Should you be planning a London break or business trip any time soon and you’re flying in and due to arrive at Heathrow Airport, you’re going to have to travel to the city itself – yes, Heathrow isn’t in London; it’s nearly 20 miles due west, in fact.
But the good news is that, as you may have expected, you’re not short of travel options. One of the most popular choices is Overground rail – the Heathrow Express – which can take little more than 15 minutes. That said, it can work out to be a costly choice, especially if you’re attempting to travel on a budget. Cheaper is to take to the open road – a bus or coach is a fairly cheap option, but very time consuming (it’s likely to take around an hour-and-a-half or more), as is renting a car, which would mean you’d have to drive yourself, of course (and who really wants to do that?).
So, unless you choose to stay near the airport itself (at accommodation like, say, the BW Plus Park Grand London Heathrow hotel), your best and cheapest option is to take a train on the London Underground (Tube) network. Primarily operating throughout the capital, the Tube stretches beyond the city limits in some instances – and one of those instances is to ferry weary travellers to and from Heathrow on the ‘dark blue’ Piccadilly line (so named because it passes through Piccadilly Circus Tube station, which is handy for those looking to stay in the centre of town, given it’s slap-bang in the middle).
Travel times and stations
Usually, the journey from Heathrow to Piccadilly Circus (or nearby stations) takes just under an hour by Tube; travellers shouldn’t have to wait longer than 10 minutes between Tube trains at any of the Heathrow stops either, even outside of peak-time. Speaking of the airport’s different stops, you’ll find there are three separate stations – a single one shared by Terminals 2 and 3; while one each for Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 (Terminal 1 is no longer operational).
The stations for Terminals 4 and 5 are each located beneath their respective terminals, while the Terminal 2 and 3 station is located underground again, but between the two terminals – it can be reached via a pedestrian subway that takes a few minutes to walk along.
Be aware that, for obvious reasons, departure and arrival times on the Tube are subject to change and without notice. However, you can stay up to date with the latest times via a variety of clever downloadable apps and by visiting the official website of Transport for London (the body that runs the city’s public transport).
It’s definitely worth noting, though, that the Piccadilly line now runs for 24 hours (which, yes, means right through the night) on Fridays into Saturdays and Saturdays into Sundays. However, while this service is available for trains departing the Terminals 2 and 3 and Terminal 5 stations, it’s presently not available for the Terminal 4 station.