Get free drinking water at airports and beat the after-security price hikes… where to fill up your bottles revealed

Airport security rules make it impossible to take water through to the departure lounge, where buying bottles can be frustratingly expensive.

However, it’s easy to dampen down your airside expenses by packing a few empty bottles in your hand luggage and filling them from a free fountain in the departure lounge. This is completely legal, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Find where to beat the price hikes and get free water for you and your family when travelling through UK airports

Find where to beat the price hikes and get free water for you and your family when travelling through UK airports

Research from MoneySavingExpert.com has revealed these are widespread at many airports across the UK. Here’s the information you need to stay hydrated for free at some top UK airports.


Gatwick Airport

The airport has after-security fountains in both terminals, but does not reveal where they are. Don’t be put off, simply pack your bottles and ask a member of staff to point you in the right direction.


Heathrow Airport

The airport’s website reports more than 100 fountains across the four terminals. Use the following terminal maps to find the after-security fonts you’ll need to fill your boots – or bottles – with free water.

Terminal 2
Terminal 3
Terminal 4
Terminal 5

Birmingham Airport

Water fountains can be found at Gate 47 and opposite Gate 41.


Bristol Airport

There is one water fountain available for travellers departing through Bristol Airport. Pack your bottles and look out for the fountain on the walkway leading to gates 9-16.


East Midlands Airport

APH contributor, Paul, tells us that free water fountains can be found at East Midlands Airport immediately after you pass through security. Thanks for the update, Paul.


Edinburgh Airport

If you’re travelling through Edinburgh Airport, save some cash by taking your empty bottle to the post-security water fountain just past the World Duty Free store.


Exeter Airport

Exeter Airport will fill your water bottles at the bar in the Fed & Watered Wine & Dine restaurant. Thanks to Clive Harrold for this update.


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Glasgow Airport

Travellers flying from Glasgow Airport will be able to find a post-security water fountain next to the Travelex store on the main walkway just past the duty free shop. Look out for signs pointing it out.


Luton Airport

Head through security then look out for bottle-filling options beside the lifts in the departures lounge.


Manchester Airport

Find these after-security water fountains by following these directions…

Terminal 1: Look on the left side of the corridor after leaving Security Area A. For those leaving Security Area B, you will come across it as you enter the corridor leading to the first concourse.

Terminal 2: There is a water fountain in the security area as you head through the corridor to departures.

Terminal 3: The fountain can be found in the walkway between Trattoria restaurant and Lion and Antelope pub.


Southampton Airport

Go through security, then turn left as you exit World Duty Free and enter the departures area. Southampton Airport provided MoneySavingExpert.com with this map to show the way to free water.


Stansted Airport – Updated

This airport has water fountains available at Gates 1-19, Gates 40-59 and in the the arrivals area. Furthermore, if you require drinking water in the departure lounge, approach any bar or restaurant and they will be happy to fill your bottle for you.

Stansted also has ‘honesty box’ stations, with a suggestion of £1 per bottle. We’re not sure just how ‘honest’ a reflection of true cost this really is.


The airports that don’t provide free water

Not all airports are equal, Belfast, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds Bradford, Aberdeen, Cardiff and London Southend airports told MoneySavingExpert that they don’t supply water fountains for travellers. Try asking at cafes instead.


Tell us more… 

Do you have information on any other free water fountains at UK airports not covered here? Spread the word via the comments box below.

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36 comments for “Get free drinking water at airports and beat the after-security price hikes… where to fill up your bottles revealed

  1. Rob says:

    Stansted: free water bottle refill machine by the toilets in departures, between Pret A Manger and Coast to Coast.

  2. anon says:

    Liverpool now have them. Apparently at gate 2, but I couldn’t find it. Also at gate 30, but it’s next to the stairs and easy to miss and not signposted. Just have a very good look around that end.

  3. Viv Moor says:

    Although there are no water fountains at Newcastle airport you can ask any bar or restaurant to fill your empty bottle free of charge. We have been doing this for the last couple of years and they are happy to provide this service.

