This post covers the many options that you have to travel between London and Heathrow Airport (LHR).
We include the London Underground's Picadilly Line, the new Elizabeth Line, and Heathrow Express, as well as public buses, taxis, rideshares, and more.
When it comes to travelling to/from Heathrow Airport, it's a matter of weighing up time vs. cost.
Which option is best or fastest depends greatly on your final destination.
As local London tour guides, we all pass through Heathrow Airport quite regularly, both for personal and professional trips.
We've used each and every option listed below, so we know a thing or two about this topic.
In the video below, I, Margaret, a tour guide with Free Tours by Foot London, go over the pros and cons of each mode of transport.
I have sprinkled shorter snippets of this video in each section as well.
The Quick Answers
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.
The Heathrow Express is "usually" the fastest way to travel, getting you to central London in 15 minutes, but it comes with a cost of £37.00 round trip.
The Elizabeth Line is often a compromise between the London Underground and the Heathrow Express, costing between £12.20 and £13.30 each way and taking 30-35 minutes.
A Black Cab or a hired car is the easiest way to travel, with convenient pick-up points, baggage assistance, and hotel drop-off, but you'll pay for it - over £100.00 in most cases.
Now, on to the full details.
How to Get from Heathrow to London?
Spread over 5 terminals, London Heathrow Airport is one of the most modern and most visited airports in the UK and the entire world.
It has nearly 200,000 passengers passing through every single day!
The majority of people visiting London from outside of Europe will arrive at Heathrow.
As a result of its stature and importance, there are a number of ways to travel to and from the airport.
The best method ultimately depends on the time of day, your group size, how much luggage you have, and of course your budget.
By far the most affordable way to get to and from Heathrow Airport. Some might say also the easiest.
The Piccadilly Line runs through all Heathrow terminals as well as straight through the centre of London, offering connections with every other tube line on the London Underground network.
Use Google Maps 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 the Heathrow Airport underground stations from Mondays to Thursdays from 5:00 to 23:00.
On Fridays and Saturday nights (or early Saturday and Sunday mornings), there is what’s called the Night Tube.
Trains run 24 hours a day roughly every 10 minutes to and from Heathrow, with the exception of Terminal 4.
In the video below, I explain the pros and cons of taking the Underground from Heathrow Airport.
Ticket prices from Zone 1 to Heathrow are £6.30 for a cash-bought paper ticket, £5.50 on an Oyster card during peak times (6:30 – 9:30 and 16:30 – 19:00), and only £3.50 on an Oyster card during off-peak times.
This is definitely the cheapest option from Heathrow to London.
|Zones Traveled||Single Ticket Adult||Single Ticket Child (11-15)||Oyster and Contactless Cards (Peak)||Oyster and Contactless Cards (Off-Peak)|
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.
There are some things to consider, such as the potential for navigating long halls and stairs if you have to transfer between Underground trains, etc.
We have a post dedicated solely to explaining how to take the London Underground from Heathrow Airport to London.
The Heathrow Express Train
A train line that takes passengers directly from the airport to London Paddington Station in Zone 1.
The trains depart from Paddington and London Heathrow every 15 minutes.
This means that you can simply turn up and purchase a ticket for the next departing service without having to book in advance.
In this video, I explain the pros and cons of taking the Heathrow Express, my choice, especially when my company is paying :):
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 5:15 am until just before midnight.
The ticket price for a standard return fare is £37.00 when bought at the station or online.
However, if you purchase your tickets more than 90 days in advance online you can get up to 75% off!
For more details, read our full post on taking the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station.
The Elizabeth Line
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.
There are 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.
You can use your Oyster card and expect to pay between £12.20 and £13.30 for a one way journey.
The Elizabeth Line, 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.
And, in this video, I go over the pros and cons of taking the Elizabeth Line.
Read our full post with tips on taking the Elizabeth Line.
A coach service that runs throughout the day and night can be boarded from a number of locations (Marble Arch, Victoria Station, Baker Street, etc.) within central London.
Tickets are, on average, around £10.50 one-way.
The 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 a National Express bus.
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.
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 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!
Just e-mail us for a quote.
These services give you the option of travelling on your own or sharing the journey with passengers going in 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 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.
However, 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!
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
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.