Oyster Card 3 days into LHR out of LGW

Old Feb 15th, 2012, 10:40 PM
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Oyster Card 3 days into LHR out of LGW

A quick stopover in London-- just 3 nights on our way to Italy (hubbie and me.) Our hotel is right next to the Russell Square stop. We leave from that hotel for LGW.

Arriving-- should we take the Express (more expensive and involves a transfer-- but fast) or the regular tube (less money and slower.) Will the regular tube be over an hour to Russell Square??

3 days-- just buy oyster cards? If so-- 2 questions-- how much to load and can we get the unused portion refunded at LGW as we go out??

Departing-- is the Gatwick Express the best option for 2 people? If so, is it part of the oyster card, or do we need to purchase it separately? (for instance-- how much would i expect a shuttle service to cost from Russell Sq to LGW?)

I really appreciate any tips you can give.
Thanks so much,
kawh sebastopol, ca
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 10:57 PM
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Actually the tube may be faster. The HEX only gets you to Paddington and then you have an expensive cab or a tube journey w/ a change of lines.

I'd take the tube if you can handle your bags, or a car service like justairports.com if you don't want to schlepp.

"can we get the unused portion refunded at LGW as we go out?? "

Not at LGW since it is not in London/TFL. You can get your refunds at Kings Cross/St Pancras or Victoria (depending on which train you take to Gatwick)

How much sightseeing are you doing? Have you read any of the many threads about the 2for1 Days Out discounts. If you want to use the vouchers -then an Oyster won't work. You need paper travel cards issued from a train station (though not at Heathrow)

If you aren't using 2for1's, get your Oysters at LHR if you are taking the tube in to town, or at Russell Sq station if you take a car service.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 12:16 AM
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thanks much for the reply. don't think we'll make much use of 2for1 this quick trip. just enough time to wander, see a couple of museums and such. any idea how much a car service would be from LHR to Russell Sq??? (or R.Sq. to LGW, for that matter.) a girl can dream......
kawh
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 01:05 AM
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Typical car service from LHR to central London is around £40. And you DON'T want to consider a car service to LGW at all as it's SLOW.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 01:17 AM
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Janisj has it correct...without the unfortunate complication the 2 fgor 1 promotion causes (whether as flanneruk points out it really isn't intended for visitors which we squabble about here all the time), the oyster card is easy and efficient. It requires a 5 quid refundable deposit and for the most part any fairly small amounts left over are completely refundable at the end of yur last tube journey wherever you depart for Gatwick.

Getting on the tube at Heathrow is no problem (easier from Terminals 4 or 5, a little bit more of a walk from Terminal 3) and the train to Russell Square is one train, no changes, about 50 to 55 minutes and as I remember, Russel Square underground station has a lift to the street. Not really an obnoxeous way to go as long as you can handle your luggage (generally one large, not extremely l;arge) on wheels and hand luggage.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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"And you DON'T want to consider a car service to LGW at all as it's SLOW." . . and EXPENSIVE.

Gatwick is 30 miles south of London. A car can take (literally) hours depending on the time of day.

A car service from LHR can make sense mainly because it is half as far. However from a recent post by flanneruk, there is a MAJOR construction/closure on the main route through west London, so the tube may be significantly quicker.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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"from a recent post by flanneruk, there is a MAJOR construction/closure on the main route through west London"

Not driven that way recently, and won't.

But it's apparently been half patched up for cars, so it's probably indistinguishable from most of the rest of London: ie slow, but you sort of keep moving. Undoubtedly slower than the tube, and slower to Russell Square even than the Heathrow Express - queue for taxi - crawl through the West End horror which so many visitors incomprehensibly fork out on during the morning rush hour ("so we can miss the crowds", would you believe?) to avoid the far cheaper, comfier and infinitely more dependable tube.

But if you suffer from tubeophobia and the misanthropic strain of ochlophobia (google it) that seems to plague many visitors, does logic matter?
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 11:26 AM
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Gatwick Express isn't necessarily the best way to Gatwick. It's much more expensive than the Southern or First Capital Connect trains and not much faster, if at all. The G'Ex sells itself on speed because it has trains capable of reaching 125 mph on its tracks but it won't hit that because its path to Gatwick goes through Clapham Junction (the busiest train station in England) and East Croydon (probably the busiest station not in a major city) on a heavily trafficked path.

If you're going to visit the Tower or the Cabinet War Rooms, then a one-day 2for1 ticket will cut your expenses because the single day ticket is around 6 GBP and entrance fees for either one is between double (War Rooms) and triple (Tower) that sum.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 11:36 AM
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Since you are staying near Russell Sq, the train from St Pancras will likely be more convenient than either train from Victoria that BigRuss mentions.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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ok. thanks very much.
so-- we will take the tube directly from LHR to russell (about 50 minutes) and not the express. (btw-- just asked about the car option because i fly completely sedated and it's hard for my hubbie to drag me around after an overseas flight! no ochlophobia, just aerophobia!!) If we get the 'travelcard' it looks like i will need the zones 1-9 card to get in to ressell square, correct?? that means the travelcard is 11.60 off-peak but oyster would cost 4.50 coming in. does that seem right??

going out to LGW i'm still unclear about the best way from russell sq. which train to LGW would allow us to use either the oyster or the travelcard and be the most economical?

thanks again for all the help.
kawh
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 06:04 PM
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Heathrow is in zone 6, everything else you are likely to visit is in zone 1 (or maybe zone 2). So I'd just get your Oysters w/ some PAYG ££.

No train to Gatwick allows you to use the Oyster or your TFL travelcard. You will go one stop on the Piccadilly line to Kings Cross/St Pancras, turn in your Oysters and get the refunds (or keep them for a future trip), and take the train from St Pancras to LGW. This is a mainline train and you'll need to buy train tix at St Pancras.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 06:38 PM
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Heathrow to Russell Square is soooooooo easy-usually less than 40 minutes with no changes and there is a lift at Russell Square.I have used Just Airports alot and usually recommend taking them but the route to Russell Square is really easy.Oyster Cards are the only way to go for tube and bus travel throughout London!
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 07:20 PM
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going out to LGW i'm still unclear about the best way from russell sq. which train to LGW would allow us to use either the oyster or the travelcard and be the most economical?

Just to make sure you're clear, there is no Tube station at LGW, so neither Oysters nor paper travelcards will do you any good, as those are for the Tube. Public transport to Gatwick means a "regular" train from (in your case) St Pancras.

To get in from LHR and get around town, all you need to do is get an Oyster and load some PAYG credit on it. It looks like there's not a 3-day travelcard (I think there used to be, if I recall correctly, but the only one I see is a 7-day). When you get to Heathrow, just get each of you an Oyster and load maybe £15 on it. You can always check your balance at the machines at any Tube station and add more PAYG credit there if you need to.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 07:22 PM
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(small correction to my post: Oysters and paper travelcards work on the Tube and buses. still, no good for getting you to Gatwick!)
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 10:55 PM
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ok. i'm really clear now. thank you all very much.
let me know if you ever need any tips for the california sonoma wine country!! big help.
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