Arriving at Heathrow Airport for the first time can be a very confusing experience. If you’ve never been to Heathrow before, you may find yourself lost and bewildered in a fog of jetlag as you try to navigate through this giant airport. Fresh off the plane, all you can think about is finding your hotel, taking a shower and collapsing into bed…but how to get there?
Or perhaps you are at the end of your London stay and heading back to Heathrow Airport. You don’t have time to take the Piccadilly line for an hour and a taxi is too expensive…so what do you do to catch your flight on time?
The answer to both of these questions lies at Heathrow Central railway station. Here, you’ll find the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services – two fast, convenient rail services to get you straight to your destination with minimal fuss. Where a taxi might empty your wallet, these train services will deliver you smoothly to Paddington Station for a very reasonable price.
It’s important to note that Heathrow Central station is not the same as Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3 Station – that station is part of the London Underground and serviced by the Piccadilly Line. It’s cheap, especially if you have an Oyster card, but it takes about an hour to get to central London and you may have to deal with peak-hour commuter crowds.
The Heathrow Express runs non-stop between Heathrow and Paddington in just 15 minutes. It’s the preferred transport for those who travel often and don’t like to deal with long train rides. It runs every 15 minutes, and adult single tickets start from £21.50. It’s better to buy these online before you arrive rather than waiting at the ticket office; you also cannot use a travel card or Oyster card. It’s a price worth paying for a stress-free trip.
Heathrow Express also provides a free shuttle train every 15 minutes between Heathrow Central station and Heathrow Terminal 4. The normal Express train stops at Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5.
The Heathrow Connect service runs every half an hour, and stops at several stations between the airport and Paddington Station, including Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall and Hayes-and-Harlington. You can use a travel card or Oyster card on this train, but it will only cover you between Paddington and Hayes-and-Harlington as well as allowing you to receive a discount on your fare to Heathrow. A single ticket on the Heathrow Connect from Paddington costs £10.10 and the journey takes around 25 minutes – the perfect amount of time to relax, get your bearings and plan your transfer from Paddington to your hotel.
The Heathrow Connect is a good service to use if you are planning on staying in a hotel near the airport, such as the Grand Park Hotel London Hounslow, because it stops at several stations before it arrives in central London. This way, you save money, time and effort, leaving you with more time to enjoy the fabulous holiday destination that is London.