This post covers the Heathrow Express, whether you should take it to Paddington Station or not, as well as information on tickets, transfers, and other tips.
- Tickets + Schedule
- Transfers at Paddington Station
- Pros and Cons
- Tips on Using the London Underground
- Things to Do in London
What is the Heathrow Express?
Heathrow Express is a specialised train service that runs, continuously, every 15 minutes, between Paddington Station and Heathrow Airport.
It's the fastest way to travel into central London from Heathrow Airport, with journey times lasting a mere 15 minutes as the train makes no stops anywhere other than the airport at Paddington.
The trains a modern, with a new fleet introduced in 2021, and all have designated luggage space in abundance.
The Heathrow Express stops at both Terminal 2 & 3 as well as Terminal 5.
If you need to get to Terminal 4, there is a free transfer rail service or shuttle bus to get you to/from Terminal 4 to the Heathrow Express platform.
Find out more about navigating within Heathrow Airport on our blog post HERE.
Tickets, Costs, and Times
Note that you can also use an Oyster card or a Contactless Credit Card to pay for your journey by 'tapping in' at the rail barriers right before you board.
Doing this will have you paying the same price as if you bought your ticket from a machine beforehand.
However, if you book online in advance you can save as much as 75% off your ticket price so we suggest booking ahead when possible.
There are several ticket types, but for most travellers, the Advance Purchase Single is the cheapest and the Anytime Day Single is the most flexible.
You can also use the Heathrow Express app to have easy access to the train schedules as well as the cheapest ticket prices.
These tickets allow you to travel on any train at any time.
If you buy the tickets online, they cost:
- £25.00 single and £37.00 return Express Class
- £32.00 single and £55.00 return Business First Class
- Under 15s travel FREE (note they must be accompanied by a paying adult or have proof of air travel and age if travelling alone)
The return is an open-ended ticket that is valid for up to 30 calendar days.
Advance Express Saver Tickets
If you purchase your ticket online, or through the app, at least 90 days before you travel, you can save up to 75% on your ticket.
Express Saver tickets can be as cheap as £5.50! These tickets can only be bought one way, so you will need to purchase two.
These will permit you travel at any time on the date the ticket is booked for.
Note that these tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable regardless of your reasons for changes/cancellations.
Express Class vs. Business First Class Tickets
For most visitors, Express (standard) Class will work perfectly well. However, Business Class does offer a few perks:
- Power sockets at every seat
- Extra luggage space
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Larger seats
- Extra leg room
- Complimentary magazines and newspapers
- At seat tables
Duo and Group Saver Tickets
For two adults travelling together, a Duo Saver ticket will save you 25%. This ticket can only be booked online and is only offered as a return ticket.
Both guests must travel together each way, on any day within one month of purchase.
This ticket has to be bought in advance and you must use code DUOSAVER when purchasing to bag the deal.
For three or more adults travelling together, a Group Saver ticket will save you 1/3 of your ticket cost.
This ticket can only be booked online and is offered as either a single or a return ticket.
The same guests must travel together for each journey, on any day within one month of purchase.
This ticket has to be bought in advance and you must use code 3RDOFF when purchasing to bag the deal.
Tickets bought with either of these deals are non-refundable, regardless of your reason for not travelling.
Frequent Traveller or Large Group Carnets
Carnets are groups of one-way tickets that you can purchase at one time. The tickets can be used on any day you'd like, within the next 12 months.
Tickets can be used by the purchaser, or given to others. If you are a frequent traveller or you have a big group, these are a great way to save money.
