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London Airports transfer FAQ: London Heathrow (LHR)

London Airports transfer FAQ: London Heathrow (LHR)

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Old Feb 6, 19, 11:38 pm   -   Wikipost
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London Heathrow (LHR)

First of all, it's worth looking at the excellent Journey Planner website. It will plot a route for you, using public transport, with timings, costs and detailed destination and walking route maps.

Heathrow Express

15 minutes to Paddington from Heathrow Central (for T123), and 20-25 from Terminal 5. Details on the Heathrow Express website.

For transport to/from Terminal 4, a shuttle train is provided every 15 minutes from Heathrow Central.


Fares start from 5.50 for online pre-purchase in Express (standard) class (very limited - 90+ days in advance, weekend or Bank Holidays only).

The majority of tickets (i.e. travel within 14 days, off-peak) start from 22 single, 37 return in Express Class.

Round-trip and carnet fares are available.

Check The Online Heathrow Express Promotional Fare Discussion for details of discount codes, usually for online pre-purchase.

Combination fares are available, along with through tickets to London Underground destinations, although if you have Oyster pre-pay, it is generally cheaper to buy a normal ticket, and use that. Day return tickets are no longer sold. London Transport travelcards are not valid. National Rail railcards can now be used on this service, offering a 1/3rd discount for adults and 2/3rds for kids, for an annual fee, but you do need to buy a ticket at the counter, not the machine, to take advantage of this, and there are some morning time restrictions on weekdays.

  • Fast and comfortable, with good luggage storage.
  • (From 19 February 2019) Payment by oyster / contactless / PhonePay is accepted - though at a premium fare compared to other options, and travel on HEx is not included in any daily fare cap calculation.
  • Takes you to Paddington, which is in West Central London, where you can change to the Tube (Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City, Circle, District) or a taxi.
  • A taxi-share scheme operates from Paddington in the morning peak.
  • HEX + taxi can work out cheaper and much faster than taxi all the way.

  • Expensive, particularly for multiple travellers.
  • Not necessarily the fastest option for certain areas of London.
  • The taxi queues at Paddington can be long at peak times.
  • Does not directly serve Terminal 4.

  • On leaving Paddington, use the rear carriages for T1, and the front carriages for the others.
  • There are quiet carriages, marked with a 'Q' if you don't want to be bothered by the AV and mobile phones.
  • On leaving Heathrow, use the middle carriages if you want to connect to the Hammersmith and City line or clockwise Circle line (for King's Cross and Liverpool Street), and the front carriages otherwise.
  • The very front and rear carriages are First Class. The doors always align with the 'mind the gap' painted on the platform edge (even if it nearly stops just short of it!) and the first two (at the T1 end on Heathrow Central, for example) are First Class.
  • Off-peak trains are shorter, and stop at the T23 end of Heathrow Central. This often provokes a mass rush from the T1 end.
  • You can completely avoid the taxi queue at Paddington by exiting to Praed street. When getting off the H'Ex, walk straight ahead and towards the left to take a road that goes up an incline directly to Praed St. There you can easily get a taxi; there is often a few queued there.

London Underground

35 minutes to 1h15 to Central London, depending on destination and time of day. Details on the Transport for London website.

  • Varies according to length of journey, but 6.00 for a full-fare one-way to Central London (3.10 on Oyster off peak), significantly less if going to Earls Court.
  • Combination tickets are available, and London Transport travelcards including zone 6 are valid.
  • See Transport for London website for the sometimes baffling fare information.

  • Good value, and, although relatively slow, tends to be more predictable than road transport.
  • Gives direct transport (and faster than Heathrow Express) to many popular hotel areas, including Earls Court, Kensington and Russell Square, as well as sites such as the South Kensington Museums, Buckingham Palace and Westminster.

  • Relatively slow.
  • Can be very crowded at peak times, and there is limited luggage storage space.
  • Delays and engineering work are not unheard of - check the TfL website before travelling at weekends.
  • Watch out for first Tube times at weekends: they can be later than you imagine.

