Meeting at Heathrow

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Jul 19th, 2001, 03:59 PM
  #1
Sara
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Meeting at Heathrow

Three of us are flying into Heathrow to meet a friend who has been driving in England for a short time, but not London. We'll be arriving on a Thursday morning. We are worried about traffic, ease of getting to the airport and parking. Would it be better for us to take a train to somewhere south of Heathrow (we are headed to South England anyway) to meet our friend or is Heathrow manageable? Thanks in advance.
 
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Jul 19th, 2001, 05:21 PM
  #2
Linda
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Which terminal are you flying into? Almost all the terminals have a coffee shop near an information desk right outside the arrivals gate (after you go thru customs, etc.). I've found they are excellent places to wait for someone. Have a cuppa, watch the world go by, etc. They are open enough so somebody arriving can see somebody sitting inside. As to ease of parking, it isn't a problem. The problem comes with the fact that area is highly congested. Can't off-hand think of someplace south of LHR that would be easier to get to. Can somebody else? The problem is that the tube does not go south from LHR. You have to go northeast then change trains to go south.
 
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Jul 20th, 2001, 04:59 AM
  #3
AnnaC
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Heathrow is not a fun place to drive - I still hate going there, even though I've driven there a lot (I live only 5 miles away!). The traffic is heavy and most people don't know where they are going. Also there are many people who have just flown in and hired cars and get confused about roundabouts, etc. Even if your friend is OK with driving in the UK, the drivers around him/her may not be. Unless they are confident, I would advise you try to meet somewhere else, unless you have enormous amounts of luggage.

The problem is, as Linda said, you can't get a train or tube southwards. They only go towards London, where the traffic problem just gets worse.

However, there are buses. There is in fact a bus specially designed to link the trains to the south of Heathrow with the airport. You can get a bus to Woking station and either meet there or get a train to somewhere else. Check out the details of timings on www.railtrack.co.uk, but they run about every half hour. That would be much more manageable for your friend.
 
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Jul 20th, 2001, 06:16 AM
  #4
Lanny
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Hi Sara:

I do not recommend your friend driving around Heathrow as it is a zoo, especially in the morning with all the arriving overseas flights. Here is what I have done on two occasions with friends meeting me on those occasions when I was not renting a car myself.

There are several hotels at Heathrow that are very accessible for someone such as a tourist driving in unfamiliar territory to get to. And the plus is these hotels are also on routes that take you directly to the ring road around London within a handful of kms. The ring road takes you directly to the roads you will need to go to the south of England.

My hotel of choice is the Forte Posthouse Premier at Heathrow. I arrange for my friend to wait there in the parking lot, and once landed I catch a taxi and have them take me to the hotel. We meet up easily and as I said, the exit from the airport is a cinch.

A word to the wise, there are two Forte Posthouse hotels at Heathrow. One isi the Posthouse Premier at Heathrow and the other is the Posthouse at Heathrow (one is more expensive than the other). If you do a search and go to the Forte hotel website you can message through and ask for the precise address for each so that you and your friends will be on the same page. You can also get driving instructions from them this way for your friend who is going to meet you.

I think this solution is better than waiting out bus schedules etc. as you would otherwise do and certainly better than having your friend drive into the heart of London which is an entertaining area to drive, but not for the faint of heart or for those unfamiliar with London districts and traffic patterns.

Lanny

and hence on the road that will take you to your turn off to southern England. s lead you
 
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Jul 20th, 2001, 06:38 AM
  #5
AnnaC
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Great idea Lanny - why didn't I think of that?! Definitely better than my bus suggestion.
 
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Jul 20th, 2001, 07:10 AM
  #6
Lesley
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I was going to suggest the same thing as Lanny. Just add, no need to take a taxi, most of these hotels have a bus which does the run airport/hotel (but they do charge) and secondly, no need for friend to wait in the car park. No hotel minds if you go in and take a coffee or even breakfast, while s/he waits.
 
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Jul 20th, 2001, 07:25 AM
  #7
Lori
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Sara,
Regarding meeting at a nearby hotel I'd like to recommend the Hilton. It's connected by a covered walkway from Terminal 4 hence no need to take a taxi or bus. You can simply walk over there! They allow you to take luggage trolleys (carts) right to the Hilton door as well. We recently stayed at this hotel and found the covered walk way to be an ideal solution to getting to a nearby hotel. Traffic around Heathrow is a zoo most of the time for all the reasons mentioned but if your friend has been driving in the UK and is careful it should work out.
 
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Jul 20th, 2001, 08:32 AM
  #8
janis
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I have met friends at hotels several times and it is a great idea. The worst traffic is right at the airport so picking a hotel a couple of miles away is a good idea. (Not the Hilton because it is inside the Airport perimeter road and the traffic IS horrible)

But another idea - if you want to do a little sightseeing as well - meet your friend in Windsor. It is only 7 miles from Heathrow and the Castle and town are wonderful. There are several good meeting places. You could take public transit to Windsor or a taxi - it isn't too far so the taxi won't break you.
 
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Jul 20th, 2001, 02:23 PM
  #9
kam
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We are arriving at Heathrow and meeting friends who live in West Sussex to stay with them for a few days. We plan to take the Speedlink bus from Heathrow to Gatwick, which they think is a much easier place to get to. It's also south, the direction you'll want to go. Takes about an hour, but we've been told it's quite comfortable.
 
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