Carnet 6 - This gives you 6 single journeys for the price of 5
Carnet 12 - This gives you 12 single journeys for the price of 9
|Ticket Type||One-Way Online||Return Online||One-Way at Station||Return at Station|
|Business First Class||£32.00||£55.00||£32.00||£55.00|
|Children Under 15*||FREE||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|Advance Express Saver Ticket||Starting from £5.50||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Group Saver (Example: 3 Travellers)||£50.00||£74.00||N/A||N/A|
|Carnet - Express Class - 6 Single Tickets||£109.80||£198.00 (Carnet 12)||£109.80||£198.00 (Carnet 12)|
|Carnet - Express Class - 12 Single Tickets||£198.00||N/A||£198.00||N/A|
|Carnet - Business First Class - 6 Single Tickets||£160.00||£288.00 (Carnet 12)||£160.00||£288.00 (Carnet 12)|
|Carnet - Business First Class - 12 Single Tickets||£288.00||N/A||£288.00||N/A|
Heathrow Express Trains depart both Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station every 15 minutes throughout the day.
First Train to Heathrow 7 Days a Week: Leaves Paddington Station at 05:10 (5:10 am)
Last Train to Heathrow 7 Days a Week: Leaves Paddington Station at 23:25 (11:25 pm)
First Train to Paddington Monday to Saturday: Leaves Heathrow Airport at 05:12 (5:12 am)
First Train to Paddington Sundays and Public Holidays: Leaves Heathrow Airport Terminals 2&3 (does not call at Terminal 5) at 05:17 (5:17 am)
First Train to Paddington Sundays and Public Holidays: Leaves Terminal 5 at 05:27 (5:27 am)
Transferring at Paddington Station
As we mentioned above, all Heathrow Express Trains travel directly between Heathrow Airport and Paddington Rail Station.
For some travellers, your hotel or accommodations will be within walking distance of the station, but for most, the station is a transfer point.
Most transfers involve the London Underground. At Paddington Rail Station, you can transfer to the Bakerloo, Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan, Circle, and Elizabeth Lines.
If you are unfamiliar with London's "subway' system, then read our guide to navigating the London Underground as well as our breakdown of Oyster and travel cards.
If you are arriving in Paddington earlier than your hotel check-in, you might want to start off with some of your sightseeing.
In fact, some hop-on hop-off bus tours start there, but we recommend taking one of our guide walking tours or audio tours.
If you wish to get going straight away and need to drop off your bags, there are many places to store your luggage nearby, starting at £6.00 per bag for the full day.
Heathrow Express Pros and Cons
- Most comfortable
- Most luggage space
- Step-free access
Firstly, this is by far the fastest option, taking just 15 minutes to get you from the airport into the centre of London.
It's also the most comfortable option.
You're more than likely to always have a seat as the train begins at both Paddington and the Airport, meaning guests getting on are the only ones using the service.
You may find yourself standing on options such as picking up the Piccadilly Line to head to the airport.
And there is plenty of luggage space.
Taking the Piccadilly Line or the Elizabeth Line from the airport is great as you'll be the first passengers on board so you can claim the space for your bags.
However, trying to squeeze onto a tube train in the middle of town with all of your bags on your journey out to the airport can be a real struggle.
Also, there is step-free access to the platforms at both the airport and Paddington Station meaning you don't have to haul your bags up/down the stairs.
If you are a wheelchair user, you will find access at both stops wheelchair-friendly with a portable ramp available to make sure you can easily get on and off the train.
Without a doubt, the biggest drawback to the Heathrow Express is the cost.
Considering a ride on the Piccadilly line will set you back as little as £5.50, it can be hard to splash out for the Express ticket.
However, remember that if you book. more than 90 days in advance you can get yourself a ticket on the Express for a comparable price.
Secondly, Paddington Station may not be very close or convenient to where you are staying.
Since the Heathrow Express has no other stops, you'll be forced to transfer onto the Underground at Paddington (or take a taxi) - regardless of your final destination.
For example, if you are staying further east, the Elizabeth Line may be a better option.
Or, if you are staying near Wimbledon then the Piccadilly line with a very easy change at Baron's Court Station do the District Line would be your best bet.
View the map above to see if the Heathrow Express is the most convenient train line for you.