Being Europe’s biggest and busiest airport and one of the major gateways to London, Heathrow boasts many different ways of shuttling you, once your flight’s touched down, to your hotel. Needless to say, you’re advised to do a bit of research and take a little thinking time to decide which transport’s going to suit you best – indeed, be aware that travel providers traditionally offer cheaper prices to early bookers. So to save both money and hassle, it’s within your interest to check out and – maybe – decide on your airport-to-hotel/ hotel-to-airport transport in advance…
A leading travel operator in the UK, National Express’s coaches can be caught from the airport’s central bus station and will take you not just to and from Central London (Victoria bus station) but to and from destinations throughout the country. Open 24-hours-a-day, the bus station’s just a few minutes’ walk from all of five terminals via underground walkways.
Running up to 100 services a day to and from Heathrow, National Express also handily provides direct connections between Heathrow and other UK – and London-serving – airports. And note that, if there’s a chance you’ll be getting about in a group, there’s real savings to be made on one of their coaches – for instance, four passengers travelling together can save an average 25% on some routes between the airport and other major UK cities. Be sure to check the National Express website for full route and fare information.
By and large, travelling by taxi to a hotel from an airport (or the other way round) is a died-in-the-wool, hassle-free, convenient mode of transport. And your choice is certainly far from limited when it comes to Heathrow – a pretty staggering 600 different taxi companies serve the airport and surrounding areas, many of which offer far from exorbitant rates as it’s a great line of business for them. Alternatively, of course, you could stay at a hotel relatively near the airport that won’t require a logistically-planned journey into the capital but which is also within easy reach of the city, such as the best hotel near Heathrow airport – Park Grand London Heathrow. It’s certainly worth considering; it would ensure getting from Heathrow Airport to a hotel would be very easy, indeed.
The big advantage of this service is that, given it runs direct from the airport’s terminals to the mainline Paddington station right in the heart of the London, it’s the fastest way to get between Heathrow and the capital – taking just 15 minutes either way. Created for business travellers, however, it’s far from the cheapest transport option; most single fares will set you back just over £25, while returns cost around £40.That said, it offers great leg-room and luggage space, decent wheelchair access, free Wireless connection and up-to-the-minute TV news, weather and entertainment updates in every carriage. You’re best advised to book tickets via the trainline.com website or use the fast and easy-to-use ticket machines just outside the platforms at the airport or at Paddington.
Unlike Heathrow Express, the half-hourly Heathrow Connect service isn’t direct as it takes in at least five stops between the airport’s terminals and Paddington (and vice versa); just like Heathrow Express, though, it’s very reliable. And, unless you’re travelling to Terminal 4, it’ll only take 10 minutes longer (it’s 20 minutes longer for Terminal 4 – and, admittedly, you’ll have to hop on the Heathrow Express at the airport to get to Terminal 5). However, as you’d expect, it’s a cheaper option than the other rail service – single tickets go for around £10 and returns around £20. Again, booking’s available through thetrainline.com.
Heathrow is served by three London Underground (Tube) stations on the (dark blue) Piccadilly line; one for Terminals 2 and 3 and one each for Terminals 4 and 5. Journeys to or from Central London usually take 50-60 minutes, running every five minutes at peak-times and every nine minutes off-peak and at weekends. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Tube is not a 24-hour service so doesn’t run through the night; in which case, London features many night buses after dark – the service between Heathrow and Central London is the twice-hourly N9 bus. Check the Transport for London (TfL) website for full and up-to-date information on train times and fares.
Finally, if you really can’t resist sampling the delights of the M4 and M25 motorways, then of course you can take to the road yourself to get between Heathrow and London. A sensible way of doing so (if possible) that both reduces pollution and cuts down on fuel and parking costs is to car-share. You can join Liftshare.com, the UK’s largest and totally free car-sharing network, to find like-minded people whom may be considering the same road journey.