  • Transport for London (TfL) have recently introduced punitive fares for single paper tickets on their network. This is to encourage people to use contactless credit cards, Oyster, a proximity card with either a rechargeable pre-pay balance (at discounted journey rates) or a season ticket. One-day travelcards (must include Zone 6 for LHR) are still good value, but the Oyster pre-pay scheme will 'cap' the price of a day's journeys at less than the equivalent travelcard. Pre-pay Oyster cards need not be registered, and can now be bought from a large portion of ticket machines (as well as the ticket counters).
  • Departing from Heathrow, the front of the train is usually the quietest.
  • The touch-screen ticket machines at Heathrow take all major (and some minor!) credit cards. This can save you a lot of time. You do not need a ticket if you have contactless credit cards - simply tap in at the start of the journey and tap out at the end.
  • Heading to Heathrow, you'll often find that the extremities of the train (again, particularly the front) are less busy. This tends to apply throughout the Tube.
  • Hammersmith and Barons Court offer the best interchange for the District Line. This is a simple cross-platform walk. Pretty much all other interchanges on the Piccadilly Line involve steps, and some have surprisingly long walks (Green Park, Leicester Square, for example).
  • If you do find yourself needing to change trains at Green Park, ignore the signs - they will take you up and down steps and along corridors, a nightmare with luggage. Simply follow the 'Way Out' signs up the escalator(s). Then, instead of going out the barriers, turn and go down the escalator(s) to the line you're looking for.
  • While you're given leeway for this at Heathrow, do stand on the right on escalators. You'll get people shoving past you, or at least tutting, otherwise.
  • Watch where your train is going. Not all Piccadilly Line trains go to Heathrow, and those that do have two routes. Trains marked "Terminal 5" will first serve T123, then T5. All other Heathrow trains will first serve T4, then T123, via quite a long loop. If you're going to T123, it's usually (a little) faster to wait for a T5 train, but these are generally slightly busier at peak airport times.

Heathrow Connect (now renamed tfl rail - will become Elizbabeth Line (Crossrail)

26 minutes from Heathrow Central to London Paddington, with intermediate stops. About 35 minutes to Terminal 4 (Sundays Only). Details at
Formerly operated as Connect, this service is now operated by tfl rail (as a precursor before becoming the Elizabeth Line - also known as Crossrail).

For Terminal 5, you can take this service to Heathrow Central, and change for the Heathrow Express, which is free between Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5 (same platform). For Terminal 4, you must use the shuttle from Heathrow Central, except on Sundays where the Heathrow Connect runs direct.


Fares start from around 9 from Heathrow to London Paddington .

Discounts are available for people with travelcards (including one-day), and fares are available to stations further afield. Child fares are available, and day returns are little more than the single.

National Rail railcards can now be used on this service, offering a 1/3rd discount for adults and 2/3rds for kids, for an annual fee, although there are fare caps and time-of-day restrictions on weekdays.

  • Relatively fast and comfortable, less luggage space than the express.
  • Travel on the tfl/Connect services count towards the daily cap, so if you're doing a lot of travel on the same day, using this service won't increase your total daily cost. If you have a paper travelcard which includes zone 6, this is valid on this service.
  • Good for travel to West London (Hayes, Southall, Ealing).
  • Good for connections via Hayes & Harlington to FGW regional services without having to travel to Paddington.
  • Good for connections to the Central and District Lines at Ealing Broadway for West London destinations on those lines.
  • Cheaper than the Heathrow Express.