  4. Denisd says:

    There is now a water fountain at Aberdeen Airport just inside the entrance to Gates 6-12 in Departures

  5. Anonymous says:

    Liverpool airport. The water fountains are located between gates 2 & 3 and near to gate 30. I checked the one by gate 2

  6. Geraldine Denmark says:

    Reason for having fountains and not the stupid honesty stands at Stansted Airport is to stop using plastic bottles! Save the planet from plastics. If mineral water companies are worried about losing out, then I suggest they set up fountains that takes coins and dispenses a half litre of water into passengers own REUSEABLE drinking bottles. Gatwick have free fountain just after security.

  7. Rory says:

    Thanks, helped me to find the water station in Glasgow. Cardiff did fill up my water bottle at a cafe.

  8. Kay says:

    Can’t find any drinking fountains in edinburgh airport could you tell me where it is???? I was charged 3pounds 75pence for 1 water bottle….

  9. Liam says:

    Belfast international, departure lounge the Bar next to the Kitchen filled up my 500ml bottle with tap water no problem.

  10. Debbie says:

    Newquay Airport in Cornwall will fill your bottle at the cafe. And they do it with a smile.

  11. Kath says:

    21 June 2018 – couldn’t see any drinking fountains gates 40-47 but there was a bar with jug of water I availed myself of.

  12. Clive Harrold says:

    Exeter airport will fill the water bottles at the bar in the restaurant. They don’t publicise it but you only have to ask!

  13. Vicky says:

    Stansted water fountain by toilets near gate 13, was working 27th may

  14. Annalee says:

    Stansted update..water fountain in the assistance area can be used to refill.

  15. lynda says:

    luton has water just after security before you go up escalator. not really cold but does the job

  16. Peter Court says:

    27 February 2018. Both water fountains in Gatwick North security area are not working. No signs or explanation given.

  17. Ken says:

    The Welsh Assembly bangs on about recycling but there are no drinking water fountains at Cardiff airport , hypothetical sort it out Cardiff.

    • Sue says:

      Morning , there is now a water fountain at Cardiff airport located close to the toilets in arrivals where you claim you’re baggage ! But don’t know if there is one in departures ? Will check this out in September .

  18. B Edspring says:

    By law any licensed premises have to give you free drinking water. If you ask pleasantly its not a problem, most staff seem to find it amusing to get one over on the bosses :-)

  19. penny says:

    Gatwick North .Water fountain had notice on it Not in Use !

    • Clive says:

      The water fountain right after security before you go into the duty free shop is now working, there are two together, one is working the other is not (2 Jan 2018)

  20. Susan Benny says:

    At Gatwick North 2 weeks ago, looked and looked, nothing found.
    Stansted recently water fountain toilets at gates in the 40s. But when I took the shuttle train could find nothing.
    Not acceptable when trying to reduce the amount of plastic in the world.

  21. Lulu says:

    Can`t see any water fountains on the departure lounge map of Stansted. Is this all a joke?

    • Pete Barden says:

      Hi Louise. We are looking into this now. Thanks for your message and we will update the feature once we’ve confirmed the situation.

  22. Dominic says:

    STANSTED airport no longer provides water fountains. Probably from when they set up the honesty box.

  23. Jane says:

    I’m at Stansted airport and haven’t found any water fountains near the toilets as claimed. I have asked 4 members of staff (duty free shop, assistance desk, cleaning staff and uniformed support staff) and nobody could tell me where they are. One person suggested they are ‘ out by the gates’ ! There are some bottles of warm water (at a water station near the shuttle trains) for an ‘honesty charge’ of £1 but Boots is cheaper and water is chilled there!!

  24. Maureen says:

    London City – free water?

  25. Clive says:

    There is a website trying to help https://wateratairports.com it is not a commercial site trying to sell something, just a record of where you can free water at airports around the world.

  26. Anne Cross says:

    Prestwick?

    • Josh Sainsbury says:

      Hi – Sadly, this airport has not provided information. If any travellers using it can send us the info, we will gladly include.

  27. Eddie says:

    I don’t see mention of East Midlands Airport

    • Pamela Mathieson says:

      There is no water fountain at East Midlands airport but ask at the bar and they will give you glasses of water to fill your bottles.

      • Paul says:

        At East Midlands there are water fountains immediately after security. Look to your right as you may have passed them depending which security point you have used.

  28. Alan Roberts says:

    No mention of Doncaster Sheffield.. !!

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