London Heathrow Airport is a major international airport serving London, England’s capital city. Heathrow is located 23km west of London. It’s the world’s third busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic (after the airports in Dubai and Hong Kong), as well as the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic. London Heathrow is the primary hub for British Airways and the primary operating base for Virgin Atlantic. In 2016 it broke its own record with almost 76 million passengers.
Public transport: Since Heathrow Airport is, as already said, one of the biggest and busiest airports in the world, it has a well-developed public transport system not only in London, but across the region.
Coach: National Express and the Airline company connect Heathrow to more than 500 destinations.
- National Express is the UK’s largest scheduled coach operator which provides frequent direct services to and from hundreds of destinations including Oxford, Bristol, Wales, London, and Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports. It is the only direct connection between Heathrow and other airports and runs 100 services a day. See the fares and schedules.
- The Airline is Oxford Bus’s Airline service that links Heathrow with Oxford. Frequent regular services 24 hours a day seven days a week from the central bus station and Terminal 5. The journey lasts 80 – 90min. One ticket costs 27€. Check out the timetable.
- Tickets for all coaches can be purchased from the ticket office at Heathrow central bus station (06:00 – 22:10) or online. Ticket machines are also available 24 hours a day.
- You can catch coaches at Terminals 2, 3, 4 (stops 13 and 14) and 5 (stops 9 to 15).
NOTE: Please keep in mind that in periods between 2nd April to 29th April 2017, 4th June to 7th October and 26th November 2017 to 13th January 2018 high frequency time is applied and the timetable changes.
RailAir: This is a type of coach service which operates non-stop from:
- Heathrow to Reading Station: The bus departs every 20min, the journey time is 45min, a single adult fare is 18,5€ (return ticket 28€).
- Heathrow to Warford Junction: Green Line route 724 runs to Warford Junction, the stop for trains headed to the Midlands, Manchester, Liverpool, north-west England and Scotland, the service departs once per hour, the journey is 40min long, one ticket costs 17.5€.
- Heathrow to Woking: The coach runs to Woking station which is to exit stop for trains to Aldershot, Winchester, Salisbury, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth, it goes every 30min and runs for 50min for a ticket of 12€.
- Heathrow to Feltham: The line nr. 285 runs to Feltham (for trains to Richmond, Camberley, Bracknell, London Waterloo, Clapham Junction and the South) every 10 min (twice an hour at night on the same route), the journey takes 30min and a single fee is 6€. The bus route 490 bus runs from Terminal 5 to Richmond via Terminal 4, Hatton Cross and Feltham station every 12min, the journey is half an hour long and one ticket is also 6€.
Bus: There is a wide range of public bus connections between Heathrow Airport and places in west London. You can NOT pay in cash, therefore make sure to buy one of the following prior to your journey: an Oyster card, a Visitor Oyster card, a contactless payment card or a Day Travelcard.
- An adult single fare is ~2€.
- You can catch all the public buses at the bus station between terminals 2 and 3.
Train: Train is the fastest option to reach central London from Heathrow Airport. You can choose between two options:
- Heathrow Express: This train connects the airport to London Paddington in 15min, it departs 4 times per hour (every 15min).
- Heathrow Connect: The service departs every 30min and operates on the route Heathrow Airport – London Paddington.
Metro: London’s underground Piccadilly Line offers the most cost-convenient rail route between the airport and the capital.
- The journey takes 60min and the Tube departs every 10 minutes or less.
- There are 3 underground stations at the airport: one between Terminals 2 and 3, and one each at Terminal 4 and 5, all stations are in Travelcard Zone 6.
- A single fare to central London is 7€.
- First train departs at 05:12, the last one at 23:25 (few minutes more or less, depending on the terminal).
- During the night the N9 bus connects Heathrow with central London. The service runs every 20 minutes from the central bus station.
Taxi service: If you want to avoid the hassle of public transport, consider taxing a taxi. London’s famous black taxis stop at the ranks outside each Heathrow terminal. There are over 600 taxi companies serving Heathrow airport and the surrounding areas. Drivers are fully licensed and have passed the Knowledge of London examination. Check out the taxi fares.
NOTE: The Heathrow Airport Guide have a partnership with Uber to give you a free £15 ride. You can use this offer to make your transfer to or from the airport much cheaper. This offer can only be used by first time riders. The code is AIRPORTGUIDES.
