Paddington Train Station London
What To Expect - A Visitors Guide To London Paddington Station
Paddington Train Station is situated in the north-west section of Central London, just north of Hyde Park and about 1km from Oxford Street.
For the visitor to London flying into Heathrow, Paddington is significant as the central London Terminus of the Paddington Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect train services. These trains are the most comfortable and speedy transfer into London.
Paddington Station also provides the main train services from London to South Wales and South-west England to places like Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Swansea.
Four London Underground lines run through Paddington, including the Circle Line connecting Paddington with other London mainline train stations, Euston, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Marylebone and Victoria.
Paddington is not the largest of London's mainline stations, its about 7th in terms of passenger numbers handled, but this still amounts to 30 million people a year passing through.
Paddington has 14 terminal platforms, numbered 1 to 14. Trains are split between the Heathrow trains, the long distance inter-city trains and suburban commuter lines. The Heathrow and long distance trains leave from under the main span of the impressive glazed roof, on platforms 1 to 8
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Paddington Railway Station Facilities
There is the normal shops and kiosks you would associate with a major rail station. There are countless outlets offering most snack foods from Burger King through baguettes, pizza's, pastries to bars and restaurants offering more substantial fayre.
There is a branch of Boots chemists and of course a choice of newsagents and money exchange facilities.
There is also a small supermarket.
Toilets / Showers: There are of course public toilets with baby changing facilities, a small charge is made. You will also find showers available at the same location.
Excess Baggage Company Left Luggage
Left Luggage: There is a manned left luggage office run by the Excess Baggage Company. The Excess Baggage Company run all the left luggage facilities in London's stations and also Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. You can search for their web site for current charges and opening hours.
Telecommunications, Trolleys: There are of course phone booths and WiFi is provided by private operators that charge for the facility. There are also luggage trolleys which you need a 1 pound coin to operate. The coin is refunded when you return the trolley to a luggage trolley bay.
There are photo booth machines if you require a passport size photo for any reason.
Taxi, Buses and Underground: The taxi rank is by Platform 1 and there is always a line of London's famous black cabs waiting. Behind the cab rank are local bus stops to all over London.
Escalators down to the Underground Station are from within the railway station.
Paddington Underground Station
Although shown on the London Underground map as a single station, Paddington's 4 Underground lines all have separate histories and are not the integrated single station they would be if they were designed from scratch today. From a passengers perspective it makes little difference, all are directly accessible from the train station and are clearly waymarked.
We have a dedicated page to using and buying tickets on the London Underground system.
The London Underground runs every couple of minutes between about 5:30 a.m. and midnight. When the Underground is closed there is a good night bus network from outside the station that will get you to most places in Central London.
Map Of Underground Links Between Paddington & Main London Transport Gateways
Purchasing Train Tickets
The full train timetable and fares available are available from 3 months before departure.
As a general rule of thumb for journeys of around an hour or so there is no financial advantage in pre purchasing, you may as well buy at the station on day of travel.
For longer journeys, advance purchase fares offer great savings and it really is worth making the effort. Buying a ticket on the day for a long inter city train journey often results in ticket prices that are eye watering.
The three types of tickets are broadly :
Paddington Station Ticket Collection Machine
Anytime: Buy any time, travel any time.
Anytime fares are fully flexible tickets, with no time restrictions on when you can travel. With an Anytimeticket you can also break your journey at stations along the route of travel. For short journeys in the London area you normally get the same fare as if you booked in advance. For long inter-city fares, buying tickets like this can be very, very expensive.
Off Peak: Buy any time, travel off-peak.
these tickets may require you to travel at specific times of day, days of the week or on a specific route. Where there is more than one Off-Peak fare for a journey, the cheaper fare with more restrictions will be called Super Off-Peak. The times that constitute off-peak are very variable, there can even be different times for off-peak between the same stations in different directions.
Advance Purchase: Buy in advance
Sold in limited numbers and subject to availability. These tickets are only valid on the date/train specified. For longer journeys these tickets can be a real bargain.
Purchasing Train Tickets In Advance From Overseas
For longer distance trains, travelling by rail can be very expensive purchasing standard fares, often more expensive than flying. Advance purchase tickets on these longer distances on the other hand can be bargains.
Heathrow Connect Train
For the overseas visitor this can present problems as there are with few exceptions no true e-tickets delivered by email at present. Tickets can be sent to your home address for a fee, they should arrive within 7 working days. You can however order tickets on-line and pick up the tickets from machines at key mainline stations including Paddington.
Note, most trains are only confirmed up to 3 months in advance. So if you search for a journey further ahead than 3 months you may well get an incomplete picture of available schedules and tickets.
Heathrow Express & Heathrow Connect Trains
A good proportion of visitors to the UK using Paddington Station will be doing so arriving on one of the airport trains from Heathrow into Paddington. The Heathrow Express is the train that gets all the marketing, but the Heathrow Connect is worth being aware off, especially if you are watching the budget.
The Heathrow Express is simply the fastest, most comfortable and reliable way to get between Heathrow Airport and Central London. The only good reason for many people not to use it, is the price of tickets.
The Heathrow Connect is less frequent, especially on Sundays, seats are closer together and unlike the Heathrow Express the Heathrow Connect makes stops along the way so it is slightly slower. But tickets are dramatically cheaper than the Heathrow Express.