How to Get From Heathrow to Central London

Most international flights that land in London either land at Heathrow or Gatwick. Heathrow is the most popular airport in London, but it also the largest, so it is easy to be overwhelmed. You need to know how to get from Heathrow to Central London before you arrive in London to avoid stressing about figuring it out when you land.

There are some airports where you can wait to figure out how to get to your hotel until you land, but Heathrow is not one of them.

There are 4 ways to get from Heathrow to Central London. This post will only discuss 3 of them because the fourth option is not practical. All 3 methods of getting from Heathrow to Central London have their pros and cons. You may find that one option will fit your travel style more than the other 2, so you should choose whichever option makes you feel most comfortable.

The fourth option that won’t be discussed in depth is to take a taxi. This option isn’t advisable because it is extremely expensive and not very quick. It takes almost as much time as options 1 and 3 and is slower and more expensive than option 2.

You should choose one of the 3 options below to get to Central London and not even look into taking a taxi. It simply isn’t practical.

1. The Underground

The London Underground is a great option depending on where you stay in London. If you are staying along the Piccadilly line, the Underground is the best way to get from Heathrow to Central London. You won’t have to transfer, so it is very convenient. You will have to transfer if you aren’t staying along the Piccadilly line, but transferring is very easy even if you have bags to haul around.

The Underground is the most cost effective way to get to Central London from Heathrow airport. It only costs £6 if you purchase a standard ticket or £3-£5 if you use your Oyster card.

The downside to taking the Underground from Heathrow to Central London is that it takes a long time. It can take over an hour, and this may not be what you want to be doing right after a flight- especially if it is a long-haul international flight.

The Underground is very busy during peak hours, so you may want to consider what time you will be travelling into London when choosing if the Underground is right for you.

You May Want to Take the Underground to Central London If:

  • You are on a tight budget
  • The hotel you are staying at is along the Piccadilly line
  • You don’t have a time constraint
  • It is not during peak time

You May Want to Take a Different Transportation Method If:

  • You have to transfer multiple different times to get to where you are staying
  • It is during peak time and the Underground will be extremely busy
  • You have a tight schedule and need to get into the City quickly
  • There is a person is your group that has mobility that won’t be able to stand on the Underground if necessary or can’t walk through the the stations or climb stairs if necessary
London England United Kingdom How to get from Heathrow to Central London

2. Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express is a fast-paced train that goes directly from central Heathrow to Paddington station. Central Heathrow is considered terminals 2 and 3, so if you land at a different terminal, you will have to first go to central Heathrow then board the train.

The Heathrow Express only takes 15 minutes and is by far the fastest way to get to central London! It is quick, efficient, and comfortable.

This transportation method is great for people who are in a rush or are staying near Paddington station or along the Underground lines that services Paddington.

You are able to get on the Circle & District, Bakerloo, and Hammersmith and City lines at Paddington. If you are staying along any of those lines, you should consider taking the Heathrow Express.

The downside to the Heathrow Express is the price. It can cost up to £25 if you don’t purchase tickets in advance! That is a serious cost and is something you should consider before choosing this option. The price does decrease if you purchase your tickets in advance.

The lowest standard ticket price is £12, so you are only spending double what the Underground would cost. That is an easier price tag to handle than £25 so be sure to purchase your tickets online 90 days in advance if you know you want to take the Heathrow Express. It will save you a lot of money!

You May Want to Take the Heathrow Express to Paddington If:

  • It is important you get from Heathrow to Central London quickly
  • You don’t have a ticket budget and can spend the extra money
  • You are staying near Paddington or along an Underground line that services it
  • Someone in your party has mobility issues. There is ample space to store your luggage of the Heathrow Express and enough seats that you won’t have to stand

You May Want to Take a Different Transportation Option If:

  • You don’t have a time constraint
  • The Heathrow Express is not worth the extra expense
  • You would have to transfer multiple times on the Underground to get to where you are staying
London England United Kingdom Queen Victoria

3. National Express Bus

The third option is to take the National Express bus to Victoria Station. This is the least popular option, but it is still a great option. It costs £6-£10 depending on whether you purchase your tickets in advance or not. The price is comparable to taking the Underground, so it is another great option for travellers on a budget.

The bus drops you off at Victoria station, which is along the Piccadilly line. It is a great alternative for people staying along the Piccadilly line close to Victoria. The bus is a stress-free option. Your bags are under the bus, so you don’t have to worry about them, and you know you will have a seat and not have to stand.