  • Slower than the Heathrow Express, and significantly more expensive than London Underground. Not so good if you're not going to Paddington or West London.
  • The 'pay as you go' single fare to Heathrow costs considerably more than the equivalent journey by Piccadilly line - although the airport station is within tfl zone 6, a special fare applies for PAYG users for the section using the Heathrow tunnel to Hayes & Harlington.
  • It is a commuter service, so gets busier with non-airport traffic at peak times.
  • The type of trains used for this service are unique in the UK train network and dedicated to this route (special signaling equipment in Heathrow tunnels) - these trains have been increasingly unreliable in recent months. Much higher cancellation rate compared to other services.
  • It runs only every 30 minutes, and is timed so the Heathrow Express always overtakes it. Services are due to increase to every 15 minutes but the introduction date for this is not known due to difficulties in resolving a technical issue (specialist safety equipment in Heathrow tunnels) with new 'class 345 Crossrail' trains. Service frequency is not likely to improve until late 2019, at best.
  • Connection times at Hayes & Harlington for other FGW regional services aren't always fantastic.
  • Connection times at Heathrow Central for T4 aren't always fantastic.

  • At Heathrow Central, this service may be advertised as 'Stopping Train to Paddington'.
  • Travelcards that include zones 1 to 6 are valid on this service.
  • Through tickets to Heathrow Central must be specific Heathrow Connect tickets. Others will not be accepted.
  • Electronic payment (such as oyster) are accepted.

London Taxis ('Black Cabs')

Variable times to London, due to unpredictability of traffic. Anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

  • Varies according to length of journey, traffic and time of day.
  • See the Passenger Carriage Office website for the basics.
  • You can pay between 40 and 80 to get to Central London.

  • Very heavily regulated, so a safe, reliable option.
  • Taxis are well-designed to carry many people and a decent amount of luggage.
  • All London cabs must take credit cards - but there are occasional reports that this equipment isn't always working.
  • Many black cabs are fully accessible.
  • Black cabs (unlike other taxis) are entitled to use bus lanes in London, which can speed up your journey a great deal at peak times. However, as the M4 (main road from Heathrow to Central London) bus lane has been removed, this benefit is rather less valuable.

  • If you're travelling outside of Greater London, they are not obliged to take you, and you must negotiate the fare.
  • If you're going nearby (e.g. a Heathrow Hotel) there are many reports of stroppy drivers who want the big fares in return for their queuing.
  • Expensive option, and unpredictably so, given the variability of London's traffic.

  • At most times of day, there are dispatchers manning the taxi queues at Heathrow. If you have any particular needs (credit card, wheelchair access), tell them.
  • If you want to pay by credit card, you must ask before you go.
  • It's standard protocol, in London, to request the destination before you get into the taxi, not just to get in.

Pre-Booked Taxis and Uber

Also known as minicabs or 'car service'. Uber vehicles are requlated by same regulations as Pre Booked Taxis in London. Variable times to London, due to unpredictability of traffic. Anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

  • Varies according to length of journey and company involved.
  • There are hundreds of companies offering this service, and they go in and out of favour. You can follow The Ongoing LHR Taxi/Minicab (Car Service) Discussion to discuss recent experiences.
  • Expect fares of 45-60 for Central London, including pick-up fees. The return to the airport is cheaper (in the 40-55 region).

  • Cheaper than a black cab, and cheaper than the Heathrow Express in a group.
  • Fixed rate means no worries about ridiculous fares due to traffic problems. (This point doesn't apply to Uber)
  • For 'regular' pre booked car, you will get met at arrivals by driver with a nameboard
  • For Uber, vehicles cannot pick up on the roadway outside any terminal and Uber drivers cannot come into the terminal - instead Uber users must go to a designated area of the terminal short term car park to meet their vehicle
  • You can order MPV taxis, usually seating up to 7.

  • Much lighter regulation than the official London Taxis. While I personally have had nothing but good experiences with the companies mentioned above, it is extremely important only to deal with reputable private hire ('minicab') companies in London. The PCO (website above) has a licencing scheme, which is a good indicator. You can also go on personal recommendations. But, I cannot stress enough, do not just get into a 'taxi'. Black cabs are fine, decent minicab companies are fine. But there are instances of all sorts of problems reported in London, from dangerous vehicles and driving, through to armed robbery and rape in illegal minicabs. Never take a taxi from a tout.
  • Credit cards are not generally accepted, unless pre-booked with one, and at a premium.
  • You are still subject to the vagaries of London traffic, without the ability to use bus lanes.

