Getting from Heathrow to London is actually very easy.
Whether you are spending a day, a week or a month in London, and whatever the purpose of your trip, let me help you find the most suitable way of getting from Heathrow to London. planning a quick getaway, a business trip or a romantic weekend in Rome, you can find various ways of getting from Fiumicino to Rome.
There are 5 airports in London – London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City are all served by main airlines; Stansted and Luton are served by budget airlines. London City, in the Docklands, is the most central one but it is mostly used for business flights. You can get there by bus from central London. All other airports are found at the outskirts of the city (and in other counties, actually) and are well connected to London city center by either bus, train or metro.
If you are flying from the other side of the world, chances are you will be landing in either Heathrow or Gatwick.
London Heathrow Airport is at about 26 km from the center of town, but really well connected. You will have several options to get from Heathrow to London, which include train, metro, taxis, private transfer and bus.
Depending on how you decide to go from Heathrow to London, it’ll take you between 14 minutes and 1 hour to reach the town center.
This post highlights all the options you have to get from Heathrow to London and shares some tips to help you make your trip smoother. In case you need to transfer to another airport, I will also explain how to get from Heathrow to other airports.
5 Easy Ways Of Getting From Heathrow To London
The train from Heathrow to London city center
The train is by far the easiest way to get from Heathrow to London, not to mention the fastest and most comfortable.
Heathrow Express trains run from around 5:15 am to just about midnight daily. Heathrow Express runs to Paddington Train Station from about 5:15 am to midnight, daily. Trains depart every 15 minutes and take just 15 minutes to get there. What’s great about the train is that there are steps-free access points, so that even if you have lots of luggage you won’t have to fiddle with steps. The train is clean, comfortable, and even has wi-fi.
Keep in mind that there will be 1st and 2nd class seats available, so make sure to sit in your assigned carriage.
These are the current Heathrow Express ticket costs:
- One way, economy and off peak – £22 British Pounds (GBP) (around $28.6 USD);
- One way, economy flexible £25 GBP for ($32.5 USD) for economy;
- Business class – £32 GBP ($41.7 USD) for business class tickets;
- Round trip tickets (within 30 days) – £37 GBP (around $48 USD) – this is a considerably cheaper option but if you are return journey is more than 30 days after your outbound one, you will need to buy two one way tickets.
- If you buy your tickets more than 90 days before your travel date, they can be as cheap as £5.50 GBP (around $7 USD) for one way tickets for weekend travel and from £12.10 GBP ($15.8 USD) if you intend to travel on weekdays.
GOOD TO KNOW: Peak times are 6:30 to 9:30 am and 4:00 to 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
You can buy tickets online or via the Heathrow Express app, or last minute at the station located inside the airport (but it will be more expensive!). Alternatively, you can check the timetable here and get your train tickets here.
The metro from Heathrow to London
Traveling from Heathrow to London by metro – or tube, as locals call it – is significantly cheaper, but not nearly as comfortable as the train. The metro tends to get incredibly crowded, especially as you approach central London; there are only few places on the carriage where you can place your suitcase and in order to get out of most metro stations you will have to use an escalator and – occasionally – walk up the stairs carrying your luggage. A real hassle, if you ask me – unless you are traveling really light.
Yet, what is good about traveling from Heathrow to London via London Underground is that you can get off at many stations and easily connect with another train to get to your final destination.
Piccadilly line trains depart from Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 Underground Station roughly every 10 minutes and take about one hour to get to central London.
GOOD TO KNOW: London Underground doesn’t run 24/7!
So, how much does a London Underground ticket cost? Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer! But let me explain:
A one way metro ticket from Heathrow to London zones 1 and 2 costs £5.90 GBP (around $7.70 USD).
However, If you are spending a few days in London, you may be better off getting a Visitor Oyster Card to save some money on transportation – besides, the Tube is really the easiest way to move around town. It works as a touch in – touch out card at all stations and buses. You can even get it online with some balance on it, and have it mailed to your home address, and gives you access with discount to quite a few attractions. Get yours here. Alternatively, you can simply get your Oyster Card at the Underground Station at Heathrow Terminal (but you don’t get the discounts that way).
Another good option is the London Travelcard for one or more days – this is probably the best options if you think you will be using the metro a lot.
Finally, you can get a Pass as You Go with Contactless, which much like the Oyster Card gives you access to several discounts. It’s a way of using your credit card or Apple Pay as a touch-in touch-out, pretty much as you’d do with the Oyster Card actually. The only issue is that it doesn’t work with some Mastercards and Maestro issued in the US, Canada and the Netherlands, and some Visa cards issued outside the UK.
