Heathrow is not only London’s biggest travel hub, it is also one of the busiest airports in Europe. Pre-pandemic they recorded an incredible 80 million passenger journeys- forget Europe, that makes Heathrow the 7th busiest airport in the world.
Despite the incredible numbers of people that move through the airport the entire operation is performed with just two runways- a truly staggering feat, and one that would not be possible without incredible logistical skill and awesome public transport links.
Heathrow is one of the key airports for London, and the entire UK, so why is it 20 miles out of the city centre?
During your next visit to the capital you’ll likely be landing at Heathrow and wondering how on earth you’re going to make the 20 mile slog to the city centre- so let us help you out.
If you’ve got a long layover, or you’re just in town for a few days don’t confine yourself to Heathrow and the surrounding area. Head into London and enjoy one of the greatest cities on earth. There are some amazing hotels near Osterley that put you in the perfect location to explore the city and have easy access to the airport.
Book a room in the luxurious Park Grand Heathrow to have all your needs met; it’s the finest budget hotel near Heathrow Airport and offers incredible transport links to the city centre.
Let’s take a look at the best ways to get to the city from the airport.
The Heathrow Express is something of a game changer.
London is home to nearly 9 million people, and some of the streets were designed up to 2,000 years ago, so it’s not exactly the most car friendly city in the world.
During peak times the roads can pretty much come to stand still, so things like the Heathrow express really take the pressure off.
You can reach London Paddington, in the heart of the city, in a little over 15 minutes from all of Heathrow’s terminals- and this is great news. From London Paddington you are essentially connected to the entire underground and overground network, as well as the rest of the country.
The only problem with this service? It can be a little pricey.
An anytime day single will set you back at least £25, and a return will be £37.
Even though the journey time is fantastically short, it may be a large chunk of most people’s budget.
The Heathrow Express is perhaps best for business people looking for efficiency over all else.
The iconic London Underground- the world’s very first underground passenger train, that first started operating in 1863.
It’s the key to the entire city and beyond, with branches that spread as far as 25 miles from the city centre. It caters for over a billion journeys every year and, yes, it services Heathrow.
You can reach every terminal at the airport and the trains are extremely regular. The journey is much longer than what the Heathrow Express can offer, at around an hour in some cases, but the cost and availability of the trains is unmatched.
Two lines actually connect the airport with the city so let’s compare.
The old Piccadilly line works its way past many Hotels Near Heathrow Station, like the Park Grand at Osterley Station, and then into the city centre reaching Piccadilly in around 55 minutes.
Next up is TfL’s latest addition and crowning glory- the Elizabeth Line. Opened in May 2022, this stunning new line shows us what is possible with modern transport technology.
It’s fast, clean and comfortable and will get you into Paddington in just 35 minutes from Terminal 5.
This is the option pretty much everyone will use to travel between Heathrow and the city centre.
A ride into Zone 1 on the tube costs just £6!
It’s the most used form of transport in the country for good reason- and you’ll get to ride in London’s newest and finest train, with free wifi of course.
One thing that is often overlooked in London is the coach network.
If you’re looking to get pretty much anywhere in the country at an incredibly low price, then coaching it is the way to go.
The UK is quite a condensed country, so the road network is solid- thanks to this you can grab a coach from Brighton on the south coast, all the way to Edinburgh for around £30!
Now getting to the London Victoria Bus Station may take a while if there’s traffic on the roads, but the service does run 24hrs with up to 51 trips per day- that gives you pretty good odds of getting where you need to go in time!
The cost of getting the coach can vary wildly- try and book as far in advance as possible and it will cost you around £6. Booking on the day can cost you £15 or more, so try and be organised!
There are of course local buses that service Heathrow, but if you’re going into the centre of London it is probably the most inefficient way.
There are many different services, and many different prices and routes so take a look before you go- and be prepared for a longer journey time.
Getting taxis around London is a pretty iconic thing to do- all you see in movies is people easily moving around the city without a care in the world, whilst their taxi driver breezes them through traffic.
The reality is a bit different. Taxis can be a great way to get around, but they aren’t cheap. They usually sit way outside of people’s budget, especially on longer journeys- and of course are heavily impacted by traffic.
There are two types of taxi that operate in the city, so let’s take a look.
The iconic black cab is a staple of the city- you’ll see them everywhere during your stay.
If you’re fully invested in the London experience then riding in one can be fun. The drivers actually have to pass a test and memorise 30,000 streets to drive one!
Everyone is familiar with how Uber works, so I won’t explain it to you.
The city is a great place to grab an Uber, with hundreds of cars ready to go at pretty much any hour!
Getting a taxi can be an expensive thing to do- especially when the underground can do the same.
If you get a taxi then you’ll be paying anywhere from £50-£100. Black cabs can fit 5 people, so it’s not too bad, and they’ll drop you right to the door.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about using public transport to get into the city from Heathrow.
Despite the 20 mile gap between them, London’s amazing public transport network makes it a doddle.
Don’t fret when you arrive, just follow this guide and you’ll be exploring the city in no time!