As one of the busiest airports in the world, many people traveling to LHR each year wonder about the best way to get from Heathrow to London. On this page we provide useful information about the travel time, cost, convenience and a few other factors which will help you decide on the best mode of transportation from LHR to downtown London and to other major transportation hubs in and around London city.
First - let's make one thing clear: there is not an absolute best way from Heathrow Airport to London.
Every traveler has different needs and concerns. Balancing convenience, cost and other considerations will help you decide what's best for you, and we hope that the guide and tips below will provide the information you need to choose the best mode of transportation from Heathrow to downtown London.
The two most popular ways people travel from LHR to Downtown London are by car or by train.
Each mode of transportation offers you a few different options depending upon your schedule, budget and comfort level traveling in a new city. Here's a short overview of each mode of transportation - scroll down to learn more about all of your options.
Many people choose to travel by car from Heathrow to downtown London or to their hotel. There are many options including renting a car and driving yourself, arranging a private driver or car service, taking a shuttle to your destination or hailing a cab after you've picked up your luggage at baggage claim.
With the center of London a convenient 17 miles from Heathrow, traveling by car is a popular choice which allows you to navigate directly to your hotel or other points of interest around the city. Learn More
A faster and less expensive option, taking the Heathrow Express to London Paddington Station is a popular choice which can save you a bit of time and money. Rail transportation is available from Heathrow terminals 1-3 and you can arrange a car or sort out additional rail connections from Paddington if you prefer that to driving to your destination directly from LHR. Learn More
If you're planning to depart LHR by car you have several affordable and convenient options to choose from. The advantage of traveling by car is that you don't have to wait for a train to arrive and you can drive (or be driven) directly to your hotel or destination, removing the need to sort out additional transportation or to walk long distances after reaching the nearest train stop in London.
If you'r traveling in a group or have arranged a rental car in downtown London (a great way to avoid on-airport surcharges) then arranging a shuttle from heathrow to your destination in downtown London can be a great choice. You won't have to worry about sorting out a train schedule or paying a high fee for a cab and these typically run on a regular schedule. Learn More
A popular transportation option for those who want to treat themselves to truly stress-free travel is to arrange private car service or an airport transfer from LHR to downtown. For the price of a taxi you can often enjoy a comfortable private car and polished driver ... an ideal way to kick off your visit to London. Learn More
Driving from LHR to your hotel in downtown London is very easy - just hop on the M4 and take the appropriate exit to the destination of your choice. When searching for LHR car rentals on AutoEurope.com you can compare rates for both on and off-airport rental cars and we display the airport surcharge so you can calculate which pick-up location and supplier offers the best deal. Search Now
Hiring a cab driver to take you where you need to go is easy at LHR, but there are some downsides to selecting this mode of transportation. First: the cost. Taking a cab from Heathrow to London will cost considerably more than a train ticket to Paddington Station, and while it's more convenient than riding the train and grabbing a connection or walking to your hotel, the cost of a taxi at LHR will be about the same price as arranging a private transfer or booking car service in advance. If you do arrange car service at LHR you won't have to throw elbows or wait for a cab - your driver will be waiting for you upon your arrival.
Related: Infographic: 3-Day Car Rental vs. LHR to Downtown Round-Trip Taxi
Taking the train from Heathrow to Paddington Station in central London is a popular choice. Even if you plan on hiring a taxi or renting a car, the Heathrow Express / Heathrow Connect Train departs LHR every 15 minutes. If you're staying at a hotel in or around Paddington then taking this train from Heathrow Airport to London is a good choice.
This is probably the fastest and most affordable mode of transportation and you can choose either the Express or the Connect lines depending upon your budget and time constraints (the Express makes fewer stops, is faster and it is also a bit more expensive). Both trains run between LHR and Paddington station, with the Heathrow Express departing every 15 minutes and the Heathrow Connect departing every 30 minutes, meaning no matter when your flight arrives you won't have long to wait for a train but if you want the cheaper option you may have to wait up to 30 minutes.
The downside to taking the train to London from Heathrow is that if your final destination isn't in the Paddington neighborhood you'll probably have to follow-up and arrange a taxi, car service or rental car in downtown London (or decipher the many lines and schedule of the famous London Tube). This extra step can offset the time and money savings you enjoyed at first, so it's important to keep this in mind when arranging transportation from LHR to downtown London. For example if you plan to get on the Piccadilly Line you'll have to either walk through Hyde Park from Paddington or take the London Tube to connect.
Heathrow Express: 17 minute trip from LHR to Paddington (departs Heathrow every 15 minutes)
Heathrow Connect: 30 minute trip from LHR to Paddington (departs Heathrow every 30 minutes)
The tube or London Underground is a popular mode of transportation within the city of London, but it can be time consuming to sort out for travelers who are new to the city and if you're planning to jump right onto the Express and connect to the London Tube upon arrival you will save some money, but you may be in for some stressful transfers due to the steep learning curve of this elaborate public transportation network.
It's fun to ride the tube, but many people traveling to London and staying outside of Paddington choose to rent a car or arrange a private transfer - paying a bit more for the convenience of driving straight to their hotel after a long fight.
There may not be a clear-cut best way to get from Heathrow to London, but a little careful planning will go a long way. Our advice is to think about your entire trip, not just your initial transportation needs. Many people are surprised to learn how inexpensive it is to rent a car in London and one of the perks to choosing this mode of transportation is enjoying more freedom to explore the outskirts of London and the surrounding area any time you like. For example the drive to Stonehenge is beautiful and it's much quicker to drive to this historic landmark than it is to take a bus - it's one of our favorite day trips from London.
If you're interested in pricing out an airport transfer, shuttle, rental car or private driver to London from Heathrow please feel free to give our experienced team a call. For more than 60 years we have been helping travelers plan their ground transportation in Europe and we can help you stretch your dollar by avoiding some common pitfalls and local fees you might not be aware of.
Get started by searching our rates online (use the booking engine at the top of the page) and if you have any questions or would like to speak with a specialist please call us toll-free, 24/7 at 1-888-223-5555.