The bus from Heathrow to London
I must admit I am not a fan of traveling by bus in the UK. For some reason, I always end up getting motion sick on them! Having said that, if you can endure the speed-bumps, the roundabouts and the sometimes crazy driving, the bus from Heathrow to London is a fairly good option – cheap, comfortable, and you don’t have to carry your bags up and down the stairs.
Direct buses from Heathrow to London Victoria Station (from where you can transfer to the District and Circle lines or to the Victoria line) are offered by National Express. Buses depart every hour, and every 15 minutes during peak time. A one way ticket costs £10 GBP ($13 USD), whereas a round-trip ticket (with the return ticket within 30 days of your outbound one) costs £16 GBP (around $21 USD). If you are uncertain of your return date, you can opt for an “open return” ticket which costs £18.40 GBP ($24 USD). You can buy tickets directly at the airport, but they are much cheaper if you buy them online in advance. You can get them on National Express website here.
The journey takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic.
GOOD TO KNOW: Megabus is a valid alternative for buses from Heathrow to London Victoria Station. There are two daily departures and tickets cost just under £10 GBP ($13 USD).
Taxis from Heathrow to London
Although there are taxis running from Heathrow to London, I hardly recommend using this mode of transportation. Although black cabs can use the bus lane, in London, and there is a flat rate going from London to the airport, it doesn’t work the same the other way around, so they can be terribly expensive as there is no flat fee – you can check out the fares here. And you may even have to wait in line to get a taxi!
GOOD TO KNOW: Uber lost its license in London when it was found that more than 14000 trips were taken with drivers who used a fake identity on the app, so this is no longer an option to travel from Heathrow Airport to central London. A good alternative to Uber is GETT, which has fixed prices to travel from Heathrow Airport to central London (it can be anything between £45 and £60 GBP – so between $60 and $80). You will need to download the app and to have internet connection in order to use GETT.
Private Transfer from Heathrow to London
Private transfers are a significantly better alternative to taxis to get from Heathrow to London. They offer door-to-door service; they will wait for you at the gate and – depending on which service you hired – will wait even if your flight is delayed; you don’t have to worry about luggage and you can book them online – and even cancel up to 3 hours in advance and receive a full refund. You can even pick the kind of car you want! They are honestly a very viable option if you are traveling in a small group.
These are some good transfer options:
- Heathrow Airport private transfer – prices start at $75,78 USD for a group of 3 and go up to $193 for a group of 7 in a business van. Tolls and taxes are included.
- London Airports shared transfer to hotels – this shared shuttle service costs around $40 USD per person.
Final Notes On Getting From Heathrow To London
You should now have enough information to decide how to get from Heathrow Airport to London. My recommendation, if you are traveling on a budget and don’t have too much luggage, is to use London Underground.
If on the other hand you have luggage that you don’t want to drag around, you have two options: the National Express bus if you want to travel on the cheap; and the Heathrow Express Train if money is not an issue.
BONUS! How To Get From Heathrow To Other Airports In London
I don’t really recommend getting connecting flights from two different airports in London, as they are quite a way one from the other. If this is the only option you have, make sure to leave enough time to go through customs and pick your luggage at Heathrow and then move to the other airport, check in and go through security again. You will have a few options to transfer – the easiest one is obviously by private transfer.
Find the best way to get from Heathrow to other airports below.
How to get from Heathrow to Stansted
Stansted Airport is where more budget airlines fly from in London. It’s at 96 km from Heathrow, in Essex County. In other words, it is far and getting there may be a nightmare, and I recommend avoiding booking flights on the same day if you really need to fly from Stansted. Alternatively, give yourself at least 7 hours between the two flights, and factor in two hours as a minimum to transfer between the two.
The easiest option to get from Heathrow to London Stansted Airport is by far the bus. There are direct National Express buses connecting the two airports that depart every 30 to 60 minutes – depending on the time of day. The journey lasts around an hour and a half and if you book it ahead of time on the National Express buses website it can cost as little as £15 GBP (around $20 USD).
GOOD TO KNOW: Add a good 20 minutes if you are traveling from Heathrow terminals 4 or 5.
Alternatively, you can opt to take a combination of trains and tube – but this will be more expensive and more time consuming. You can either take the Heathrow Express train to Paddington, and from there take the tube to London Liverpool – you can take the Hammersmith and City Line or the Circle Line, both eastbound, and get off at Liverpool Street Station, from where you can take the Stansted Express. The overall journey time will be around 2 hours. It’s cheaper if you buy your train tickets in advance. You can get your Stansted Express tickets here.
You can also take the tube from Heathrow and Stansted Express train. Take the Piccadilly Line and get off at Holborn, and from there take a Central Line train eastbound and get off at Liverpool Street Station, from where you can take the Stansted Express. Factor in at least 3 hours just for the journey.You can get your Stansted Express tickets here.
