europe. So far it is looking good, but I will update this blog as soon as there is new information available. No news is good news!

UK sim cards are actually very good deals for traveling in Europe. I found this out when I wrote my complete guide for the best Europe sim card for tourists. Click on the link to read everything about it. 

Are you arriving at London Gatwick Airport, Luton or Stansted, then click on the link for detailed guides for buying a sim card at those airports. When buying a sim card at the airport is too much hassle after a long flight you can also buy them in London city, then read my article about best prepaid sim card in the UK.

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E-sim card for the UK

Traveltomtom recommends an e-sim card for traveling abroad in 2022. It is the most convenient and easiest way to get data on your phone when overseas. No more swapping physical sim cards, just a code and a change of settings. You order an e-sim card online, follow the instructions and you are able to connected to a foreign network when abroad. Check out the following e-sim card deals for the UK:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $22.5 USD

Click here to directly order one of the above e-sim card deals for the UK and find more info.

europe sim card orange 728x90

You can also still order a physical sim card for your trip to the UK. Through this link you can order an Orange prepaid sim card that is valid all over Europe with 20 GB data and unlimited calls in Europe + 2 hours worldwide calling time. Winner!

London Heathrow Airport

Being one of the biggest airports in the world you can understand that getting lost around here is pretty easy. There are 4 terminals in use: 2,3,4 and 5. There are free busses and trains running between the terminals, but for buying a sim card at London Heathrow there is no need to travel to another terminal. All terminals offer more or less the same UK sim card services.

Getting from London Heathrow to the city center is easy as there are trains running almost 24 hours. There are even Express trains that bring you to the city in 35 minutes!

Where to buy a sim card at London Heathrow

Regardless in which terminal you arrive there are several options for buying a sim card at London Heathrow:

  • Sim card vending machines
  • Sim Local shops
  • WH Smith shops
  • We Know London - Tourist Information

Sim Local shops

sim local london heathrow

These people are specialized in selling sim cards and here you will get the full service. They instal the sim card for you and make sure you walk out with when it is working. The offered UK sim card packages at Sim Local shops are often the same as the WH Smith shops and the sim card vending machines, but Sim Local charges £5 for their services extra.

WH Smith shops

wh smith london heathrow

There is a ton of info available at all the WH SMith shops, but it is all self service. The staff working at WH Smith has often no clue about what is what. Don’t expect any service for buying a sim card!

Sim card vending Machines

sim card vending machine london heathrow 4

Often has the best prices, but obviously no service. You even have to find a place to borrow a paperclip to open your sim card lock in your phone. The info displayed is ok, but you can’t ask any questions at all.

sim card vending machine london heathrow 3

The sim card vending machines can be found all over the place, next to vending machines for drinks and snacks, often already near the baggage belts.

We Know London tourist info

tourist info london heathrow sim card

They are not in every terminal, but they also sell sim cards. The guys are not so keen selling them, at least they were not really friendly to me and seemed kind of not interested giving me more information. They have limited sim cards available.

Terminal 2 LHR airport

When you walk out of arrivals there is a Sim Local and a Tourist Information Desk on your right hand side. Straight ahead there is a WH Smith shop. There is a sim card vending machine at the luggage collection before entering the arrivals hall. There is also a sim card vending machine next to the lift when you walk towards the parking garage and the trains.

Terminal 3 LHR airport

When you walk out of arrivals you walk right into a Sim Local and a WH Smith shop. They are next  to each other. There are two sim card vending machines at the luggage belts and there are also two in the arrivals hall.

Terminal 4 LHR Airport

When you walk out of the arrivals there is a WH Smith shop on your left hand side. In Terminal 4 there is NO Sim Local shop. There are two sim card vending machine just a couple meters away from the WH Smith shop.

Terminal 5 LHR Airport

As soon as you walk into the arrivals hall in LHR Terminal 5 you turn right and keep walking straight. After about 50 meters there is a Sim Local shop and a little further there is a WH Smith shop. There are veding machines at the luggage belts.

Available UK sim cards London Heathrow in 2022

You can buy UK sim cards from 5 different mobile internet providers at London Heathrow: Lebara Mobile, Lyca Mobile, Three, Vodafone & EE. Per mobile internet provider I will show you the available packages and tell you where you can buy them.

Three UK prepaid sim card LHR

3 sim card london heathrow

There are 6 different Three UK sim card package available at London Heathrow, see the table below. Sim Local charges £5 extra for the same package you buy at the sim card vending machine and so does the Tourist Info.

sim card vending machine london heathrow 2

Best Three UK sim card at London Heathrow can be found in the sim card vending machine.

