Published: June 2021
If you are landing at Europe’s busiest airport, there’s a good chance you may be wanting to head directly from London Heathrow Airport to the city centre.
Heathrow Airport is located approximately 23-kilometres from the city centre of London and is the busiest of the six airports which serve the city. With over 80 airlines utilising its facilities across four Terminals, Heathrow is a hub for domestic and international flights, including to Scotland, North America, and as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
With a myriad of ways to get from London Heathrow to London city centre, let me share for you the top-three ways I would recommend visitors get from the airport to where they want to go.
PS: Have a long layover in London? Check out this guide about what to do with 48-hours in London, or skip jet lag and book into one of these London Heathrow Airport Hotels to relax between flights!
How to get from London Heathrow Airport to London
By Heathrow Express…
If you want to get from Heathrow to Central London quickly, the Heathrow Express is your best choice. Running directly between Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station, this train journey takes 15 minutes from Terminals 2 and 3 and 30 minutes from Terminal 5.
If you are staying at a hotel near Paddington Station that is not on the Piccadilly Line, it could be a fine option. This is also great for those who are not travelling in groups with several adults because tickets can be expensive the closer to travel you book.
In order to get the cheapest Heathrow Express ticket, you can purchase tickets in advance and save up to 75%. You will also find cheap tickets sold on many English and low-cost airlines servicing Heathrow and in the duty-free area (you can’t miss the purple vested ticket sellers!)
To make the experience more affordable for families, the Heathrow Express allows kids aged 15 and under to travel free when accompanied by a paying adult, or can travel unaccompanied if they have proof of air travel such as a valid flight booking or boarding pass. (Be sure to bring a Photo ID!)
There are two classes of travel on the Heathrow Express:
- Express Class: basic seating onboard the Heathrow Express
- Business First Class: includes tables to work from, newspapers, magazines, and seat power sockets for those who need a quick charge.
All trains are equipped with complimentary WiFi for both classes of travel.
When booked 90 days+ in advance Express tickets can cost as low as £5.50 making it a great option for travellers. Same-day travel tickets can cost as much as £32.00 for Business First Class.
Time: The journey takes 15 minutes from Terminals 2 and 3 and 30 minutes from Terminal 5 and departs every 15-minutes from 5:00am and 12midnight.
If you are landing at Terminal 4, take advantage of the free transfer service from Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 and switch onto the Heathrow Express. This adds about 5 minutes extra to your travel time.
Fun fact: At the time of writing, the Heathrow Express is the most expensive train journey in the world by distance travelled.
By London Underground (The Tube)…
London’s train – better known as the Underground or “the Tube” – is the most cost efficient way to travel between Heathrow and Central London.
Depending on how long your stopover in London is, you can purchase a single-use paper ticket from a machine, or use an Oyster card (a contactless smartcard that can be used across all modes of public transport in London). You can also use contactless credit cards to pay for your rides, but bare in mind non-UK issued cards might encounter overseas transaction charges each time you use a contactless card.
The London Underground comes out to Heathrow and runs along the dark blue Piccadilly Line. This line allows you to connect onto most of the cities Underground lines, and also has stops at Kings Cross (where you can connect onto the Eurorail to cities such as Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam) and Victoria Station, right in the heart of the city and one of the main hotel districts.
The Tube is particularly affordable for families as children under 11 travel free when accompanied by an adult!
Cost: Prices below reflect a standard Adult Ticket.
|London Underground (Cash)||£6.00 One-Way||£12.00 Return|
|London Underground (Oyster Card)||£3.10-£5-10 One-Way||£6.20-£10.20 Return|
- Heathrow to Earls Court: 35 mins
- Heathrow to South Kensington: 38 mins
- Heathrow to Knightsbridge: 40 mins
- Heathrow to Hyde Park Corner: 42 mins
- Heathrow to Green Park: 44 mins
- Heathrow to Piccadilly Circus: 46 mins
- Heathrow to Leicester Square: 47 mins
- Heathrow to Covent Garden: 48 mins
- Heathrow to Holborn: 50 mins
- Heathrow to Russell Square: 52 mins
- Heathrow to Kings Cross St Pancras: 54 mins
- Heathrow to Victoria: 45 mins
- Heathrow to Liverpool Street: 1hr 5 mins
Trains begin running at 5 am and end at 12midnight most nights. Be sure to plan your journey on the TfL Journey Planner.
Want to get from Heathrow Airport to central London with ease? Then taking a Taxi, Black Cab or Rideshare probably is your best choice.
One thing to note: the time and price of these services (not including the Private Car Service) is dependent on when you travel. London has immense traffic on the M1 – the main road to the airport – and throughout central London. As such, try to avoid travelling by vehicle between 7:30am and 10am or 5pm to 7pm on weekdays. Sunday evenings can also be on the slower side.
Taxis & Black Cabs:
Take a ride in Britain’s famous Black Cabs! There are taxi and cab ranks located directly outside each terminal at Heathrow.
Private Car Service:
Private car services (commonly known as “mini cabs”) tend to be the most cost efficient but must be booked in advance. The driver will meet you one you get through customs and baggage.
I highly recommend Addison Lee, having regularly used them for years when I was based in London. Their rates start at £60 for a medium car that will fit four people, including 30 minutes of waiting time should your flight be delayed.
There are a number of rideshare operators in the London, but Uber, Bolt, Ola, Gett, and Free Now are all popular options.
Once you have your bags, head to the closest ride share pick up zone at Heathrow Airport:
- Terminal 2: Level 4, Row H (Short Stay Car Park 2)
- Terminal 3: Level 3, Row A (Short Stay Car Park 3)
- Terminal 4: Level 1, Private Hire Pickup
- Terminal 5: Level 1, Row R (Short Stay Car Park 5)
Before boarding your flight to London, consider pre-booking (advance booking) your rideshare. Just make sure you leave ample time to clear immigration, baggage, and maybe even pick up a coffee before your ride!
Cost: From Terminal 5 to Piccadilly Circus is approximately £42 in an UberX, but with luggage, you will need to order a larger car.
Time: Approximately 40-55 minutes in light traffic to get to central London.
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