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tsm0885 Nov 16th, 2005 07:31 AM

Heathrow to London
I am flying into Heathrow next week and I am wondering which train I should take? It looks like there is the Heathrow Express and the Heathrow Connect... I would assume the Heathrow Express is faster and more expensive... is it worth it?

janisj Nov 16th, 2005 07:55 AM

Whether it makes sense to take ANY train really depends on 1) where you are going once you get into London, 2) what time of day you are traveling, 3) how many of you are traveling together, etc.

Either train will only get you to Paddington Station and unless you are staying in Paddington/Bayswater, you would then be faced w/ a costly cab ride (and possibly a lengthy queue just to get a cab), or a schlepp on the tube.

So what time of day are you landing, where are you headed, and is it just for you or for 2 or more?

tsm0885 Nov 16th, 2005 08:28 AM

I am arriving around Noon and there will be 2 of us. We are staying near the Oxford Circus Underground Station. Is it possible to just take the Underground from the airport to Oxford Circus?

JoeCal Nov 16th, 2005 09:30 AM

You can take the Tube directly from Heathrow into Picaddily Circus and transfer to the brown line to Oxford Circus (or, depending on the location of your hotel walk from Picaddily). This is really easy to do unless you are overburdened by luggage and since you are in the middle of the day, it shouln't be too crowded on the tube.

Gekko Nov 16th, 2005 09:35 AM

Take the tube. There's usually plenty of room for luggage at the ends of the cars -- just find a seat where you can keep an eye on it.

Enjoy London!

leuk Nov 16th, 2005 09:37 AM

We just got back from London last week and took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. It was fabulous and well worth the cost. It saved mucking about with the tube system - especially after a long flight. We were staying near the Bayswater tube station and were able to walk to our hotel. When we were in London, many of the lines and stations were closed for repairs. It was quite frustrating.


jules4je7 Nov 16th, 2005 09:45 AM

The Tube is quite simple to use. Just follow the signs, buy a ticket at the booth, and you're off.

I enjoy the ride on the Tube, since it's not all underground in the burbs, and you get a chance to see the neighborhoods of London and get a little acclimated before being plopped in the city. :)

Keep your bags with you (I do NOT recommend "leaving them" even within sight of you, as it's easy to get distracted, and it's disconcerting to people in London and elsewhere to see bags left alone, even for a short time. Also, arriving at noon will be great since there won't be any crowds on the trains, so you can keep your bags in front of you no problem

Happy travels,


luckykat Nov 16th, 2005 10:27 AM

But...the tube takes ages! I thnk the Heathrow Express is definitely worth the money, as leuk says. The terminal 4 tube station is also closed at the moment for refurbishment.

whoknew Nov 16th, 2005 11:39 AM

I just came back from a solo trip to London in October. During my research for the trip I agonized and dithered over choosing the Heathrow Express or just the regular Tube. I ended up taking the regular tube into London.

I had arrived around 11:00 a.m. and the tube was uncrowded and I had plenty of space for my luggage. From my arrival at Heathrow, through baggage claims and customs and the tube trip, I still was at my hotel and checked in, freshened up and out exploring by 1:00 p.m. I swear it took longer for me to walk from my arrival gate to customs than it took for me to actually get into London proper.

If you take the Express it takes you to Paddington and you have to change stations anyway to get to your destination or take a cab (an additional expense).

Of course this is my own personal opinion, but I couldn't justify the expense for the Express. And I was completely satisfied with my choice. I had worried too much about nothing.

I'm sure whichever choice you make it will be the right one for you.

whoknew Nov 16th, 2005 11:46 AM

I meant to also say that had I taken the Express, I wouldn't have known anything different and I probably would have said I was satisfied with that too!

So never mind me. :)

KidsToLondon Nov 16th, 2005 12:02 PM

One more reason not to take the Tube: steps. Not all tube stations have (operating) escalators or elevators. If you have a fair amount of luggage, hauling it up/down stairs can be a challenge.

With the Heathrow Express, you can use a luggage trolley almost all the way from the airport luggage claim, to the train, then off the train to the Paddington taxi stand (and no steps involved).

If lugging luggage is not a concern, and you've got the extra time, the tube is fine.

janisj Nov 16th, 2005 12:11 PM

If you do decide on the tube in from the airport -- I wouldn't change at Picadilly Circus to the "brown" (Bakerloo) tube line. I'd go to Green Park and change to the Victoria line.

If you decide on the train you can take the Bakerloo line from Paddington to Oxford Circus.

But, how near Oxford Circus are you? Taking the train/tube, or just the tube you will still have to manage your bags through at least 3 train/tube stations. Not horrible if you pack light - but still pretty difficult if you are exhausted and jet lagged.

For two - I would opt for a car service. Door to door justairports or some other car services will cost £20-£30. Now that is a LOT more than the tube - but the driver will meet you at arrivals and drop you at your hotel. If that fits in your budget - and I assume it does since you were considerin the HEX in the first place - it is well worth the cost IMHO.

flanneruk Nov 16th, 2005 12:22 PM

I rarely disagree with Janisj.

