With news that Heathrow Express is jacking up its prices to £24 at peak starting today (6th June), what other ways are there in to London and how much do they cost?
First things first – it depends where you need to be in London. Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect are great to access West London, parts of the West End and some of the City of London. Other times, you maybe better off taking the Tube. A very crude way of looking it to slice up London in Half, with a dividing point being Leicester Square Tube Station. Anything east of it – consider using the Underground. Anything west – Heathrow trains might be better.
So lets look at the options:
Price: Varies. Walk up fares between £22 and £24 (Express Class), £32 (Business Class)
Heathrow Express at Heathrow Terminal 5 – Image, Economy Class and Beyond.
Con’s: Most expensive train journey you’ll ever pay for the distance involved unless you book in advanced.
If you’ve got a corporate account, you won’t worry. If you’re rushed for time, you’ll swallow the cost. Walk up fares start at £22 in Express Class, £32 in Business Class. This goes up to £24 in Express Class at peak.
It takes 15 minutes from Heathrow Central to Paddington.
If you’ve planned in advanced, there are reasonable priced options with the advanced purchase fares Heathrow Express offer 90 days advanced fare (£5.50 during weekends, £12.50 during weekdays), 30 days advanced (£8.80 during weekends, £14.30 during weekdays), or 14 days (£12.50 during weekends, £16.50 during weekdays).
But that involves planning. And we’ve all missed flights or connections making us arrive a day late…
Cost: £10.20 Anytime Single.
Heathrow Connect at Heathrow Central – Image, Economy Class and Beyond.
Pro’s – Cheaper than Heathrow Express, 25 minutes to Paddington + Onward Journey Time.
Con’s – Still pretty pricey, fewer train services.
If you need to from Heathrow to Paddington, and can’t afford justify the cost of a Heathrow Express ticket, the Heathrow Connect comes in at £10.20 for an anytime ticket. I prefer the Connect in my of my Heathrow travels – just to save the cost. It’s still an expensive option… but if you have luggage, this is the better “cheaper” option.
Heathrow Connect will be changing the medium term – but don’t worry. It will be replaced with a 15 minute service, with it merged into Elizabeth Line (or Crossrail) operations from May 2018, with through operations to Liverpool Street. Oddly, this will make the Heathrow Connect service more useful as it will serve more than West London.
London Underground – Piccadilly Line
Cost: £6 on a cash fare (at any time) or £5.10 during peak (6:30am to 09:30am) £3.10 off peak (all other times)
Pro’s – Cheap.
Con’s – Takes time. Not heavy luggage friendly.
The old-fashioned way to and from Heathrow takes from 48 to 52 minutes depending on the time of day. Costs do vary, from £6 on a cash fare (at any time) or £5.10 during peak (6:30am to 09:30am) £3.10 off peak (all other times) with Oyster or Contactless Payment methods. There are limited luggage storage options, and plenty of stairs once you hit Central London.
And avoid taking luggage at peak times… it really does no-one any favours when trying to get off a packed tube train at peak.
Cost: £6 upwards.
Pro’s – Cheapish. Drops you in the heart of London
Con’s – London Traffic can affect travel times from 40 minutes to an hour. Not a clockface timetable.
National Express operate frequent coaches between Heathrow and London Victoria, with room for luggage (2 bags allowed). However, these are subject London Traffic -and as such what is booked as a 50 minute journey could take a lot longer. Timetables do vary, so you need to check.
National Express does have one advantage over rail – it provides direct connections to many locations in the UK from both Heathrow Central and London Victoria
There are more ways to save money, but these involve a bit more effort. For first time flyers into London, I wouldn’t recommend these methods. For those who are in and out, and have a little time – these could provide a diversion from the normal routes.
Cost £2 (Oyster/Contactless Payment required)
If you’ve missed the last train, or need to get to Heathrow ultra early, you might want to consider bus N9 which operates from Heathrow Terminal 5, Heathrow Central to Aldwych / Somerset House via Hammersmith, Kensington Olympia, High Street Kensington, Knightsbridge for Harrods, Green Park, Trafalgar Square and Charings Cross. Takes 1 hour 10 minutes to do the route operated by a London Bus.
Bus Route 140 + Train
Cost: £1.50 (Bus) +Peak : £4.70, Off Peak: £3.10
First Great Western Thames Turbo at Hayes and Harlington – Image, Economy Class and Beyond
One of my favourite money-saving routes is to take Bus 140 from Heathrow Central to Hayes and Harlington station, then take a Great Western Trains/Heathrow Connect shuttle to London Paddington. It’s an easy route to do, but you need to do this on a contactless card or Oyster card to realise the savings.
Travel time is up to 30 minutes on the train.
Trains operate three to four times an hour between Paddington and Hayes and Harlington.
It can be a pain with luggage as London Buses aren’t designed with luggage in mind, but this is one of the simplest ways to save a bit of money if you have time.
Bus 285 from Heathrow Central, Bus 490 from T4 and 5 + Train
Cost:£1.50 +Peak : £6.10, Off Peak: £3.80
If south of the river is more your arrival style, Bus 285/490 to Feltham, then a South West Trains to London Waterloo could provide a bit of an adventure. Again, you’ll need a contactless payment card or Oyster Card to make savings.
Trains operate between London Waterloo and Feltham up to six times an hour – check you don’t get on the stopping train! Travel time is up to 45 minutes on the train segment.
Uber, Black Cab and MiniCabs
These provide point to point connections. As such, be prepared to pay such pricing.
If you’re taking a MiniCab, ensure you set a price before you depart.
Black Cabs/London Hackney Carriages prices do vary depending where in the city.
Uber has withdrawn the flat rates between Heathrow and various points in London, and charge as per the app – so buyer beware.
There are plenty of ways to get to Heathrow – not all of which break the bank depending on what sacrifice you’re going to make on time to get from A to B. If you can plan in advanced, Heathrow Express does offer some value fares.
If you’re buying a walk up though – consider other options unless you like an empty wallet.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.