How much can you pack into an hour at Virgin Atlantic’s London Clubhouse?

This isn’t the article I was supposed to write.

I should have had a leisurely six-hour layover at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to explore its various amenities. Instead, I had just over an hour to spare between flights thanks to, well, the state of travel these days.

With precious seconds ticking away, I made a beeline to Virgin Atlantic’s tony Clubhouse lounge to see just how much enjoyment I could squeeze out of an hour there instead.

Turns out, quite a lot. So much, in fact, that I didn’t even mind missing out on everything else I’d had planned. Here’s how I much I packed into an hour at Virgin Atlantic’s London Clubhouse.

In This Post

The plan

A Virgin Atlantic plane at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

My original plan was to spend a nice, long six-hour layover in London experiencing as many of the things available at this massive airport as possible (or at least to explore some of what Terminal 3 has to offer).

The adjustments to my grand plan started with a notification after booking that my flights had been hit with a schedule change. I was originally supposed to arrive in London from Tel Aviv at 10:25 a.m. and leave London on a 4 p.m. flight, but the airline changed it to a 2:25 p.m. departure instead. That cut my layover to four hours. Still plenty of time.

Related: The ultimate Virgin Atlantic Flying Club guide

Unfortunately, while in Israel, I heard from the airline again that my flight to London would be delayed by almost an hour.

The delayed flight notification I received from Virgin Atlantic. VIRGIN ATLANTIC

That would leave me just three hours in London to get through immigration and security and enjoy some time in the lounge.

Then we ended up landing in London about an hour and a half late. Unfortunately, by the time I could get off the plane, I only had about two hours total to get through security and hit the lounge. That two hours turned into just over an hour in the lounge, but I made the most of it.

The lounge

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London’s Heathrow Airport. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

The Virgin Clubhouse is one of the nicest lounges I’ve enjoyed in all my years of travel. You enter via a pair of grand marble and glass staircases in London Heathrow’s Terminal 3.

There are friendly lounge employees to check you in at the top of the stairs. Once inside, there is a stunning view of the main bar and the surrounding seating areas.

The incredible variety of places to lounge includes a quiet zone (an area they call the Clubhouse Retreat), a sunken living room, a more private sitting area where you can watch TV, a restaurant where you can have a restaurant-style sit-down meal, and several other cozy places to park yourself.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London’s Heathrow Airport. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

You can order food and drinks from a QR code menu anywhere you sit down. My favorite spot is in a semi-enclosed alcove area behind the bar with views of the tarmac. This lounge even has a deli where you can get food made to order.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in London’s Heathrow Airport. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

There’s also, of course, that huge bar that forms a centerpiece of this giant space. You can order off the menu at the seating areas around the bar called the Brasserie, or you can order at the bar from one of the cheerful bartenders.


Some of the many options on the lunch and dinner menus include baked Suya chicken wings, a salmon poke bowl, Lucky Saint Beer battered fish and chips, cauliflower and potato masala, freshwater crayfish macaroni and cheese and a berry pudding for dessert.

One of the things the Virgin Clubhouse used to be famous for was a small salon where you could get a haircut between flights. Unfortunately, the pandemic ended that feature, and it’s been replaced by three Peloton stationary bikes where you can work out with views of the tarmac (more on that in a moment).

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London’s Heathrow Airport. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

There also used to be a spa in the lounge, but that has been replaced by more seating.

I really liked the upstairs loft area with a pool table and a few spots to sit and sip.

I enjoyed seeing the model of one of the two current Virgin Voyages ships. This is a mockup of the Scarlet Lady (serving the Caribbean).

Virgin’s Scarlet Lady model ship in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

My favorite thing is an outdoor terrace another level up from the loft space where you can do planespotting or just sit and take in some air.

Related: A review of Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Suite on the A350 from London to New York

Amenities I tried out

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London’s Heathrow Airport. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

I’d heard about the Virgin Clubhouse for years, but 2022 was finally the year to experience it for myself (twice). I got to visit first on my outbound journey to Tel Aviv and then again on the return. So by the time of my second, visit, I had a plan in place to race around and see how much I could do during my short layover.

First, I zipped around the lounge filming and taking pictures, which took about 15 minutes. Then I grabbed a drink at the bar on the way to check in with the service desk for a shower. There was no wait for a shower, and they told me I could do a quick workout and come back whenever I wanted. You can also sign up for a shower ahead of time.  

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse service desk in London. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

I grabbed a Peloton bike and I had the small semi-enclosed room to myself. I couldn’t log in to my Peloton account on the machines, but I did manage to get in a quick 15-minute bike session anyway. There are a few free weights, too, if you want to jazz up your workout.

After my workout and a quick check at the desk, I headed to the shower area. I didn’t want to spend too long there, though, since I also wanted to get a bite and see what the dining service at the lounge was all about.

I ordered a chicken Caesar salad and cauliflower soup at a seating area near the showers so the food would be ready by the time I was done. The wait staff laughed when I told them my plans, and they even let me pick out a spot to dine where they’d deliver the food when it was ready.

The shower rooms are small, but get the job done. The water pressure is good. Even though they’re usually just decent but not special bathrooms, I always think it’s a treat to get a shower at an airport, and I love the Ren and Aveda products Virgin uses in its Clubhouses.

I took a fast shower. In fact, it was so quick that the food still wasn’t ready when I got out, though my attentive waiter, Juan, had a Coke Zero waiting for me at my table.

When the food did come, the soup was a bit bland, but tasted healthy. The chicken Caesar was delicious. Even though the anchovies were prominently placed, they didn’t overwhelm the salad.

The Internet wasn’t great but was good enough to enable me to work and upload a Speedtest screenshot.

Internet speed test. OOKLA

Although I just had an hour, I was able to take a gallery’s worth of photos, get in a workout, have a refreshing shower, fuel up with a nice meal and even get to some correspondence and writing. That’s more than I usually do in an hour at home! (If only I could be this productive everywhere.)

Bottom line

View from the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London’s Heathrow Airport. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is a lounge beloved by Flying Club members and aviation enthusiasts alike — and after a couple of visits, I now understand why. While some of its more famous amenities like the spa and salon are unavailable, at least for now, there’s still plenty to love.

Chic design, good food, friendly service, and plenty of other fun things to distract you mean you are unlikely to ever get bored in this lounge whether you have just an hour like I did or can stay all day.

Next time, I hope to go for a bit longer and maybe explore a bit more of Terminal 3 too. Maybe there will even be time for a nap.