  • Private hire companies are not bound by per-mile or other fee regulations. Always agree a price beforehand.
  • Unless you specify otherwise, a taxi will sit 3, 4 at a push.
  • 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm are the peak times in London. Yes, they are that long. Be warned.
  • The Heathrow area has got very congested recently, and security regulations have now removed a number of pick-up point that taxi drivers used to use. Of course, as this forces them to use expensive car parks, the airport authories aren't complaining... Some drivers have pick up points at departure that they use, others will use a car park. However, delays in picking you up are more common these days, mostly due to the unpredictability of the traffic getting you into the airport, which can be horrendous (the tunnels into T1/2/3 are a major bottleneck).

Rail-Air Links

There are multiple rail-air links from Heathrow, useful for different purposes:
  • The Feltham RailAir is no longer a dedicated link, but the 285 bus covers the route to Heathrow Central (T1-3) and the 490 to T4 and T5. They connect you to South West Trains routes for South-West London, Waterloo, South Berkshire, North Surrey and Hants, plus a number of useful connections to South West Trains, Southern Trains and London Overground via Clapham Junction. About 20-30 minutes to Feltham, then about 30 minutes to Waterloo. Note that London buses do not accept cash - you will need an Oyster Card or contactless credit card for the 1.50 fare.
  • The Woking RailAir goes from all terminals to Woking station. This gives you connections for Surrey, Hampshire and further afield.
  • The Reading RailAir goes from T123 and T5 to Reading station. This service uses the Central Bus Station (and T5) on departure, but stops at the individual terminals (not T4) on arrival. This gives you connections for most Great Western services to the West, Oxford, the South West and Wales, as well and Berkshire and North Surrey.
  • There is no longer a dedicated rail-air link to Watford Junction (for trains to Milton Keynes and the West Midlands), but Green Line Route 724 runs from Terminal 5 and the Central Bus Station to Watford Junction, and on to St Albans, Hatfield, Welwyn and Harlow. It also stops at Denham Station (for Chiltern Railways local services). It runs hourly and takes about one hour to Watford Junction.

  • Feltham: 1.50 (Oyster or contactless only)
  • Woking: 6.00
  • Reading: 13.00 (railcard and return discounts available, as well as through fares)
  • Watford, Denham, St Albans: 7.00 (10.85 r/t)

  • Very convenient for connections for rail journeys, and allows you to avoid London.
  • Most buses (not Feltham) have good luggage storage.
  • Through tickets for rail journeys often available.

  • Feltham bus is a local bus, and has limited storage space.
  • Feltham is not the best area of London, and, although fine during the day, may be best avoided at night if you are likely to feel threatened.
  • All services are, of course, subject to the traffic around Heathrow, which can be exceptionally heavy at times.

  • Do be aware that many of the discounted rail tickets in the UK require you to travel on specific trains. If you have a booking, and are delayed Woking or Feltham links, the rail companies will not accept responsibility. The Reading and Watford links are run by the railway companies themelves, so you have more protection, but do check any terms and conditions to leave yourself enough time.
  • The Feltham bus is the 285 (T1-3) or 490 (T4-5). It goes on beyond Feltham, but stops in a special station bay. If you're nervous about knowing where to alight, don't be shy: ask the driver to tell you!

Coach Links

National Express run a series of coach (bus) services to Central London from Heathrow, mostly from the Central Bus Station. They also run direct, long-distance buses further afield.

  • Search on the National Express website above for fare details, as these vary according to many factors.

  • Opens up a number more direct destinations within London, and around. Of particular interest are:
    1. Oxford
    2. Chiswick
    3. Notting Hill
    4. King's Cross
    5. Gatwick Airport
    6. Luton Airport
    7. Stansted Airport (this does take a long time)
  • Dedicated luggage storage.
  • Reasonably priced option, particularly on longer distances.