The National Express, on average, takes approximately 10 minutes less than the Underground to get from Heathrow to Central London. This, of course, depends on the traffic. The bus can take much longer if there is a traffic jam or accident.

One of the downsides of the bus is that it leaves as designated times, so you may have to wait around a while until the next bus departs.

If you are purchasing tickets online, you should build time into your schedule to account for getting through immigration, picking up your luggage, and walking to where the buses depart. You should book your bus time for 45-60 after your plane lands to allow for this.

You May Want to Take the Bus to Central London If:

  • Your hotel is located near Victoria station or along the Piccadilly line
  • You enjoy the ease of not having to worry about your luggage and relaxing on the bus
  • Seeing the scenery is appealing to you
  • It is okay if you are delayed due to an unforeseeable delay on the roads

You May Want to Take a Different Transportation Option If:

  • You need to get from Heathrow to Central London quickly and can’t risk a traffic jam delaying your arrival
  • Your hotel is not along the Piccadilly line, and you would have to transfer multiple times on the Underground
  • Someone in your party gets sick on buses
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How to Get the Best Ticket Price

Once you have decided how you are going to get from Heathrow to Central London, you should figure out how to get the best deal on your transportation.

You should get an Oyster card if you are taking the Underground. The Oyster card can be purchased at Heathrow before you get on the Underground. You get a discounted rate when you use the Underground, and it can be used throughout your entire stay in London. Even if you aren’t taking the Underground from Heathrow to Central London, you should still get an Oyster card for your time in London. It will save you a lot of money!

You should purchase tickets in advance and purchase roundtrip tickets if you take the National Express bus or the Heathrow Express. There is always a reduced fare when you purchase a round-trip ticket, and tickets are normally cheaper the further in advance you purchase them.

It is worth spending a few minutes to figure out the most cost effective option for whatever mode of transportation you choose. It can save you a lot of money- especially if you have multiple people in your group. As stated earlier, you can save £13 on Heathrow Express tickets just by purchasing them 90 days in advance. That’s a huge savings!

St. Paul's Cathedral London England


All 3 methods of getting from Heathrow to Central London have their pros and cons. The Heathrow Express is the quickest and most expensive method. The Underground and bus are comparable in both time and expense and come down to your preference.

You should take into consideration what type of travel experience you want to have and what your priorities are. You can’t go wrong with any of the options, but there will be one that is more suited to you.

The location of your hotel should be a factor in what transportation method you take. You won’t save much time if you take the Heathrow Express to Paddington then have to spend 30 minutes on the Underground to get to your hotel.

Alternatively, it may be worth the extra money to take the Heathrow Express rather than the Underground or bus if you are staying near Paddington. You will save a lot of time, and it will be a lot more convenient than having to transfer on the Underground.

There is a lot to consider when choosing what transportation method is best for you. You should take the time to figure out what method is best for you, so you have a good experience and don’t have to haul your luggage around too many Underground stations.

It is really easy to get from Heathrow to Central London, but it is something you will want to figured out before you land in London. It will save you a lot of stress to have everything sorted before you land and tickets purchased in advance if need be.

Where to Stay in London, England

It can be difficult to decide where to stay in London. The city is huge, and there are sights to see in every neighbourhood.

Having a general idea of where to stay in London when booking your accommodation is a huge help. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the choices because there are so many great options to choose from.

My Favourite Neighbourhood

I always stay in Earls Court when I go to London. To me, it is the perfect London neighbourhood for tourists. It is along the Piccadilly line on the London Underground, so it has easy access to central London and Heathrow Airport.

Earls Court London transport zones 1 and 2, so you are charged the cheapest fare when travelling within zone 1 from Earls Court and charges a zone 2 fare when travelling to Heathrow. It is a great way to optimize your money while in London. Don’t forget to get an Oyster card to save money on public transportation in London!

Earls Court itself is a great neighbourhood. It is filled with great local places to eat, and it is far enough away from the centre of London that it isn’t busy.

The hotel prices in Earls Court are extremely reasonable for central London hotels. You can often book a room for $100-150/night.

You get the best of everything in Earls Court. It is central, less expensive than other neighbourhoods, safe, and is more relaxed and quiet than other neighbourhoods.

Earls Court is a great neighbourhood in the heart of London that also has a local, quiet feeling. You will love staying here on your next trip to London.

