It is easy to find convenient and/or cheap flights to London, but sometimes an airport transfer is more expensive or more difficult to choose than the flight itself.
Here is a guide with all possible ways to get from Heathrow Airport to London city center from Molly.
Welcome to Heathrow Airport. The airport is located 20 miles or 32 kilometers to the west of London.
It is known to be one of the busiest airports in the world. Not to get lost and to know where to go, choose an appropriate means of transport to get from Heathrow to London city center already now!
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There are departure lounges and family facilities (so if you are traveling with a baby, look out for these when baby needs to be changed). There are entertainment play areas as well.
There you will find a specialist lounge, a game zone, quiet children’s room and many slides to keep the kids entertained. If you need to get a quick gift there are a range of stores available.
When you get off in Heathrow, the first thing that you will have to find is a big yellow sign that will show you where to get the various modes of transport. London has one of the largest transportation networks in the world. You have a choice between the Tube, Taxi, Heathrow Express, Uber and a rental car.
Find the most suitable hotel in London here
Make sure you enter the specific date and time that you’ll be traveling so that you can get as accurate results as possible. It will also give you an idea of the traffic. There’s no way to predict which option is “the best” for you because it varies for each situation.
When traveling from Heathrow airport, a quick and easy way to get to Central London (Paddington) is the Heathrow Express. If you’re not trying to get somewhere that’s near Paddington, it’s not worth taking the express. Use Google Maps to determine your best route.
I must warn you however that taking big bags on London’s tube system is difficult. There are a lot of stairs to go up and down and escalators. Elevators are not available in every station.
If you have many bags or you will struggle carrying them up and down stairs, consider a taxi or one of the other transportation options mentioned below. There are apps available for the London tube checker and the London bus checker.
If you're going to London for business, check my business trip safety tips
London Underground or "the Tube"
The Tube or the underground rail network will be something that you will use often for your stay in London. You will need to get an Oyster card. There is a minimum deposit that you will have to pay, but the good news is that it is refunded if you return the card when you are leaving London.
You will also have the option to pay for daily, weekly or monthly. This is a fast way to travel.
It gets very busy during the rush hours.
Be prepared to walk fast to keep up. There are a lot of up and down staircases and escalators.
Underground, there are clearly marked maps with different colored lines to tell you which way to go. All you have to do is follow the color. You can see the London tube map here.
The underground is divided into 9 zones. There are red, blue, yellow and green lines that show different routes to north south east and west. If you take the wrong train, you will have to backtrack and it can be done by just following the route maps.
Comment from Roaming Roman: despite all those colors and that Google Maps works for London tube, it always took me double or triple the time to get somewhere to what it showed me because the underground in London is not intuitive at all!
Heathrow Express and Heathrow connect train
As I mentioned before, Heathrow Express takes you to Paddington.
One train goes directly to Paddington. And the other one stops along the way and is slightly cheaper. If you buy tickets for twelve people you get a discount for one.
Bus to London
At the stations, there are machines available to buy your tickets. There are double-decker buses. If you book tickets in advance or during off-peak times, their prices are more economical. You cannot pay your bus fare in cash. You will need the oyster card.
London is known for their iconic double-decker buses. I am sure you will get better sight-seeing opportunities this way. You can just imagine how fabulous it could be to see London from the top level of the double-decker bus.
Not to miss any, check my London weekend itinerary
If you make a journey using pay as you go on a bus, and you can make unlimited bus journeys for free within one hour of first touching it. All 5 to 10-year-olds travel free on buses and trams. Bus travel is free for wheelchair users.
How do you get the driver to stop at your destination?
Press the red button that is situated on the upright metal posts, when your stop is next. This gives the driver enough notice to stop safely. You can find bud timetables and route maps online. If you go out at night there are buses that are available for 24 hours.
Car rentals are also a good option, especially if you want to visit other nice places in England. If you are going to be driving yourself around London, do remember to drive on the left side of the road. I am sure it takes a little getting used to but it gets easier as you drive. There are many online websites that you can look at and hire from.
Easirent LHR Car Hire is one of them. They have a selection of economy and family-sized vehicles. If you like to travel in style they do have luxurious vehicles as well. They are situated away from the airport so they offer a free shuttle transfer to and from the airport.
Note that you will have to show the bus driver your rental agreement so do keep it in a place where it is easily accessible. Car rentals are advisable if you prefer to travel at your leisure, or if you are traveling with a baby. If you have your own vehicle then you can stop when baby gets restless. Some people like to explore the city at their own pace and not have to hail a cab or rush to get the next Tube.
There are many taxies stands outside the airport. You can take up to 5 people in a taxi and easily grab a black cab.
The price varies significantly depending on where you’re going. You can check prices online. Some interesting points to remember while in London and using the Taxi.
Only the Black Cabs can be hailed in the street. Look at the TAXI sign on the car, if it is lit, it is available. These cabs are metered. Minicabs are also available. Ask for a price before you get it as these are not metered.
Private Heathrow Airport Transfer
Similar options to taxis are airport transfers directly to your hotel. If you're a business person, you probably won't have time to look for a taxi upon arrival.
When you order an airport transfer, the driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals with a paper with your name on it.
Here are some of the good options for airport transfers from Heathrow to London:
If you have no time to go to London, and your next flight is from Gatwick, there is a transfer for you too.
If your phone works upon your arrival, you can order an Uber. If you do not have a lot of luggage and are traveling alone or as a couple, you can do UberPool to save money. You can also do your bit to help the environment. You will ride with someone else who’s going to the same area as you.
However, take into account that it is a last minute option, and if you haven't booked a car or bought a bus ticket, you might not find an Uber driver and be in a losing position.
Enjoy your visit to London. It is an amazing experience. The more prepared you are when it comes to the transport options available, the more enjoyable your trip will be, It pays to do your homework beforehand and book the transportation online in advance. Have a great trip!
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