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Elizabeth Line to and from Heathrow Airport

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When deciding how to get yourself to/from Heathrow airport, the Elizabeth Line is worth considering. Find out more below!


What is the Elizabeth Line?

Officially opened in 2022, the new Elizabeth Line is a high-frequency commuter rail line in London, connecting Heathrow Airport with the centre of the capital and beyond.

The line incorporations 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 full accessible stations, this is the newest part of the London Underground transport network.

As of writing (September 2022), the Elizabeth Line branch that runs from Heathrow Airport terminates at Paddington Station.

The Elizabeth Line then does continue from Paddington to Liverpool Street, but guests much change platforms at Paddington to continue their journey further east along the line.

The same situation applies at Liverpool Street Station with guests needing to change platforms to continue eastwards. This is also the case for east to west journeys. (See the map above)

A full, through service, with no train changes, running directly from Heathrow to the eastern edges of London is expected to begin in November 2022.


TICKETS AND COSTS

Ticket Types

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 £2.40 on your Oyster Card but £4.90 when using a paper ticket.

For more information on Oyster Cards, check out our blog post here: https://freetoursbyfoot.com/oyster-card-london/

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.


Cost to Get to/from Heathrow

Peak Times: £12.70 one way (Peak Times are Monday to Friday from 6:30 - 9:30 and again from 16:00 - 19:00)

Off-Peak: £10.70 one way (Off-Peak Times are any times outside of the above)

This price makes the Elizabeth Line about twice the price of the Piccadilly Line - 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

Monday to Saturday: 6:30 - 23:00

Sunday: No Service

Trains depart every 30 minutes and it takes just 35 minutes to travel between Paddington Station and Heathrow.

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.

Both the Heathrow Express and the Piccadilly Line operate on Sundays, which may make your decision much easier.

NOTE: The Elizabeth Line is not yet fully completed and it is thought that once engineering works are finished on all aspects of the line, the trains WILL run on Sundays and supply a far more frequent service.


TRANSFERS AT PADDINGTON STATION

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, unlike with the Heathrow Express which takes you directly to Paddington only.

NOTE: As of September 2022, travellers going East - West or West - East on the Elizabeth Line must change trains at both Liverpool Street and Paddington Station at the present time.

However, these changes are simple and don’t involve complicated platform changes as with changing from one Underground line to another. This is expected to change in November 2022 with no changes needed.

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.


GETTING TO THE ELIZABETH LINE AT HEATHROW AIRPORT

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!


Pros and Cons of Taking the Elizabeth Line to/from Heathrow Airport

Pros:

 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

Cons:

  • Twice the price of the Piccadilly Line
  • Journey to Paddington twice the length of the Heathrow Express.
  • Transfers from line to other lines are not always step free, so could be tricky with luggage.
  • Currently, only two trains an hour depart for central London from Heathrow Airport, although this is likely to change in November.
  • Currently, there is still no Sunday service for the line, although this is expected to change in November.

About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: September 6th, 2022
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