Great Earls Court Hotels

Stay Along the Piccadilly Line

If you don’t stay in Earls Court, I recommend staying along the Piccadilly line. The Piccadilly line basically runs diagonally through central London.

You are guaranteed to be staying in a central location if you get a hotel close to an Underground station on the Piccadilly line in transport zone 1.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a great area to stay in. It is very central and walking distance to nearly every major London tourist attraction. It is a smart neighbourhood, so it is generally more expensive than Earls Court.

This neighbourhood is filled with amazing parks, great pubs, and high-end shops. It is great for people who want an upscale trip to London without being in a super touristy area.

The Hyde Park area has a great combination of tourist attractions while not feeling overly touristy. You walk a few blocks away from the parks, and you start to feel like you are experiencing an authentic part of London.

Hyde Park London, England Where to Stay in London England

Great Hyde Park Hotels

Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square

The Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square area is the place to stay if you want to be in the heart of London’s tourist attractions. You won’t get an authentic London experience if you stay here because you will be surrounded by tourists and businesses.

This is a great location if you have a short time in London and want to walk everywhere, but it is quite expensive. You will be able to find lots of places to eat and do if you stay in this neighbourhood.

This location is right in thee heart of the West End theatre district, so it is prefect for people wanting to see a lot of shows while in town. You won’t have to worry about taking public transportation home because you will be able to walk.

Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square Hotels to Consider

West End Theatre London England Where to Stay in London England

King’s Cross/St. Pancras

King’s Cross is one of London’s busiest train stations. It has an Underground station as well as domestic and international trains departing from it. Just like Earl’s Court, it is on the edge of transport zone 1.

King’s Cross is close enough to the heart of London that getting around is easy, but it far enough away that it is quieter. It is still busier than Earl’s Court because of the major train station, but it is less busy than the Piccadilly area.

This is a great location for people that are taking early morning trains that leave from Kings Cross or the Eurostar to another part of Europe. It saves you a commute on the underground if your hotel is walking distance from the train station you depart from.

The Kings Cross area has a number of great restaurants. You can find both independently-owned restaurants as well as chains.

Kings Cross is my second choice for location behind Earl’s Court. It is the perfect mix of being close to tourist attractions while still being able to have some quiet.

Great Kings Cross Hotels

Victoria Station

Victoria station is another great location even though it is not located along the Piccadilly line. It has access to 3 Underground lines and is a busy coach (bus) terminal.

Victoria station is close to Westminster, so you can easily walk to the majority of central London’s most popular tourist sights. Since it is such an important transportation hub, you are guaranteed to find lots of great restaurants and coffee shops.

It is also a great location if you’re looking for a less expensive location in central London. The Victoria station area has prices similar to Earl’s Court, so it is a great location to get a great hotel in the middle of the city without paying as much as you would in the Piccadilly or Hyde Park areas. It is slightly more expensive than Earl’s Court, but you can normally find a good deal.

Great Victoria Area Hotels

St. James' Park London England Where to Stay in London England


London has an amazing transportation system. No matter where you stay you will be able to easily travel from place to place and sight to sight either by the Underground or the bus system.

If you choose to stay in one of the neighbourhoods I’ve suggested, you will be ideally stationed in the city to have easy access to all of the top sights London has to offer.

For a central hotel that still has an authentic London vibe and is relatively quiet, consider Earl’s Court or Kings Cross.

If you’re only in the city for a few days and want to walk to all the sights, Piccadilly/Leicester Square is the place for you.

People who are looking to stay in a high-end neighbour hood will love the Hyde Park neighbourhood.

London is an amazing city, and where you stay has an impact on what type of experience you have while on your vacation. No matter where you choose to stay be sure to research what the neighbourhood has to offer and explore it while you’re there.

5 Tips to Survive the London Underground

You will use the London Underground when you’re in London. It is incredibly efficient, and makes your trip so easy and efficient.

You can travel basically anywhere in London by using the Underground. If you’re travelling to certain far-away suburbs, you may have to use the Overground, but for the most part, the Underground will serve all of your transportation needs.

Using the London Underground is easy when you know what you are doing. These 5 London Underground tips will help you use the Underground like a local and save time and money in the process!

1. Get an Oyster Card

Getting an Oyster card is essential. This card allows you to tap in and out of the London Underground without having to purchase a ticket each time. You pre-load the card with money, and your card is deduced every time you use the Underground. The card can be re-loaded with money at any station if needed.