Vodafone prepaid sim card LHR

vodafone sim card london heathrow

Buying a Vodafone UK sim card at London Heathrow is very straight forward. There is only one package available. Sim Local charges £5 extra for service.

Best Vodafone UK sim card at London Heathrow can be found in the sim card vending machine or the WH Smith shop.

EE prepaid sim card LHR

ee sim card london heathrow

There are only 2 EE UK sim cards at London Heathrow for sale. Again Sim Local charges £5 extra for its service.

Best EE UK sim card at London Heathrow can be found in the sim card vending machine, the WH Smith shop or the Tourist Info. EE is the only mobile internet operator in the UK that has service in the London Underground stations.

Lebara prepaid sim card LHR

lebara sim card london heathrow

The Lebara sim cards at London Heathrow have rather small data bundles and therefore don’t have my preference. For £20 you get 3GB, at Vodafone you get for the same money 20GB, just saying…

Not even worth mentioning in a UK sim card comparison, sorry Lebara your value for money is SO NOT GOOD!

Lyca Mobile prepaid sim card LHR

lyca mobile sim card london heathrow

There are 5 different Lyca Mobile prepaid sim cards available. The annoying thing is that they sell different packages everywhere. But in the end they are NOT great value for money compared to the other available sim cards at London Heathrow anyway. I personally would NOT recommend buying a Lyca Mobile sim card at London Heathrow.

sim local london heathrow sim card lyca mobile

Also Lyca Mobile is a no-go for when you are looking for the best prepaid sim card at London Heathrow.

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Best sim card London Heathrow

vodafone prepaid sim card london heathrow

After checking out all the prepaid UK sim cards at London Heathrow it is fairly easy to pick out the best one:

Vodafone UK is the best prepaid sim card for tourists at London Heathrow in 2022!

They offer the best value for money: 20GB for just £25. Second is that things are very uncomplicated as there is just one package available. Buying a Vodafone sim card at London Heathrow is the best available UK sim card.

vodafone prepaid sim card london heathrow 2

This Vodafone sim card is valid in all of Europe plus Switzerland, Norway and Turkey.

For the best Europe sim card for traveling have a look at the complete guide I wrote for a Europe trip!

My experience buying a sim card at London Heathrow

Obviously since I am a master in changing sim cards I didn’t need any help from one of the staff of the Sim Local shops so I chose to go to WH Smith shop like I also did at London Gatwick Airport. As a professional travel blogger I swap countries every month and the first thing I do is buying a local sim card. So when I was at London Heathrow Terminal 5, the last place for my research I bought a Vodafone 25 sim card at WH Smith shop, walked towards the train and inserted my sim card. It said: NO SIM! No f*cking way.

Out of all people why did particularly I get a faulty sim card? I already sat in the train and ended up in Terminal 2. There I found out that sim cards sold at WH Smith are also from Sim Local, so in case you have any issue you can go to the Sim Local shops. So did I do. At Sim Local they couldn’t fix the issue either and they made me buy a second Vodafone sim card package. I was reassured I would get the money back from the faulty sim card.

All the hassle took me about an hour to get it fixed and on top of that I had to call them the next morning and then later send two emails. Four days later after sending all the info over email to Sim Local, I finally got my money back through Paypal!

In case you are not in a hurry and are able to wait I recommend you buying a UK sim card in the city center. Then click on the link and I show you all the prices and packages available. On top of the above mobile internet operators you can also find O2 shops in London. Prices for buying a sim card in London city are cheaper than at the airport.

Buy a UK sim card online

europe sim card orange 728x90

The following 4 international sim cards can be ordered directly online. These sim cards are pre activated and will be shipped to your home address prior to your trip.

1. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 8 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 30 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 200 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

2. Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90

  • 10 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

3. Three PAYG AIO20 - $39.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

4. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 20 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 1,000 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

Personally I would recommend you the last available option: Orange Holiday Europe with 20 GB data. Click here to order one of the above international sim cards for the UK directly online.

I hope the above UK sim card comparison for London Heathrow was helpful for you. I wish you a safe trip to London and in case you are still looking for accommodation have a look at my article about best cheap Airbnbs in London. For a complete guide for the best prepaid UK sim card click here or for buying a sim card at Manchester Airport on this link.

Questions? Please leave me a message below. I am happy to help you out making the most of your trip to London and or Europe. When interested in what visiting every country in the world looks like then head over to my Instagram account @traveltomtom. As per February 2022 I visited 124 countries.

Enjoy your trip to London!

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