Review: London's Heathrow Express

Review: London's Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express isn't the cheapest way to get from London's Heathrow Airport into the city, but it's the fastest and is wonderfully hassle-free.

The trip from Heathrow to Paddington station takes about 15 minutes, with trains running every 15 minutes. There's one station at Heathrow's T5 terminal for British Airways flights; another for the T1, T2 and T3 terminal trio, and from there a connection to T4.

And once you leave Heathrow it’s a straight run through to Paddington station for connecting to both regional and city underground lines.

Although you can purchase Heathrow Express tickets on board the train it’s cheaper to buy them on arrival at the airport’s
Heathrow Express ticket counter...

... or head to one of the ticket machines if there's a queu at the desk.

Note that the popular Oyster cards can't be used on the Heathrow Express.

Read: Travelling to London? Grab an Oyster Card for the Tube and buses

A one-way ticket in the economy Express carriages costs £21 (A$38), or £34 (A$62) with a return ticket that's valid for three months. Each of those tickets cost an extra £5 if bought on the train.

The carriages are modern, quiet and comfortable.

And as you'd expect, each carriage has dedicated areas to store your luggage.

The Heathrow Express also includes several swish 'Business First' carriages.

These boast a slightly wider seat with more legroom, and arranged in a 1-1 layout.

But at £29 for a single trip and £52 for a return ticket, we’re hard-pressed to see the value over the short span of a 15 minute trip.

The standard carriages have ample leg room, as long as nobody is crammed in front of you.

There are also AC and USB power sockets to give your laptop, phone or tablet a quick top-up.

On the train there’s free WiFi so you can grab your email or check your hotel booking.

But before you know it, you're pulling into Paddington station where the Heathrow Express runs from platforms 6 and 7.

If you walk straight ahead you'll find the entrance to the Paddington Underground station. This covers several Tube lines including the Bakerloo, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines.

Alternatively, turn left after the Great Western Rail information booth and veer right up the roadway ramp – just look for the line of smokers flaking left and right of the road – onto Praed Street to catch a taxi.

Paddington also boasts several handily-located hotels including the Hotel Indigo (my favourite boutique bolt-hole in London), the Hilton and the Mercure.

If you’re just breaking a long stopover in London with a day-trip to the city, consider hopping a bus from the Praed Street stop – it's to your left, just past the Mercure Hotel and McDonalds.

I find the #7 and #23 services are most useful for heading into the very heart of the city. One tap of your Oxyter card and you're away.

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

16 comments

  • Robert Hollow

    RobH

    25 Jun, 2014 12:47 pm

    Thanks for the hnady review, agrees with my perception of the heathrow Express. I'd also recommend the Hotel Indigo, always had great service there. The Mercure is fine too. Either make a handy London location especially if you have day or business trips to Oxford or West incl southern Wales. 

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  • LoveToFly

    LoveToFly

    25 Jun, 2014 12:50 pm

    Nice review David, Will be using the train in a few weeks

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    25 Jun, 2014 01:19 pm

    Can I suggest your try Heathrow Connect?

    Its a similar service but one that is not marketed to non-locals. 

    Its considerably cheaper but takes slightly longer (it stops at a few more stations). 

    Heathrow Express cost GBP 21.00 one way. Heathrow Connect cost only GBP 9.90 one way (53% cheaper)

    As advertised, it takes 15 mins on Heathrow Express and 26 mins on Heathrow Connect. (42% longer).

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  • LoveToFly

    LoveToFly

    25 Jun, 2014 02:01 pm

    Thanks TheRealBabushka for the information

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  • RobL

    RobL

    25 Jun, 2014 02:46 pm

    Also worth noting the Heathrow Connect only runs every 30 mins and then only between Heathrow Central and Paddington (with intermediate stops). Access to and from T4 and T5 is still free via the Heathrow Express.

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  • ExLibris76

    ExLibris76

    25 Jun, 2014 03:12 pm

    TRB, Are there also luggage racks on Heathrow Connect and also, is it generally crowded from Heathrow terminals? I've only ever used Heathrow Express, and loads never seem more than 50% whenever I've used it.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    25 Jun, 2014 03:24 pm

    There are luggage racks on Heathrow Connect, at least the last time I used it.

    I find that it doesn't get too crowded, although not as sparse as Heathrow Express.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    25 Jun, 2014 05:16 pm

    I dare all of you to use the Piccadilly Line.

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  • qfflyer

    qfflyer

    25 Jun, 2014 07:10 pm

    I did! What a laugh it was. 

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  • SunniiGym

    SunniiGym

    25 Jun, 2014 10:56 pm

    I may have made that mistake.

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  • Joshb

    Joshb

    25 Jun, 2014 05:25 pm

    Worth noting that the first service on Sundays is at about 6.30am (well it was when I was there in March this year) therefore you will have to find alternatives if you get there for your 7.30am flight at 5.45am.... A 75 pound black cab later and all was resolved.

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  • Jason

    cooper81

    25 Jun, 2014 07:16 pm

    I use the Heathrow Express weekly and have generally found it provides the most stress free journey to the airport.

    However....the past two or three months i've had several poor experiences on the service mainly down to prolonged industrial action by the Heathrow Express drivers. Their industrial action is sporadic and is usually over a couple different dates each month.  The service operates a reduced service during these days and some trains that should go to T5 are re-routed to T4 - in one case I experienced recently without notification which was a nightmare.

    Before using the service make sure you check the 'service update' on their website.

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  • Jason

    cooper81

    25 Jun, 2014 07:18 pm

    Also a quick tip if you are rushing for the train and don't have time to buy a (cheaper) ticket before boarding.  When you jump on the train use your smartphone to log onto the heathrow express website using the free wifi and buy your ticket online which is at the cheaper rate.  It's a very quick process and takes seconds from the mobile website or app.

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  • mitchimus

    mitchimus

    25 Jun, 2014 09:11 pm

    I like the Heathrow Express. Sometimes like to take the slowww train (aka Piccadilly Line) into town for something different. Agree that the Hotel Indigo at Paddington is great. The one at Earls Court isn't to bad either. 

    Amazing that the local rail line to Heathrow (Piccadilly) doesn't cost any more than the regular tube price, unlike the extortionate amount charged by the rubbish the Sydney airport link. 

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  • LoveToFly

    LoveToFly

    26 Jun, 2014 11:44 am

    Exactly mitchimus, Its such a price difference in Sydney

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  • simmonad

    simmonad

    28 Jun, 2014 06:47 pm

    HX may indeed not be the cheapest way fro LHR into London, but at least passengers have a choice, unlike at SYD. Moreover, the cost of catching the ordinary commuter train from SYD into the CBD works out more per km than HX! I have never come across a major airport anywhere in the world where passengers are forced to pay a 400% premium for a non-premium service and where no cheaper alternative is provided. I am astonished that the NSW government/TfNSW has allowed the airport operator at SYD to get away with such daylight robbery. 

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23 May, 2019 04:00 am

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