Transfer: If you don’t like using the public transport and hesitate to take a taxi, consider booking a private transfer which will wait for you on the airport and take you to your destination. The transfer company will send a professional driver to pick you up. You can even pre-order a child safety seat if you’re travelling with a child.
Renting a car at London Heathrow airport: For those of you who would like to reach the city and explore the area on their own, the best option is to rent a car directly at the airport. There are several car rental companies there: Avis, Europcar, Enterprise, National, Alamo, Hertz, Budget and Sixt. All the information desks are located in the Arrivals hall at the airport. Compare their prices and offers and save time by booking online.
Renting a bus at London Heathrow airport: If you’re coming in a larger group of people, consider renting a bus for your journey. Keep in mind to book it in advance, so the transfer company has enough time to inform you on the meeting point and all other relevant information.
From LHR to London Stansted (STD): The distance between the two airports is 96km. You can travel by coach or by train.
- National Express coaches run every 30 – 60min. The journey takes 90min and one ticket costs 26€.
- Stansted Express trains run to Heathrow every 15 to 30 minutes. The journey is 46min long and costs 22€.
From LHR to London Gatwick (LGW): You can cross the distance of 68km also by coach or by train.
- National Express trains operate on the route Heathrow – Gatwick up to 6 times per hour. The journey takes 75min and costs 29€.
- Gatwick Express trains run non-stop between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. A ticket for a 30min journey costs 20€. To reach Heathrow, do the following: Heathrow Express Heathrow – London Paddington, Underground Paddington – Victoria (45min, 31.5€) – Heathrow (50min, 5.5€).
From LHR to London City (LCY): This is the closest airport to Heathrow (42km). The journey takes a bit more than 60min. To get to the desired airport follow this route: Docklands Light Railway between London City Airport and Canning Town (10min), Underground between Canning Town and Paddington (30min, change at Baker Street), Heathrow Express between Paddington and Heathrow (15min). It will cost you 31.5€ (all tickets included).
From LHR to London Luton (LTN): The distance between the two airports is 55km. You can cross it by coach and train.
- National Express coaches operate this route 28 times a day. The journey time is 70min and costs 26€.
- Journey time between Luton and Heathrow is 75min, to reach it by train, follow these steps: Thameslink trains between Luton Airport Parkway and Farringdon (40min), Underground between Farringdon and London Paddington (15min), Heathrow Express between Paddington and Heathrow (15min). One ticket costs 49€ (all means of transport)
FAQ – bus and transport from London Heathrow airport
Q: I arrive late at the airport. Will it be a problem for me to get to the city?
A: No, there are many means of public transport which can take you to all parts of London and cities nearby. Coaches, buses and trains run even during nighttime, but if you are too tired to drag around the public transport after your flight, you can take a taxi located at the taxi rank in front of the terminal.
Q: I have an early morning departure from the airport, are there any airport hotels I can stay at?
A: Yes, there are hotels at the terminals and hotels close to the airport. You can check in at Sofitel London Heathrow (luxury hotel with 605 rooms, Terminal 5), the four star Hilton London Heathrow Airport (Terminal 4) or YOTEL (Japanese-inspired capsule hotel with 32 cabins, Terminal 4). Also, there are Holiday Inn Express within a 15min drive from the airport, which is a great value for money, too – with a hot buffet breakfast included for all guests, Doubletree Hotel 20min away from LHR, Leonardo, Mercure Hotel ideal for business and leisure travellers, Mystery Hotel and many others offer a cozy accommodation while you’re resting in-between your flights.
Q: I would like to visit London in between flights. Is that possible?
A: Of course, the airport is only 23km away from the city centre and has an extremely efficient public transport system, working 24/7. You can reach the central London in 15 minutes and you don’t have to worry about making it to your next flight, since there is always some bus, coach, train or metro line headed to the airport. Also, you can leave your luggage at the airport. The Excess Baggage Company operates left luggage rooms at all five LHR terminal buildings. The price is £6.50 per piece for every 24 hours.
Q: Can I exchange money at the airport to pay for my transfer?
A: Yes, you can exchange your money, but you can also pick up money at the ATM machines. which are available before and after security control in every terminal at Heathrow.
Most cash machines accept UK bank and building society cards without extra charge. They also accept major credit cards.
Q: I am continuing my journey outside London. Are there any direct lines to other destinations?
A: From the airport you can go, if necessary, to all the other airports serving the city of London. You can also go to many places in the region, but if you prefer some other destinations in the UK, we recommend you to go to London Central Station and check out the timetables and routes there.