Heathrow to Oxford or Bath

Old Oct 14th, 2003, 11:41 AM
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Heathrow to Oxford or Bath

If I make a trip to London in Dec I was thinking of starting with a re-visit to either Bath or Oxford.

I know the easiest trip to Bath from LHR is a coach, although trip times vary widely depending on the time of the departure from LHR. For example if I arrive at LHR (on time) by 9am, I could perhaps get a 10:10 am coach to Bath, 2 1/2 hour trip. Next coach with that trip length leaves 11:40 am. Coaches in between can take 4-5 hours for the trip.

Coaches from LHR to Oxford are more frequent and all the journeys are under 80 minutes.
I don't know about any trains yet, imagine I'd have to go into London.

Any thoughts, both in terms of transport, and with reference to visiting either place for an overnighter in late December?
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 12:04 PM
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The alternatives in both cases are either:
- to get the H Express into Paddington then the train back out again
- to get a bus from LHR to Reading station and then the train from there.

For Oxford (as LHR buses are half-hourly and rarely take as long as 80 minutes, though Murphy's Law says they will the day you take them) neither make any real sense unless you have some particular fascination with Paddington or Reading.

Trains from Paddington to Bath are roughly half-hourly, taking 90 minutes: so with luck elapsed time LHR-Pad-Bath would be 2 hrs - almost all day.

The Paddington route is faster and pricier than the Reading route (and there may be the odd Bath train that doesn't stop at Reading). But you need to fight your way through qjump, nationalrail or thetrainline to look at specific schedules - and to gasp at how much BAA and First Great Western want to charge you.

The annoying thing about the Reading option is that, although Reading is practically at the end of the Heathrow runway, the bus takes forever - especially if you're starting from T4. On a traffic-free Sunday in December, it took us 1.5 hours from getting to the bus stand to getting to Reading station
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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thanks for responding, but I'm a little confused.
The way I read the National Express coach schedule, I could go directly from Heathrow (where in Heathrow I don't know yet) to Bath for the entire journey, without need to go to Reading and pick up a train. Some of the coach trips require a change at Bristol or London or Swindon (those are the longer journeys) but some do not. Unfortunately, the direct, shorter trips, are only a few times each day.

I'd also thought that I could take a coach directly from Heathrow to Oxford, no changes required.

Coach schedule is at

Am I misunderstanding?
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 02:09 PM
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Elaine, the way I'm reading flanneruk's response to you, he's giving you train options (vs coach) for both Oxford & Bath, taking price & time into account. For Oxford he's saying the coach is the better way to go.

For Bath he's estimating an optimistic 2 hr total trip by train LHR/Paddington/Bath which may be quicker than coach but also says it's expensive.

If you're just looking for a different way to start the trip, what about someplace near the airport like Windsor for a day or 2. Marlowe & Henley are also both nice towns near LHR that don't require a car.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 02:12 PM
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Although I haven't taken the coach from Heathrow to either Bath or Oxford, I read the schedule at nationalexpress.com exactly as you do.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 02:17 PM
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thanks all

I haven't been to Oxford (if I go) in December, does anyone know if the colleges and the other notable buildings (Ashmolean, Boedlian Library, etc) will be open for tours?
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 03:44 PM
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My apologies for lack of clarity.

The travel options:

For Oxford, nothing makes sense except the Oxford Bus Co X70 Airport Express from T4 (just outside arrivals) and T1-3 bus station every half hour.

For Bath, you can do your coach thing via National Express. With luck, 2.5 hours. Or you can get the Heathrow Express train to Paddington (every 15 mins) to catch the every 30 mins train to Bath, which takes 90 mins. If you're coming back to London for the rest of your stay, it's not quite the king's ransom I first thought: you want off-peak returns for the two journeys, and I doubt the London-Bath return will cost more that 30 quid. But you need to check on the web sites.

You'd save a pound or two by getting a Railair coach (not shown on the National Express site, but on the BAA/Heathrow site) which starts every 20 mins at T4, then slowly goes round each terminal and, an hour or so later, gets to Reading Railway Station in central Reading (not the edge-of-Reading bus station that features on Nat Express sites) You can then, almost always, catch the train for Bath you'd have caught at Paddington 20 mins earlier.

What's open in Oxford? At the beginning of the month, everything (they're still pretending to be at their studies). On Christmas day, almost nothing. In between: the Bodleian, Ashmolean (and the Pitt-Rivers, and the museum of the history of science....)and the more touristy colleges are open almost every day bar Sunday: see their individual sites. Christ Church is almost always open - even when it says it's not - if you can persuade the porter you're going to the Cathedral.

I hope that's clearer.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 05:43 PM
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Elaine, Oxford has two websites, the first a commercial site has a forum you could try for answers. Both give an email address for visitor information.



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