  • Again, traffic.
  • Also, for longer distances, they're not always the most comfortable.

Bus Links

There are a number of bus links around Heathrow. As well as the 'Hotel Hoppa' service, public buses connect many local areas with Heathrow Airport. See https://www.heathrow.com/file_source...d_Heathrow.pdf for the routes.

See also the National Express Hoppa website for details of the Hotel Hoppa service.

  • Transport for London buses are now entirely cashless (private operators, very much the exception from LHR, are only cash fares). TfL is 1.50 flat rate on Oyster/contactless, but all buses are FREE within the 'Heathrow Free-Flow' zone. See the maps above for free journeys to hotels.
  • Flat fare of 4.50 single, 8 return for the Hotel Hoppa buses.
  • All bus passes and London Transport travelcards are valid, regardless of zone.

  • London Transport buses can be more convenient than the Hotel Hoppa, and far cheaper than a taxi, but you do have to get to the Central Bus Station.
  • Most buses are now fully accessible.

  • Although buses in London are now very well-signed, it can be difficult to know where to get off.
  • Not good with a lot of luggage.

  • State your destination to the driver on boarding. He or she will then tell you if it's one of the free Heathrow destinations or not.
  • If you're not sure where to alight, don't be shy: ask the driver!
  • To get to the Central Bus Station, follow signs for the Underground at T123. From T4, there are some buses that call directly, but otherwise, you'll have to get the Heathrow Express (free) to Heathrow Central for Northbound buses, or get a free bus to Hatton Cross to change for Southbound.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 4:49 am
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London Airports transfer FAQ: London Heathrow (LHR)

This thread contains the wiki for transfer information to/from London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Please update the information above as you see fit, and use the thread below to discuss.

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Old May 1, 18, 12:28 pm
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The coach from Heathrow to Oxford is operated by Oxford Bus Company, not National Express, and more details are available here: https://airline.oxfordbus.co.uk/heathrow/
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Old May 15, 18, 7:49 am
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Further text amendments, reflecting change to Connect services from 20 May.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 7:39 am
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Minor edit. Confirmation of date (19 Feb) from which oyster / contactless will be valid on Heathrow Express (at premium fares)
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Old Feb 13, 19, 11:08 am
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Question about LHR and getting around terminals Landside: I will be arriving LHR in T3 (AA), and have a Priority Pass membership. There is an arrivals lounge landside in T2 that has showers included. What is the best way to proceed? We will be coming in from the US, so I assume we must do the transfer landside. Is there a shuttle or bus to take us from one terminal to another? Or a walkway on the outside of customs and security? Also, can we then catch the Heathrow Express to Paddington in T2 landside?
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Old Feb 13, 19, 2:14 pm
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You clear immigration and reclaim bags in T3, then you can walk to T2. There is a (clearly signposted) walking route - which has moving walkways to help you along. This walking route also takes you to the stations (for HEx and Piccadilly line).
Is Paddington your final destination in London? If it isn't, HEx should not be your default choice,
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Old Feb 13, 19, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by rcspeirs View Post
You clear immigration and reclaim bags in T3, then you can walk to T2. There is a (clearly signposted) walking route - which has moving walkways to help you along. This walking route also takes you to the stations (for HEx and Piccadilly line).
Is Paddington your final destination in London? If it isn't, HEx should not be your default choice,
Paddington is our destination. We will be taking the HEX to that station, then checking into the Hilton London Paddington (we will be dropping off our bags and then go walking around until our room is ready). That is our hotel for the 1st few days of our visit. Also, we won't have any checked bags. Carry on only this trip. My husband and I travel light whenever possible.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 5:21 am
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Edit: Problem resolved.
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Last edited by WorldLux; Feb 15, 19 at 6:28 am
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Old Apr 12, 19, 3:51 pm
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Not to mention the increase in prices due to ULEZ and the new law on London congestion charge therefore taxi companies have increased their prices
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