Finally, you can transfer from Heathrow to London Stansted Airport by private transfer – but this will cost you in the range of $200 USD and will take you around two hours. Should you want to do it, you can book your transfer here.
How to get from Heathrow to Gatwick
London Gatwick Airport is located south of London, at about 68 km from Heathrow. Depending on which mode of transportation you pick, transferring can take you between one and two hours.
The is the easiest and most direct way to transfer from Heathrow to Gatwick is by bus. National Express buses depart up to 6 times per hour and the journey takes little over one hour. Tickets cost around £25 GBP (around $33 USD) – make sure them to buy them online ahead of time for cheaper deals.
GOOD TO KNOW: Megabus runs hourly buses between the two airports.
Taking the train and tube doesn’t make much sense as it is more expensive and it will take you longer, and if you have luggage it’s really not convenient. In any case, you’d have to take the Heathrow Express to Paddington and from there the Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus from where you need to take a Victoria Line train southbound and get off at Victoria. Once there, take the Gatwick Express. You can get your Gatwick Express tickets here.
Alternatively, take the Piccadilly Line to Green Park, then the Victoria Line to Victoria Station and from there the Gatwick Express.
Private transfers start at around $160 and take about two hours. They can be booked here.
How to get from Heathrow to London City
London City Airport is located in the Docklands and is on the east side of London – pretty much on the other side of town compared to Heathrow. You need to factor in at least 1.5 hours to get from Heathrow to London City Airport – and that’s just the time you will be spending traveling, pretty much whichever mode of transportation you pick.
The fastest way to transfer from Heathrow to London City is by Heathrow Express and tube. Once you are in Paddington, hop on the Bakerloo Line eastbound and get off at Baker Street. From there, take an eastbound Jubilee Line train to Canning Town and then the DLR to London City Airport. Make sure to buy your Heathrow Express tickets well ahead to save some money!
If time is not an issue, the cheapest way to travel from Heathrow to London City Airport is by tube. Take the Piccadilly Line to Green Park, where you will have to change and take an eastbound Jubilee Line train to Canning Town and from there the DLR to the airport.
I don’t really recommend transferring from Heathrow to London City Airport by taxi or shuttle. It will be really expensive and time consuming as traffic in London is absolutely insane, but definitely easier of you are traveling with lots of luggage. You can book your private transfer here.
How to get from Heathrow to Luton
Luton Airport is located north of London, in the region of East Anglia, and is at about 55 km from Heathrow. Depending on your mode of transportation, you should factor in between one and 2.5 hours of traveling between the two airports.
The easiest way of getting from Heathrow to London Luton Airport is by bus. National Express has regular buses connecting the two airports. The journey time is around 75 minutes and tickets cost £15 GBP (around $20 USD) if you buy them well in advance.
You can also get from Heathrow to London Luton Airport on a combination of train and tube – but I hardly recommend it. It is more expensive and actually more time consuming, and the train doesn’t leave you at the airport but at a train station nearby from where you will have to take a shuttle bus to the airport for a small fee. For the sake of information, you’d need to either take the Heathrow Express to Paddington, then a Hammersmith and City Line or a Circle Line train eastbound to Farringdon and then the Thameslink train to Luton Airport Parkway; or the Piccadilly Line to Kings Cross where you’d have to change to Farringdon for the Thameslink train.
BONUS #2! How To Get From London To Heathrow
To travel from London to Heathrow Airport, just follow the same instructions I shared above but in reverse order, and factor in a bit more time just in case something happens – power outages that stop the trains (yep, that really happens even in good old England and in fact it happened to me!), traffic jams, issues with check in or security that may delay you from boarding and what not. Heathrow Airport is massive and even if you get there early you will find something to keep busy.
GOOD TO KNOW: If you are traveling to Heathrow by tube, make sure you get off at the right terminal stop – they are quite apart from each other!
Further readings about London and the UK
Make sure to read my posts to help you plan a fantastic trip to London:
- 24 Stunning London Hidden Gems
- How To Make The Most Of London In A Day
- 15 Amazing Day Trips From Paris
- The Best 5 Days London Itinerary
- An Easy To Follow Itinerary For 4 Days London
- A Perfect Itinerary To See London In 3 Days
- How To See London In 2 Days
- 15 Great Day Trips From London
- How To Get Tower Of London Tickets
- 5 Easy Ways Of Getting London Dungeon Tickets
- 7 Easy Ways Of Getting London Eye Tickets
- How To Get Madame Tussauds London Tickets And Skip The Lines
- Where To Stay In London: The Best Areas And Hotels
- Where To Get The Most Impressive Views Of London
- A Local’s Guide To The Things To Do In Newcastle