Heathrow Express or Underground?

Old Sep 1st, 2004, 05:54 PM
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Heathrow Express or Underground?

My husband and I will be taking our first trip to London in October. We will be arriving at Heathrow on a Saturday morning and will need to return to Heathrow the following Saturday afternoon. We will be staying within walking distance of the Maide Vale tube stop. What is the best way to get from Heathrow to Maide Vale? Is it the Heathrow Express (we would probably need to take the tube from Paddington to Maide Vale - right?) or should we just take the tube from Heathrow to Maide Vale? Approximately how long would it take for us to get from Heathrow to Maide Vale on Heathrow Express vs tube? Is there a significant cost difference between Heathrow Express and the tube? To assist you with answering my questions, here is some information about us and how we travel: We are very light travelers - we will each have one carry-on suitcase w/ wheels and a small bag. We are both young, so we can handle some extra walking or stairs if necessary (we've dragged our suitcases on buses in Sydney and the tube in Rome). Thank you in advance for any suggestions and help! I have found a ton of useful info on this site, but could not find a thread that answered this particular question (if I missed something, please post existing threads that answer this question). Thanks again!
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 06:16 PM
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Personally, I think it would be more of a hassle and take a lot longer on the tube to Maida Vale. The Heathrow Express will be more money however. Check out www.heathrowexpress.com. I've never been that far north so I don't know how far it is from Paddington to walk, you may need to take a taxi or the tube from there.
I'm sure others can help more.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 06:24 PM
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The Piccadilly Line runs from Heathrow Airport and Maida Vale station is on the Central Line, so you will have to make a change. Here is link to London Transport map.
http://www.londontransport.co.uk/tfl...s/undmap.pdfre
The last time I travelled to London I used the tube as my hotel was near a station on the Piccadilly Line. It was great! There is some walking through terminal to station, and I recall one set of small stairs before we boarded the train. The price difference is approximately 15 pounds one way so the tube is very reasonable compared to the Heathrow Express; however, it would be much faster. My trip took about 55 minutes so my guess is another 45 minutes or so to Maida Vale. Perhaps a Londoner could confirm. The Heathrow Express takes about 15 minutes to Paddington.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 06:41 PM
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If I were doing this, I'd probably do the Heathrow express to Paddington Station, then switch there to Bakerloo line, which is only 2 stops to Maida Vale.

Otherwise, you would take the Piccadilly Line from Heathrow to Piccadilly-- that would take a bit over an hour (perhaps up to 1 hr 20 minutes or so), and switch there to the Bakerloo-- spend perhaps another 30 minutes on that line. Then you have to add time walking through the connections at Piccadilly-- I'd add about 20 minutes here with luggage. So about 2 hours (?) (I'm guessing, because I've not taken the Bakerloo line up as far as Maida Vale)

The switch with luggage at Piccadilly can be a real pain-- lots of walking, up and down stairs, and truly ghastly if the escalators are down, which they are, too often when you are going with luggage!

Heathrow Express would take 15-20 minutes, then a switch at Paddington, and perhaps 10 minutes max to Maida Vale.

If we assume you'd buy a Zone 1/2 tube pass for your visit, you would just have to add the extension to Heathrow OR the Heathrow Express price to that...I think the HE is 11 pounds pp, the tube extension to Heathrow for 1 trip is about 3 pounds per person...so taking the tube all the way is cheaper (by almost $16 per person), but not sure it is worth the time and hassle, especially after a long trip.

You'll be really tired when you arrive-- I say take the HE into Maida Vale, and once you get used to the tube and switching lines at Paddington (which I'm sure you will do many times during your visit) you can elect to save a bit by taking the tube to heathrow on your way home.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 11:47 PM
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The tube.

Virtually everything that follows is contained at the Transport for London site (www.tfl.gov.uk)

The HEX is £13 single, and the connecting tube is £2. HEXs go every 15 minutes, so on average you'll wait 8 minutes and take 15 mins to Paddington (=23 mins). Allow 10 mins transfer time if you're a slow walker (3 is nearer the mark) and it's 4 mins by tube to Maida Vale: these tubes run every 3-5 mins. About 40 mins. £30 for two

By tube only, the total cost will be £3.80 each. Tubes run about every 5 mins (maybe 8 mins very early on Sats)The tfl site claims roughly 60 mins to Maida Vale, changing at Earls Court (to the District Line) and Paddington. £7.60 for two

With fewer changes, and using lines far less liable to disruption, taking the tube to Picadilly Circus is a 47 min journey. It's hard to see how you could take more than 5 mins for a pretty painless connection to the Bakerloo line if your luggage is light. It's then 10 mins to Maida Vale.

Since you'll be travelling when virtually no-one else is, I'd have thought the cost advantages of the tube kill the 20 minutes you save stone dead.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:04 AM
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Flanneruk couldn't have put it more clearly. If you want to save a few ££ (without a real loss of time), the tube is quite straightforward and won't be all that busy at that time.

Someone mentioned Maida Vale was on the Central Line. Later posts have not corrected this but as they have stated, it's on the Bakerloo line.

