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Heathrow Airport Transport

Heathrow airport is 20 miles (35km) west of central London.

There are three ways to travel to/from the airport to central London: Underground, coach or train.

Unlike Gatwick, Stansted or Luton, Heathrow is on the London Underground network. It’s easy and cheap to travel to central London.

The National Express coach, which costs slightly more than the underground, might be more suitable if you’re staying in the Victoria area or if you have a lot of luggage.

The train arrives in Paddington station and is convenient if you stay in Paddington, Bayswater or Lancaster Gate.

Heathrow to/from London – a quick summary

Scroll down for full details of each service.

Company Single Tickets Journey Time Book
National Express £7 40–90 mins nationalexpress.com
Underground £6* 55 mins See below
Heathrow Connect £10.10 30 mins heathrowconnect.com

*Fares are cheaper with a Pay as you go Oyster/contactless card

Underground to and from Heathrow Airport

Piccadilly Line

Departure/arrival – Heathrow airport
The airport has three underground stations connected to the Piccadilly line. One station serves Terminals 2 and 3 and Terminals 4 and 5 have their own stations. (Terminal 1 is now closed).

Departure/arrival – central London
See the London underground map for the Piccadilly line route.

Journey time & frequency
Trains leave approximately every 5 minutes. If you have an early or late departure, check the TfL website for first and last times. It takes approximately 55 minutes–1 hour to Piccadilly Circus station.

Tickets – 2015 fares
Tickets are available from the ticket offices and ticket machines in all underground stations. Tickets are also available from the London Travel Information Centre, opposite the entrance to Terminal 1,2,3 underground station. The queues are often shorter.

Cash fare to central London: £6 single (zone 1-6)

Get an Oyster card or use a contactless debit/credit card if you want to pay less. The single fare is £3.10 during ‘off peak’ hours, and £5.10 during peak hours (6.30am–9.30am and 4pm–7pm Monday to Friday). If you travel from Heathrow to zone 1 between 4pm–7pm, there’s no afternoon peak fare.

If you use your Oyster card or a contactless debit/credit card to pay for travel for the rest of the day, the maximum deducted is £11.70.

Read more about travel by underground from Heathrow to central London

See the full N9 route map

Coaches to and from Heathrow Airport

National Express

The largest coach operator in the UK runs frequent coaches between Heathrow airport and Victoria Coach Station in central London. It’s a convenient alternative to the underground, especially if you have a lot of luggage.

Coaches from Heathrow Airport to central London also stop at Earl’s Court (Stop D, West Cromwell Rd, near Tesco).

Departure/arrival – Heathrow airport
Terminals 2 or 3 – Central Bus Station
Terminal 4 – There are free coach transfers from Terminal 4 to the Central Bus Station from stop 7 outside arrivals
Terminal 5 – There are a few direct services to central London from Terminal 5. More frequent services run from the Central Bus Station. Take a free train transfer to Heathrow Central, then it’s a few minutes walk from there to the Central Bus Station.

Departure/arrival – central London
Victoria Coach Station, Buckingham Palace Rd, SW1.

Frequency & journey time

Approximately 2–3 departures per hour. It takes between 45 minutes–50 minutes from Heathrow Central Bus station–London Victoria Coach Station. Allow longer for travel to/from Terminals 4 & 5.

Booking tickets

Tickets cost £7 single (including a £1 booking fee). Save up to 25% on the cost of two singles if you book a return.

You can book online directly with National Express and print out your ticket.

If you don’t have access to a printer, there are two alternative options. The tickets can be:

  • sent to your mobile phone (50p)
  • picked up from a collection point (50p)

Alternatively, buy tickets from the ticket office at Victoria Coach Station in London (there’s always a queue so give yourself plenty of time), or the Central Bus Station at Heathrow Airport.

Luggage Allowance

National Express allow two medium sized bags (up to 20kg each) plus hand luggage for free per person. When booking online, ignore the additional luggage option unless you’re travelling with three or more suitcases.

Top Tip: If you travel to central London with National Express, you can claim discount vouchers giving you 2 for the price of 1 at some of London’s leading attractions. Click to book and download vouchers.

Read more about travel by National Express coach from Heathrow to central London

Trains to and from Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Connect

The Heathrow Connect is the cheapest of the two train services running from Heathrow to central London. It stops at Hayes, Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing & Ealing Broadway before reaching Paddington station.

Departure/arrival – Heathrow airport
Terminals 2 or 3 – Heathrow Central station
Terminal 4 – Take the free train transfer to Heathrow Central
Terminal 5 – Take the free train transfer to Heathrow Central

Departure/arrival – central London
Paddington train station, Praed St, London W2.

Journey time & frequency

Approximately 30 minutes. 2 trains per hour.

Booking tickets

£10.10 single, £20.20 return. Buy tickets at the train station at Heathrow or Paddington or book online (London Paddington – Heathrow airport only)

The Heathrow Express is another train service from Heathrow to Paddington. It’s slightly quicker than the Heathrow Connect, but more than twice the price (unless you book 30 days in advance).

Read more about train travel from Heathrow to central London

Top Tip: Get 1/3 off the Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express with a Rail Card

See also

Last updated: 17 September 2015