You can purchase an Oyster card when you land at the airport, or you can get your Oyster mailed to your home in advance. You have to purchase your Oyster card at a ticket window. But after your initial purchase, you can use the machines to top it up.

There is an option to purchase a Visitor Oyster card. The Visitor card has to be ordered before you leave with enough time for it to be mailed to you. You get a number of discounts if you purchase the visitor Oyster. So you will want to review the discounts to see if pre-buying the visitor Oyster is beneficial to you.

You have to pay a £5 deposit when you get your Oyster card. This is refundable if you return your card when you leave the city. You can get a refund for any money on your card if you return your card when you leave. If you don’t return your card, the money stays on the card, and you are able to use it next time you visit London.

Benefits of using an Oyster card:

  • You don’t need to purchase a ticket for each trip.
  • It save you money by giving you a reduced fee each time your ride. You save £2.50 per ride on average when you use the Oyster card.
  • Your daily fee is capped. After you spend a certain amount of money on the London Underground in a single day, you are not charged anymore.

2. Avoid Peak Hours

It costs more to ride the London Underground during peak hours. You save approximately 50 pence each trip when you ride during off-peak times.

Peak-hours are different depending on whether you have a visitor Oyster card or a regular Oyster card.

For people using the visitor card, peak times are between 6:30 and 9:30am and 4 and 7pm. All day on weekends and Bank holidays are considered peak as well.

Peak times are the same for a regular Oyster card; however, weekends are not considered peak times.

That means you may end up paying more if you choose to get a Visitor card rather than a regular Oyster.

Avoiding the London Underground during peak times will also make for a more comfortable journey. The Underground gets very busy during peak times, so it will be very crowded, and you will have no personal space. It can be an uncomfortable ride- especially if you are going a long distance. You can have a less crowded and more enjoyable ride when you ride the London Underground during non-peak hours.

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3. Know Your Platform

When you go down to the Underground platform, there will be two different platforms to choose from. The platforms have trains going in the opposite direction of one another, so be sure you know what platform you need.

You can tell what platform you need by reading the signs at the entrance to the platforms. These signs list what stations each train stops at. You need to find your station then go to the corresponding platform.

London Underground Bonus Tip:

You will most likely enter the platform in the middle, but you should move all the way down to the end. The end of the platform is always the least busy, so you will have fewer people in your car then you would if you go onto a car in the middle of the platform. This is especially helpful during peak times.

London England United Kingdom 5 Tips to Survive the London Underground

4. Stand on the Right

If you’re going to stand on the escalator, always stand on the right. People walk on the left-hand side of the escalator, and they will ask you to move to the right if you are standing on the left.

London is a fast-paced city, and people regularly walk up the escalator. So please stand on the right in a single-file line. You will make the locals so much happier because you will be one less tourist they need to ask to move.

It can be easy to forgot to stand only on the right if you come from a society where it is acceptable to stand on both sides of the escalator. You should watch what the locals are doing and follow their lead. You may not thing this is a great tip, but it is. Trust me.

St. Paul's Cathedral London England 5 Tips to Survive the London Underground

5. Consider Walking

You should consider walking if you are going from one place in central London to another. The London Underground is great, but it is sometimes quicker to walk than to take the Underground.

I suggest walking if you’re in central London, and the place you are going is less than 3-4 stations away. The distance between stations is often short, so walking the equivalent can mean only having to walk 5 or so blocks.

Westminster station and Leicester Square station look like they are far apart on the London Underground map. However, they are only a 10 minute walk away from one another. You can easily walk from one station to the other in less time than it would take to use the Underground.

You get to see more of London and save money when you walk rather than take the Underground. If you plan your days strategically, you can walk to most places rather than take the Underground from sight to sight.

London England United Kingdom 5 Tips to Survive the London Underground


You will use the London Underground when you are in London. There is no way around using it, so you should know how to ride the Underground efficiently and like a local.

Getting an Oyster card is the most important thing you need to do when riding the London Underground. You also need to know how to save money by walking and not riding at peak times.

If you know where you are going and what platform you need, you have a stress-free experience on the Underground and seamlessly blend in with the locals.

It is easy to ride the London Underground even if you have never used public transportation before. Each station has clearly marked signs, and employees can help you if you have questions.

You should pick up a free paper London Underground map, so you can easily plan your journey before you go down into the station. This will help you easily navigate where you need to go without getting in anybody’s way.

The London Underground is great, and I know you will have no troubles figuring it out!