Lonely Planet Writer

Feeling stressed in Heathrow? A new 'living wall' might help ease passenger angst

Heathrow airport has decided to tackle airport stress with plants.

Heathrow Airport - Getty Images
Heathrow Airport Image by Getty

The London airport has installed a wall of plants in an effort to combat travel-related stress. Security checks, long queues and even longer walks to gates can all be recipes for travel stress, and Heathrow hopes to counter this with its new feature. Lucky passengers with flights leaving from Gate 25 in Terminal 3 will be able to breathe fresh air as they wait to board their flight, next to a wall of green.

Plants similar to those grown in this vertical garden can be enjoyed inside the terminal
Plants similar to those grown in this vertical garden can be enjoyed inside the terminal Image by Getty Images

“Various studies have shown that plants have a psychological, calming effect on humans,” an airport spokesperson told the Daily Mail. “For instance, Professor Virginia Lohr from Washington State University found in a study, that plants reduced the physical signs of stress – blood pressure, pulse rates and skin conductivity.” The new plants were carefully chosen and include the Peace Lily and English Ivy. The team chose plants that are used to keep the air fresh on the International Space Station.

Dubbed the Garden Gate, the new feature is made up of seven irrigated panels – 2.4 metres high and 1.8 metres high. “With our new Garden Gate, our passengers can pause at a natural sanctuary of rest and relaxation as they make their way through the airport, with 1681 plants ready to see them on their way,” Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s strategy director said. The wall of plants will be at the airport for six months on a trial basis. If all goes well, the wall of plants could spread to other areas of the airport. Although the Garden Gate is a new concept in Heathrow, other airports have long embraced greenery. Singapore’s Changi airport, Kuala Lumpur international airport and Dubai airport all boast impressive gardens in their airports. Vancouver international airport’s massive Green Wall, made up of 27,000 plants, is almost 55 feet tall.