I've lost count of the number of times I've been out to Heathrow and have never got the Heathrow Express. Unless Paddington is your final stop or you can't carry your bags more than a few yards I tend to feel the tube is fine.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 02:57 AM
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As an essentially lazy person, who also has to drag myself around the Tube network daily, I would always take the Express and then grab a 5 min taxi ride to my front door in Maida Vale. From the arrivals gate to my front door on 30mins - marvelous! But it doesn't sound like you're as lazy or perhaps as wasteful with money as I am.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 04:14 AM
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I lived in Maida Vale for 7 years. I'd say use the Heathrow Express + Bakerloo line tube from Paddington to Maida Vale which as other posters have said is only 2 stops & max 10 mins. You would be changing at Paddington whether you got the HE or the tube from Heathrow & the changeover time would be much the same. The tube out to Heathrow can be OK if you are travelling at a quiet time & lucky with your timings - on the other hand it can be horrible, taking up to an hour and a half, crowded and having to stand all the way. It is too far to walk from Paddington to Maida Vale - about 25 minutes & not a nice walk. Maida Vale is very nice, though - I miss it !
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:02 AM
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Sorry, I find the TFL website info on times laughable. I take the tube from Heathrow to S. Ken (no change of lines) all the time, and I have yet to do it in under 55 minutes! (And I usually allow 1 hr 15 minutes, just to be safe..) And taking the District/Circle Line? With its records of extraordinary delays and less frequent service? Don't trust it (though safer to take it into the city than when you are going out to Heathrow. )
I've also tried to negotiate station changes with small roll-aboard and shoulder bag at various stations and to various lines...can't remember Bakerloo, but I don't think a person with luggage can count on a 5 minute change, even during times when the station isn't crammed with rushing commuters.
But I don't disagree that one can save enough to make it worthwhile...I'm just not sure that I would try this on a first trip to London, with luggage, arriving on a busy Saturday morning after an overnight transatlantic flight with no sleep. That way they can make an informed decision themselves on their next trip!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:09 AM
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Thank you everyone for the very helpful tips! I still haven't made up my mind on which one to take, but at least I know the pros and cons of each option. One more question for everyone - does it make sense for us to buy the 7 day travel card for Zones 1 & 2 since we are staying out in Zone 2?

(Mrs Jones - Glad to hear Maide Vale is nice!)
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:36 AM
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I've been to London 3x's and am currently planning the 4th trip. I have always bought the 7 day travelcard and like having it beforehand. We have bought both zones 1-2 and 1-6 as this last trip we used the tube outside the 2 zones repeatedly. Some posters on here don't like to buy the travelcards ahead although I'll never understand why. Do a search on this as someone asked this question a few days ago.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:44 AM
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It's easy to buy the 7day passes at the Heathrow station (Paddington Express and underground are in the same station). There are both machines and an attended booth. I've never seen much of a line at either. (Stop at an ATM in the terminal to get some pounds. before proceeding to the station.) I'd buy the Zones 1 &2-- you can always pay an increment for 1 trip if you need to go outside this area. Love those travel cards...
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:46 AM
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One big advantage of the Piccadilly Line from Heathrow is that trains are scheduled to run every five minutes. I use this line most days and it is very rare to find no seats. If a train is full, do not get on it: wait for the next one. There are normally more seats towards the front of the train.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Specter, If I can be nosey I was wondering why you chose Maida Vale to stay in? I've never been there but it seems far out of town for a first trip.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 09:17 AM
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For goodness sake: don't buy a Zone 1-6 Visitor Travelcard for the whole week if you're only going to use the 6th zone once. Get a Zone 1-2 pass and use a Zone 2-6 supplement (£1) to get from Heathrow to your hotel. Returning to Heathrow on the 8th day will require a single ticket.

The quickest route (55 minutes, 2 connections) is: Picadilly Line to Earl's Court, then District Line to Paddington, finally Bakerloo to Maida Vale.

If schlepping luggage around Tube stations is an issue, then the fewest connections route (70 minutes) is: Piccadilly Line to Piccadilly Circus, then Bakerloo Line to Maida Vale.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 10:02 AM
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tudorprincess: We didn't exactly choose Maida Vale - we had an opportunity to do a timeshare exchange and the timeshare location is near Maida Vale. It makes our lodging expense for London VERY affordable (given how weak the dollar is to the pound!).
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 10:08 AM
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Heathrow Express - tube is always a hassle. The tube is certainly much cheaper, but spending money for speed and ease is the best option.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 10:26 AM
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m_kingdom2 - that's a value judgment. For some, speed and ease is more important; for others, it's the money.

When my wife and 3 sons are with me, a few minutes' convenience isn't worth spending an extra £100. If I'm alone on a business trip, sometimes it is.

Since specter has acknowledged that their resources aren't unlimited, they might want to trade off a little commuting time for an upgraded dinner.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 10:29 AM
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I'll assume as you are staying for a week that you'll have a bit of luggage. That in my mind rules out the tube. It will be so much hassle changing trains and alighting at Maida Vale - a yomp up a long set of escalators and then possibly a walk to wherever you are going. Take the HE to Paddington and get a black cab to your address in Maida Vale - not the cheapest option, but its not far in a cab and you won't spend 2 days recovering from the journey.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Walter - if they had a lot of luggage, I might tend towards your opinion. But since specter said that they travel light and aren't averse to dragging suitcases, I'd rule out the Express/cab option.
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