Tips on Traveling from Heathrow Airport to Central London

London Heathrow Airport's Terminal Five.
Jon Arnold / Getty Images

Located 15 miles to the west of London, Heathrow (LHR) is one of the world's busiest international airports. Luckily, if you need to travel into Central London from Heathrow Airport, there are several different options ranging from private car-hire to public transportation. 

Taking the Tube to Central London From Heathrow Airport

The Piccadilly Line connects all Heathrow terminals (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) to central London via a direct service. Services run frequently (every few minutes) between around 5 a.m. and midnight (approximately) Monday to Saturday, and from around 6 a.m. to midnight (approximately) on Sundays and public holidays. All of the airport stations are in Zone 6 (central London is zone 1.) London Underground provides one of the cheapest ways to travel to and from Heathrow Airport but the journey takes longer than other options. 

Duration: 45 minutes (Heathrow Terminal 1-3 to Hyde Park Corner)  

Taking Heathrow Express to Central London From Heathrow Airport

The Heathrow Express is the quickest way to travel into central London. Heathrow Express runs from terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 to Paddington station. Trains depart around every 15 minutes and tickets can be bought on board (although you'll pay more for the fare than purchasing a ticket in advance). Travelcards and Oyster pay as you go rates are not valid on Heathrow Express. 

Duration: 15 minutes

Taking Heathrow Connect to Central London From Heathrow Airport also runs a train service between Heathrow Airport and Paddington station via five intermediate stations in West London. Tickets are cheaper than the Heathrow Express fares as the journey takes longer. Services run every 30 minutes (every 60 minutes on Sundays). Tickets cannot be bought on board and must be purchased in advance. Oyster pay as you go and Zone 1–6 Travelcards are only valid for travel between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington.

Duration: 48 minutes

Top Tip: If you're waiting for a train from Paddington on a Friday, and are in the area before midday, you might like to take a 5-minute stroll to see the Rolling Bridge.

Taking the Bus to Central London From Heathrow Airport

National Express runs a bus service between Heathrow Airport and Victoria Station every 15-30 minutes at peak times from terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5. Travelers departing from Terminals 4 or 5 will need to change at terminals 2 and 3. 

Duration: 55 minutes from terminal 2 and 3. Journeys take longer from terminals 4 and 5 as passengers need to change at terminals 2 and 3. 

The N9 night bus offers a service between Heathrow Airport and Aldwych and runs every 20 minutes throughout the night. The fare can be paid for by Oyster card making it the cheapest way to travel between Heathrow Airport and central London although the journey can take as long as 90 minutes. Use Journey Planner to check times.

Duration: Between 70 and 90 minutes

Taking a Taxi to Central London From Heathrow Airport

You can usually find a line of black cabs outside each terminal or go to one of the approved taxi desks. The fares are metered, but watch out for extra charges such as late night or weekend journey fees. Tipping is not compulsory, but 10% is considered the norm.

Duration: Between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on traffic