London heathrow

Old Aug 22nd, 2023, 07:11 AM
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London heathrow

I'm flying into LHR from Corfu on 10/7 arriving at 7:30 pm. How long will it take to clear customs and take an Uber to Soho? My flight to Chicago leaves the next day at 9:15 AM. What time should I leave Soho to allow enough time to make my flight?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2023, 09:26 AM
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Welcome to Fodors.

There is no way to know ahead of time how long immigration will tak. Way too many variables -which terminal, how many other long haul flights arrive at the same time, if you can use the E-gates (and if the E-gates are working), etc. There is no reason at all to use uber which would be very expensive. Either take a pre-booked car service like justairports (much cheaper than a black cab or uber) https://www.justairports.com or take the Elizabeth Line train to Tottenham Court Road - which would be faster and much cheaper than either a car service or a taxi/uber.

For your trip out to LHR the next morning -- what time does your airline say you should be there? Most recommend 3 hours in advance but I'd be comfortable with 2 hours myself. That would mean leaving your hotel between 5:30 and 6:30-ish AM depending on how early you want to be at LHR. The first train from Tottenham Court Road is a 05:48 AM and about every 5 minutes thereafter - some require a change at Paddington and some go all the way through to LHR.

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Old Aug 22nd, 2023, 09:35 AM
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Thank you very much! Very helpful. What are E Gates? I don't believe they had those last time I flew into HTR.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2023, 10:25 AM
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E-gates at Heathrow are super fast - you just put your passport on a reader, look at a screen and you are through. But - what takes forever is retrieving baggage. If you are doing carry on only, you could be out very quickly. Checking a bag - I would add an hour.

But, why go to Soho for just a few hours.. maybe just stay overnight at an airport hotel, like Sofitel?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2023, 11:29 AM
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Customs takes as long as it takes you to walk through it. Immigration on a Saturday night in October could be pretty quick or might take a long time esp with the egates, so many struggle to use it so if you are behind someone that takes a long time, you could be stuck a while. Or if you get sent to see an immigration officer if for some reason your passport isn't read, those lines are pretty long. But this is worst case scenario. I guess you've got carry-on.

I'd suggest you stay at the airport rather than in London. Less stress to get to your flight next morning, no worries about engineering works or such other things that might happen. The Sofitel is very nice but it is out at T5 and if your 0915 flight is on AA from T3, you might want to stay closer to that terminal.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2023, 12:14 PM
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I agree about staying at/near the airport -- if it was me and I had a morning long haul flight I would definitely stay at the airport (but you didn't ask that ) I no longer do 0-dark:30 wake up calls for early morning flights. I either book midday or later flights -- or I sleep at the airport.

Which terminal are you flying out of? Each one has hotels attached directly to the terminal or a reasonable walk. Hopefully you are traveling carry-on only. Luggage retrieval can take FOREVER (especially at terminal 5) - or not. But you never know What you could do is book a hotel at LHR, drop your bag there and then head in to the city for a couple of late night hours - then back to the airport/your hotel.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2023, 06:25 AM
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Thanks everyone for the info. The reason I want to go to Soho is a restaurant there called Kiln. It's amazing. But now it seems like it's pushing it to go there. I don't remember Uber being so expensive. I was there for 3 weeks and used it quite a bit, but not from the airport. Since I'm getting in later in the day and I do have checked bags maybe I will take your advice and stay at a hotel near the airport. Thanks again!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2023, 06:48 AM
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Uber isn’t that expensive, even to the airport, but the Elizabeth line is better!

‘Maybe you can get an airport hotel and if timing works out ok, head to Kiln after you check in. Unless you need to reserve to eat there.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2023, 08:28 AM
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I never (ever) use uber in London -- partly because of cost, but mostly on principal. BTW - I do use uber/lyft now and then elsewhere. But - London black cab drivers have to go through a very lengthly (years long) process to qualify -- any bloke with a sat nav can set up as an uber driver. Just not a level playing field.

But either a black cab or uber in to Soho from LHR will cost a fortune -- 60 to 80+ depending on traffic. Justairports - between 40 and 45 unless one has a boatload of luggage and need a larger vehicle (there are other good car services -- but most cost more than JA). LHR is nearly 20 miles from Soho -- making a cab/uber expensive no matter what. It isn't like a one mile trip in London.

The Elizabeth Line would be faster than driving at a fraction the price. The tube is also cheap but would take longer. Where I am staying in London mostly determines what mode of transport I take in from LHR. Someplace along the Piccadilly or District Lines - I'll usually take the tube (but sometimes a car service); Somewhere near Bond Street/Tottenham Court Rd/Farringdon - Elizabeth Line; Elsewhere - often a car service. But NEVER a taxi/uber. (I do take black cabs in London sometimes)
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Old Aug 23rd, 2023, 08:42 AM
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Another reason to use a car service like justairports (which is great in my experience) is they take your flight information and adjust pick up time if you have any flight delay
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Old Aug 23rd, 2023, 06:55 PM
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If you want to escape the airport hotel stopover, what about staying in Windsor overnight. You can pre- book a private transfer and it will take about 20 minutes to get there.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2023, 07:49 PM
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I often recommend staying over in Windsor -- but I honestly don't think that makes sense for the OP. Even if everything goes like clockwork - s/he still wouldn't get to a Windsor hotel until close to 9 or 9:30PM - and sunset is around 6:30. Not much to do in Windsor late in the evening except the Theatre Royal - which isn't an option in this case.

And s/he'd have to leave for the airport about 6AM (earlier if using a bus) -
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Old Aug 24th, 2023, 12:37 AM
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It's a shame

"blank sheet of paper held up"
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Old Aug 24th, 2023, 01:27 AM
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If you are departing from LHR from Terminals 2 or 3, the Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow is super convenient, connected to both by walkways.
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Old Aug 24th, 2023, 12:34 PM
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T2 and T3 have the HGI w/o walking distance as mentioned,

T-5 has the Sofitel attached directly to the terminal, or the Thistle via the automated pods (which are a kick -- the hotel maybe not so much )
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Old Aug 24th, 2023, 12:39 PM
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. . . or terminal 4 has the Crown Plaza And Holiday Inn Express (they occupy the same bldg) and Hilton which are a long-ish but totally doable walk from the terminal via an interior walkway.
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