But, with luggage, the Piccadilly/Victoria interchange at Green Park is a killer. Without, it's a great way of getting in that couple of miles' stroll you ought to have done before the day started.

But she's absolutely right about not bothering with trains. If your final destination's round Paddington, or if you're in a tearing hurry, aboveground trains are fine.

Otherwise, you're only adding even more profit to BAA's overstuffed coffers.

And if you're feeling that generous, there are any number of real charities in Britain can use the money better. At this time of the year, try Or, since it's even colder in Kashmir,

janisj Nov 16th, 2005 12:47 PM

Flanner is probably right about Green Park -- I just think Picadilly Circus is a zoo. But the change under ground isn't as bad as trying to find your correct exit from the tube station to the surface.

But as I said - a car service would be my personal choice - especially if Oxford Circus is you ultimate destination. Oxford circus tube is another zoo, and once you come up out of the tube station the crowds around the Oxford St/Regent St junction sometimes must be seen to be believed. Difficult navigating even w/o luggage.

lmhornet Nov 16th, 2005 01:03 PM

"But...the tube takes ages! I thnk the Heathrow Express is definitely worth the money"

If you packed too much to take the tube, then you have packed too much. There is no reason at all for a normal, healthy person under the age of 70 not too take the tube.

BTW If you are arriving early, be sure to buy the tube day pass rather than simply a ticket into town. The price difference is small and you can ride the rest of the day.

CU Nov 16th, 2005 01:27 PM

I travelled on the express and when I reached Paddington I just had a short walk to the waiting buses that brought me to my hotel. Is this service still in operation?

ssachida Nov 16th, 2005 01:57 PM

Since we are talking about the tube vs. train anyway...

If I arrive at LHR at 7am (leave customs at 7:30 say) on a Friday. Should I take the train to Paddington and then the Hammersmith line to Liverpool St (my destination)
Tube to Holburn and the central line to Liverpool street.

(I'm never sure if I should tack on to an existing thread or start a whole new thread for a quickie question like this one. apologies to the OP if I'm distracting from your answers)

handfordr Nov 16th, 2005 11:31 PM

The timing thing is a bit of a red herring unless you're staying in the Paddington area.
Once you've factored in the Paddington Express frequency is every 15 minutes, tube 5 minutes plus transfers from Paddington there is very little in it, certainly much less than the variable timings it takes to get your luggage at Heathrow.

Really comes down to your attitude to cost. If you're on an expense account or money is little object the Paddington Express wins because of the extra comfort, if you're on a budget the fact that the Heathrow Express option means you'll end up paying 20 GBP instead of 4 GBP on the underground means means any discomfort on the Underground is well worth it.

Charley1965 Nov 17th, 2005 04:23 AM


It's much quicker to get the train to Paddington. It's a long journey all the way on the tube from Heathrow. You can get the Circle Line as well as the Hammersmith & City Line from Paddington. It'll take about 20 minutes on the tube.

xyz123 Nov 17th, 2005 04:43 AM

Here's my feeling on this...if you are arriving after 0930 on a weekday but anytime on a weekend, you can buy an all day travelcard for zones 1-6 for only about £1.50 above the price for a single on the tube from Heathrow into central London. Since I will be using public transportation for the rest of the day, to me at least it makes my trip from Heathrow very very cheap.

Yes the Paddington Express is quicker but you know something; if you are arriving in the morning chances are your room will not be available anyway. Sometimes adding the extra time for the tube trip is the difference between being told your room is not ready or having a room available to freshen up and unwind for a few minutes so it's no big deal.

The carriages on the Picadilly line were designed with the airport in mind and there is room to store baggage which Londoners are used to on the Picadilly line; unfortunately when you switch trains it might not be so. When I stay, for example, in Bayswater, I generally take the tube to Earls Court and switch to the Edgeware Rd train 3 stations (High Street Kensington, Notting Hill Gate and then Bayswater..Paddington is the next station)and I'm there in 45 minutes...certainly not terrible. Yes I would save 10 to 15 minutes on the Exptess but somehow the thought of paying 14 quid vs. 2 quid is quite an inducement to squander the extra 15 minutes...

But then again, I must admit, I'm a big city boy and don't mind subways as we say in America and I know my way around the London tube by now. You might feel intimidated in which case, I would suggest a car service but I always get a laugh out of people who simply say you don't want to take the tube after a long tiring flight in a strange environment because there is one big advantage of starting your holiday in London as opposed to Paris or Frankfurt or Rome. You know what that is and you may find this hard to believe...but the language of the country is....English. If you ask the staff on the tube a question believe it or not they will understand every word you are saying and you will understand every word they are saying.

You know imagine in Paris asking staff where the #1 line is to LaDefense and he says a votre droite madame...would you know where to go?

So armed with all the alternatives you can make a decision based on what is best for you and don't let anybody tell you your decision is wrong.

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