When deciding how to get yourself to/from Heathrow Airport, the Elizabeth Line is worth considering.
Firstly, it's half the cost of the Heathrow Express, though it takes twice as long to reach central London.
It's roughly twice as fast as the London Underground, depending on your final destination, though it's roughly twice as expensive.
Secondly, unlike the Heathrow Express, the Elizebeth line can take you further to the eastern edges of London.
As local tour guides, we love this new option and we recommend all of our guests consider using it.
And, in the video below, Margaret, a tour guide with us, Free Tours by Foot, explains how to use the Elizabeth Line.
This post covers what it is, tickets, transfers, and the pros and cons compared to other options.
- What is the Elizabeth Line?
- Tickets and Times
- Transferring to Other Lines
- Getting to the Elizabeth Line at Heathrow
- Pros and Cons
- Heathrow Express
- London Underground
Officially opened in 2022, the new Elizabeth Line is a high-frequency commuter rail line in London, connecting Heathrow Airport with the center of the capital and beyond.
The line incorporates both the London Underground as well as overground rail services.
The line stretches more than 100km, linking Heathrow and Reading in the West through to Sheffield and Abbey Wood in the east.
The parts of the line that run through central London are underground, connected with the tube.
Stopping at 41 fully accessible stations, this is the newest part of the London Underground transport network.
Previously, the Elizabeth Line branch that runs from Heathrow Airport used to terminate at Paddington Station.
But now, it's a full service, with no train changes, running directly from Heathrow to the eastern edges of London is now operational.
NOTE: Some early morning and late evening trains depart from Paddington and Liverpool Street RAIL stations. These are easily accessible from the Underground platforms.
Which Heathrow Terminals does the Elizabeth Line service?
- Heathrow Terminal 2 & 3
- Heathrow Terminal 4
- Heathrow Terminal 5
As part of the London Underground network, you can pay for your journey to or from Heathrow on the Elizabeth Line with a single-use paper ticket, an Oyster Card, or a contactless debit/credit card.
It’s ALWAYS cheaper to use an Oyster Card or your contactless card than it is to buy a paper ticket.
For example - travelling on the Elizabeth Line in Zone 1 will cost £2.80 (£2.70 off-peak) on your Oyster Card but £6.70 when using a paper ticket.
Another nice thing about using the Oyster Card is that you can use the Railcard discount to save 1/3rd when purchasing off-peak tickets.
For more information on Oyster Cards, check out our blog post here: https://freetoursbyfoot.com/oyster-card-london/
If you don't have this payment method, you can purchase admission at a ticket machine in any London underground station that services this line.
NOTE: For stations west of West Drayton, the Elizabeth Line is outside of the Transport for London Network which means an Oyster card is not valid.
Can you use the 60+ Oyster Card on the Elizabeth Line?
Yes, this card for London residents over the age of 60 is valid on the Elizabeth line.
Can you use the Freedom Pass on the Elizabeth Line?
Yes, the Freedom Pass covers the cost of admission for this line.
Cost to Get to/from Heathrow
Any Time Fare: £12.20 to Paddington or £13.30 for stations further east.
Is the Elizabeth Line more expensive than the Piccadilly Line?
This price makes the Elizabeth Line about twice the price of the Piccadilly Line (£5.60 into zone 1 at any time) - but it will get you into central London twice as fast.
The Elizabeth Line is about half the price of a full-fare Heathrow Express ticket but takes twice as long to reach Paddington.
Times and Hours of Operation
Mondays to Saturdays: The Elizabeth Line now operates largely within the same hours as the London Underground Network. First trains depart around 4:30am and the last trains depart shortly after midnight.
Sundays: As above, with the first trains departing shortly after 5:00am and the last trains departing shortly after midnight.
The Elizabeth Line has six trains an hour departing from Heathrow Terminals 2&3 - but only four an hour from Terminal 4, and two an hour from Terminal 5.
The Elizabeth Line is far less frequent than the Piccadilly Line which runs every 5-7 minutes, and slightly less frequent than the Heathrow Express which runs every 15 minutes.
One benefit of the Elizabeth Line is that it connects with many other Underground lines in central London.
This means if you are not staying at Paddington, where the line from Heathrow terminates, you can change to another Elizabeth Line train and travel further into the city to Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Stratford, Whitechapel, and Canary Wharf.
This gives you easy access to the Circle, Hammersmith, and City, Metropolitan, District, Central, Northern, and Jubilee lines as well as the London Overground AND the DLR. Whew!
This means the Elizabeth Line can be a good choice for many as there are vast connections.
It’s also worth noting that ALL Elizabeth Line stations are step-free from street to platform which can be an immense help if you have mobility needs or are travelling with a lot of luggage.
Pay attention, though, the transfers from the Elizabeth Line to other Underground lines may NOT always be step-free.
The Elizabeth Line serves EVERY terminal at Heathrow Airport which means it’s super easy to get on/off the train regardless of which terminal your flight departs/arrives from.
The Heathrow Express, for example, only serves some terminals which means guests have to first travel from one terminal to another to catch the train.
Signage at the airport is clearly marked and you simply wait at the platform for the next available train. Simple!
Does the Elizabeth Line go to Heathrow Airport?
Yes, you can take this train both to and from Heathrow Airport. This Elizabeth Line services terminals 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Unlike The Heathrow Express, makes a number of stops along the journey, which may better suit your travel needs.
- Tickets don’t need to be bought in advance and you can use your Oyster card or contactless card on the day
- Connects with almost all the other major lines of the London Underground Network
- Has larger carriages than the Piccadilly Line with some designated shared luggage and buggy space
- Step-free access to the street at all stations
- Twice the price of the Piccadilly Line
- Journey to Paddington twice the length of the Heathrow Express.
- Transfers from one line to other lines are not always step-free, so could be tricky with luggage.