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Best Way between Heathrow Airport and London

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This post covers the many options that you have to travel between London and Heathrow Airport.

We include the London Underground's Picadilly Line, the new Elizabeth Line, Heathrow Express, as well as public buses, taxis, rideshares and more.


How to Get from Heathrow to London?

Spread over 5 terminals, Heathrow Airport is one of the most modern and most visited airports in the entire world with nearly 200,000 passengers passing through every single day!

The majority of people visiting London from outside of Europe will arrive at Heathrow and because of its stature and importance, there are a number of ways to travel to and from the airport.


London Underground

By far the easiest and most affordable way to get to and from Heathrow Airport.

The Piccadilly Line runs through all 5 terminals of Heathrow Airport as well as straight through the centre of London, offering connections with every other tube line on the London Underground network.  

Use our Google Map and input the address of your final destination for directions and travel time from Heathrow.  

Travel time on the Tube is roughly 45 minutes to central London.

Piccadilly line trains run out of Heathrow from 5:00 to 23:00.

Ticket prices from Zone 1 to Heathrow are £6.30 for a cash-bought paper ticket, £5.50 on Oyster card during peak times (6:30 – 9:30 and 16:30 – 19:00) and only £3.50 on Oyster card during off-peak times. 

Zones TraveledSingle Ticket AdultSingle Ticket Child (11-15)Oyster and Contactless Cards (Peak)Oyster and Contactless Cards (Off-Peak)
1£6.30£3.10£2.50£2.50
1-2£6.30£3.10£3.20£2.60
1-3£6.30£3.10£3.60£2.90
1-4£6.30£3.10£4.30£3.10
1-5£6.30£3.10£5.00£3.40
1-6£6.30£3.10£5.50£3.50

Journey times vary depending on where your hotel is but from Green Park in the centre of Zoned 1 the ride to Heathrow takes just under an hour.

If you want to get your Oyster card or travel card before you travel, make sure to check out our guide HERE.


The Heathrow Express

A train line that takes passengers directly from the airport to Paddington Station in London’s Zone 1.

The trains depart from Paddington and London Heathrow every 15 minutes, meaning you can simply turn up and purchase a ticket for the next departing service without having to book in advance.

Paddington Station is situated on the Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City, Circle and Metropolitan lines so every area in central London is easily accessible on the London Underground Network.

First and last trains vary depending on your required terminal at Heathrow, but service generally runs from 5:15am until just before midnight.

Ticket price for a standard return fare is £37.00 when bought at the station or online - although if you purchase your tickets more than 90 days in advance online you can get up to 75% off.


The Elizabeth Line (Formerly Heathrow Connect/TFL Rail)

A train service taking passengers from Heathrow to Paddington Station in London’s Zone 1.

Officially opened in 2022, the new Elizabeth Line connects Heathrow Airport with central London and beyond.

Trains depart every 30 minutes and it takes just 35 minutes to get to Paddington Station.

You can use your Oyster card and expect to pay £10.70 off-peak and £12.70 at peak times to get into town.

The Elizabeth like, unlike The Heathrow Express, makes a number of stops along the journey.

Passengers can embark or alight at any of these stations, including Ealing Broadway which is on the Central and District Lines, which may work better for your connections.


National Express

A coach service that runs throughout the day and night that can be boarded from a number of locations (Marble Arch, Victoria, Baker Street, etc.) within central London.

national express from heathrow airport

Tickets are £15 one-way and on average, journey time is around 40 minutes to an hour - but can last as long as 2 hours depending on traffic and time of travel.

Also consider the fact that there are restrictions on the amount, size, and weight of luggage you can take onto the National Express so make sure you fall within the guidelines before you travel!


London Black Cabs

Maybe you just want an iconic ride from the airport to your hotel!

There is a taxi rank right outside each terminal so it's very easy to simply collect your bags, and get into a cab.

But note that this will cost you - a cab ride into central London can be well over £100.00 one way.

black cab taxis heathrow airport

For peace of mind, consider booking your pick up/drop off with us using our friends at London Historical Taxi Tours. You can even combine your airport journey with a guided tour!

These taxis provide a professional, competitive and reliable airport transfer services to and from Gatwick, Heathrow, Stanstead, Luton and London city airport.

They can also provide a “meet and greet” service at the airport. What we quote you is what you pay!

All prices include airport charges, all at 15 – 20% below meter prices. 

Just e-mail us for a quote.


Ride Shares

There's a number of ride share apps you can download, like Uber or Bolt.

These services give you the option of travelling on your own, or sharing the journey with passengers going the same direction, for a cheaper rate.

Take note that the drivers for these services are NOT permitted to pick up their guests at the taxi ranks outside the airport.

So, you will need to make your way to a designated pick up area (such as a the short stay car park) to meet your car.

You'll be paying a base rate of £10.00, then around £1.00 - £1.28 per mile and 0.12p a minute.

For a journey into the middle of town, assuming there is no traffic, you'll be paying somewhere above or below £50.00 on average.

Note that if you are travelling during rush hour, your journey can last up to two hours depending on your end location.


Shared Van Shuttle Services

These services will see you taking a ride on a van to your hotel, along with other passengers going in the same direction.

All guests are individually dropped off at their hotels which means it can add some time to your journey, but the drivers will meet you inside the airport terminal which makes it a stress-free option.

Note that these shuttles usually have strict luggage policies to fit everybody's cases on board so make sure you are within the limits before you travel!

These usually run £15 - £25 per person, so it's definitely within budget, provided you have the extra time and not too much luggage!

Check out GO Airport Shuttle, JayRide, or Shuttle Direct.

If you'd rather avoid public transportation, the GO Airport Shuttle offers reliable 24/7 airport shuttles and car service from Heathrow (and other London) airports.

With upfront pricing you'll know exactly how much it will cost before you hop in!

With the number of discount flights that take off/land outside of public transportation hours, GO Airport Shuttle is a great option for midnight rides


HotelHoppa

Also operated by National Express, HotelHoppa is an option for visitors who are staying at hotels near Heathrow Airport.

A bus service that costs £10.50 return, HotelHoppa services run from ‘first thing in the morning to last thing at night.’


The London Transport Pass

If you’re interested in a private transfer from the airport to London city center, this is an excellent alternative to some of the other options on our list.

In addition to covering the costs of a private transfer, the London Transport Pass also includes a 1-Day Travelcard (£18+) at no extra cost.

At a cost of only £37 per pass, that means you’re really only paying £19 for the private transfer. Given that this service typically costs at least £25-£45, that’s a pretty good deal!

Visitors who plan to travel around the city for at least one day while in London may find that the Travelcard is quite useful.

That said, if you’re curious about the different options for public transport, please read our post about the Oyster Card and Travelcards.


Summary

When it comes to travelling to/from Heathrow Airport, it's a matter of weighing up time vs. cost.

Cheapest: The London Underground is the cheapest way to travel, but it can take over an hour to get into central London, and even longer depending on the location of your hotel.

Fastest: The Heathrow Express is the fastest way to travel, getting you to central London in 15 minutes, but it comes with a cost £37.00 round trip.

Easiest: A Black Cab or a hired car is the easiest way to travel, with pick up points directly outside the airport doors, assistance with your baggage, and drop off directly to your hotel door, but you'll pay for it - over £100.00 in most cases.

Individual circumstances vary, however, so make sure to look at all your options to choose the one that is right for you!


RELATED POSTS

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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: November 3rd, 2022
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