How to get to London from Heathrow Airport

The biggest and busiest airport in London, Heathrow Airport, is extremely well connected to the city and offers plenty of services to visiting passengers

Heathrow Airport, indicated with codes LHR or EGLL, is the main international airport in London, England. Out of the six international airports in the city, it is the biggest. Heathrow Airport is located 23 kilometres (14 miles) west of Central London and has four operational passenger terminals (terminals 2, 3, 4, and 5) and one cargo terminal (Terminal 1).

Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport covers a total area of 1,227 hectares.

All terminals are of considerable size, with shops, restaurants, cafés, and hospitality venues available all over Heathrow. This means that even if you have a long layover or a few hours to kill at Heathrow Airport, you won’t run out of activities to entertain yourself with. You can find all available venues of interest in the directory.

If you are looking for a place to rest, hotels are available in all passenger terminals except Terminal 2. In Terminal 3 is Aerotel, in Terminal 4 you’ll find a Hilton Hotel, and in Terminal 5 you’ll find the luxurious Sofitel.

And if you want to treat yourself, premium services at Heathrow Airport include several lounges and a spa. These are the perfect places to unwind and refresh between flights. At Terminals 2, 4, and 5 you’ll find the Plaza Premium Lounge, open between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm every day. In Terminal 3 are two lounges, Club Aspire and No. 1 Lounges. Both are open between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm daily. At Terminal 5, you’ll find two lounges (Club Apire and Plaza Premium Lounge) and a spa (Be Relax Spa).

Heathrow airport is the biggest airport in Europe and the seventh busiest in the world, so as you might have imagined, moving between different areas can take quite a bit of time. That said, when it comes to priority movements, like security checks and terminal transfers, the airport manages to be quite efficient.

For example, it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to go through security at Heathrow Airport. Similarly, getting around Heathrow’s terminals is quite easy, thanks to a free transfer network between the terminals. The available means of transport are buses (bus H30), pedestrian underpasses, as well as rail transfers and underground trains. A map of all free travel at Heathrow airport is available on the Heathrow Airport website . Regardless, you should be aware that this is a big airport, so allow yourself longer than you normally would in a smaller airport.

Now, when the time comes to leave the airport madness, you might be at a loss as to your options in terms of transport and connection to Central London. In the following sections, you will find all available alternatives and our recommendations.


London’s Underground network reaches Heathrow Airport and connects it to the city centre, offering the cheapest railway transfer between London and Heathrow. The two lines you can catch from the airport are the Piccadilly and the Elizabeth line.

Heathrow has three London Underground stations. One for terminals 2 and 3, one at Terminal 4, and another one at Terminal 5. The stations are located under their respective terminals and connected via pedestrian pathways. All of them are located in London Travel Zone 6.

Whether you’re taking the Piccadilly or the Elizabeth line, you can use a pay-as-you-go method, a single-journey ticket, or a Travelcard to pay for your Underground journey.

We suggest you use the pay-as-you-go method on an Oyster card or contactless payment device, as this will be the most convenient fare (£5.60 for peak hours and £3.60 for off-peak hours). Remember that if you get an Oyster card, there is an initial printing cost of £7.00 (non-refundable) on top of the journey cost. Below you can find a comparison table of the fares available with different ticket types.

Single ticket
Single ticket Pay-as-you-go on Oyster & contactless payment methods 1-day Travelcard zones1-6 7-days Travelcard zones1-6
£6.70 £5.60 peak hours£3.60 off-peak hours £21.50 £74.40
title Our recommendations
content Getting a 1-day or 6-day Travelcard at Heathrow airport is not worth the price, seeing as you will spend the majority of your time in zones 1-2 once you’re in the city centre.Instead, if you are staying in London for a week, you should pay-as-you-go for the Heathrow-Central London transfer, then get a 7-day Travelcard for zones 1-2 when you’re in the city centre.

Piccadilly Line

On the Piccadilly line, the journey between the airport and the city takes around 50 minutes. The following stations along the Picadilly line are all located extremely centrally: Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Covent Garden.

Operating hours for this line are between 05:00 am and 11:30 pm, with a train every 10 minutes maximum, even early in the morning and late at night.

Elizabeth line

On the Elizabeth line, you can reach Central London in about 30-35 minutes. The stations Paddington, Bond Street, and Tottenham Court Road are all located in the heart of the city. Trains on this line are operational between 5:30 am and midnight.

Train - Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express is a non-stop train that offers the fastest transfer between Heathrow Airport and Central London. The service has two stops at the Airport: Heathrow Central for terminals 2-3 and Heathrow Terminal 5. If you arrive at Terminal 4, we suggest you get the free train transfer to the terminals 2-3 station. Heathrow Express trains run every 15 minutes between 05:10 am and midnight.

The journey between Heathrow Central and London Paddington takes only 15 minutes. The journey between Heathrow Terminal 5 and London Paddington is 18 minutes.

There are different ways to pay for your Heathrow Express journey. You can get your tickets in advance on the Heathrow Express website or on their app, as well as in person when you get to the station. Additionally, you can also use an Oyster card or a contactless payment method to pay for your journey. In this case, you will simply have to tap the card on the reader at the station gates and you will be automatically charged for a single journey.

Single one-way tickets for the Heathrow Express cost £25.00, while return tickets cost £37.00. If you buy your tickets in advance, you’ll get heavily discounted prices. The biggest discounts are for tickets bought 90 or more days in advance. You can see a summary of the prices in the following table.

Type Regular Advance booking Business class
Single £25.00 From £5.50 £32.00
Return £37.00 n/a £55.00

Children aged 15 and under travel for free on the Heathrow Express.

title Our recommendations
content Unlike Stansted Express or Gatwick Express tickets, Heathrow Express tickets are never valid for 2FOR1 offers.


Heathrow Airport is also served by several coach operators. Generally, coaches and buses are the most cost-effective way of reaching other cities in the UK, but we don’t recommend them to those going to Central London. The available bus companies making a stop in the city centre are National Express, Megabus, and FlixBus. They will all drop you off at London Victoria Coach Station.

All coach lines stop at Heathrow Central Bus Station, located between Terminals 2 and 3, just above the London Underground station of the same name. Some National Express lines will also stop at Terminal 4 (bus stops 12-17, just outside Arrivals) and Terminal 5 (stops 9-15, just outside Arrivals).

Prices vary depending on the company, season, advance booking, and availability. You can expect fares to fall anywhere between £5.00 and £15.00.

The journey is significantly slower with a bus than it is with a train or with the Tube. Duration is obviously unreliable, depending on traffic conditions, and it can go from 50 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.


Like all airports, Heathrow has its own taxi ranks, one for each Terminal (on level 0, in front of the Arrivals area) where you can catch a cab. You can see all taxi tanks on the Heathrow Airport website .

Cab fares in London are not fixed, but you can expect a taxi transfer from Heathrow Airport to Central London to cost around £55.00 or £60.00. Depending on traffic, the ride will last around 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Alternatively, London also makes use of private hire vehicles, called minicabs, that you can book in advance. Prices vary from one company to another and are agreed upon before the booking confirmation, but you can generally expect prices to be slightly lower than those of taxis (£45.00 - £55.00).

As for payment methods, on a London taxi, you can always pay by cash or card, but some private hire vehicle companies might allow card payment through their app exclusively.

If you want to know more about cabs, private hire vehicles, and the best companies in London, check out our dedicated article for all the information you need.

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How to get to London from Heathrow Airport