- WHERE TO STAY
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- CRUISE PORTS
Paddington is a major transport hub in central London for those arriving from Heathrow Airport or the West of England and South Wales by train.
Situated in the northwestern corner of the centre of London it is a major hotel district with accommodation available from hostels, bed and breakfasts, mid-range hotels and luxury 4-5-star hotels.
National Express also run a direct airport bus service to/from Stansted Airport. There is no direct public transport to the other London airports, these require a change and interconnection somewhere along the route.
When looking for hotels in Paddington you will want to work out where your accommodation is in relation to the station. A lot of the hotels in Paddington are easily walked to from the main Paddington rail and underground station. You can also walk from Lancaster Gate Underground station. It is then up to you to choose how close to the station you would like to be.
Another essential travel plan is to start to understand the basics of using London's public transport. As London is a busy city you will most likely be using London's public transport to get around London during your visit. We have a dedicated page for you to find out more about Oyster card and other travelcard options.
Paying single fares for every trip is expensive, inconvenient and time consuming. You will need to purchase a London transport pass of one kind or another. You will also save yourself a lot of time and money purchasing the right pass before you get to your hotel, especially if London’s public transport forms part of your transfer plans.
Heathrow is probably the only airport where the cost of a taxi transfer into London is worth considering. For most leisure travellers this can come within most transfer budgets. But the Heathrow Express is much faster, cheaper and more reliable than a taxi. It is then a question of how large a group you are, and the amounts of luggage involved. Which day and the time of day you will be travelling in London also affects taxi transfer times, as London does get congested during rush hours.
The only direct transport to any airport or cruise port from Paddington is the Heathrow Express and TFL Rail Heathrow trains to Heathrow.
Four separate Underground lines pass through Paddington Station, plus there is Lancaster Gate Underground on the Central Line. These will soon get you to an airport transfer point if you are not using the Heathrow Express or TFL Rail Heathrow trains.
The Underground runs every couple of minutes between 5.30am and midnight and buses run 24/7. If you have an early or late flight, many night buses that run when the Underground is closed will get you to Marble Arch from Paddington. From here there are 24/7 airport buses to Stansted and Luton airports.
The number 36 bus runs 24/7 to Victoria Station where there is a near 24/7 train service to Gatwick Airport. The number 27 bus that runs 24/7 from Paddington, stops at Hammersmith where you can get the N9 night bus to Heathrow Airport.
Most hotels would like you to leave your room by lunchtime. This can be a problem if you have luggage and a late afternoon or evening flight. However, if your hotel does not offer a left luggage service, then most of the main train stations in Central London do. Also, all of the airports passenger terminals have manned left luggage desks.
Unfortunately, the same company, The Excess Baggage Company, runs all of the left luggage offices at both airports and train stations. This means there is no competition and as a result prices can be high. If you need to use this service we recommend searching for the Excess Baggage Company website and check current prices, opening hours and for any special offers.
There is another alternative to left luggage offices where you can make use of all your available time, rather than just hanging around before your flight. The historic town of Windsor is just outside of London and very close to Heathrow Airport.
We offer a layover tour service where you are picked up by a vehicle from your London Euston hotel and taken to Windsor. There is so much more to Windsor than the castle. It would take a couple of days to see everything. Eton College, Runnymede, Legoland, river trips, walks through the Royal Parks and of course Windsor has just hosted the Royal wedding between Harry and Meghan.
You are taken to Windsor from your hotel and left to explore independently, leaving your luggage safely with the vehicle. You will already have agreed a time when the vehicle will return with your luggage for the 15-20-minute journey to Heathrow Airport. Gatwick is an hour away.
A key aspect to this service is that you do not pay any waiting time as the company offering the service is based in Windsor, so it is the same cost whether you stay 3-hours or 10-hours in Windsor.
This is a private service, you set the times and the vehicles can range from cars to 50 seat touring coaches. So, if you want to make the most of your time in London even on your departure day then click the link below to learn more.
Windsor layover tours - late flight solution
The London Underground from Heathrow changing at Earl's Court using an Oyster or Travelcard offers the cheapest option.
Journey times are about an hour. We must warn you, the London Underground is very busy most of the day so be prepared for crowded carriages. You may not get a seat and find it difficult to find a space for your luggage, plus keep in mind you'll be dragging your cases up escalators and long corridors.
» Find out more about the London Underground.
» See our guide for comparison - Oyster or Travelcard?
The Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station is the fastest, most comfortable option, which is two or three times faster than any taxi. The Heathrow Express trains run every 15 minutes and take only 15 minutes to reach Paddington station.
There is a much cheaper, less publicised airport train called TFL Rail Heathrow (previously called the Heathrow Connect) that is not as frequent and makes stops along the same route as the Heathrow Express, so will take slightly longer to reach Paddington. You can also get off the TFL Rail Heathrow train at Ealing Broadway station, that has a direct Underground link to Lancaster Gate.
You’ll know you have arrived in London when you see its famous black cabs form the taxi rank outside each terminal at Heathrow.
Journey times will be between 45 and 75 minutes depending on traffic conditions. Road congestion delays are routine Monday to Friday between 6.30am and 10am going into London and between 3pm and 7pm coming out of London on work days. Additionally, going into London on Sundays from about 3pm until mid-evening will be congested.
London black taxis are on the expensive side. Much cheaper licenced private cars offer an alternative and also perform Meet n Greet as you exit customs. For a small family, a private car may be much cheaper than using the Heathrow Express train.
For groups of 6 or more a private charter bus is worth considering. Vehicles from 8 seats to 50 seats are available, offering a door to door service between airport terminal and hotel. For larger groups, it's always cheaper as you get a low cost per passenger.
The cheapest option from Gatwick into London is by bus. National Express runs a full-size bus from Gatwick airport to Victoria Coach Station, easyBus run a small van type bus to West Brompton Underground, both with direct London Underground services to Paddington.
Journey time is typically around 90 minutes which is at least double the journey time of the train alternative.
The Gatwick Express to Victoria Station is the dedicated airport train for which you pay a significant premium to the slower alternative Southern Trains. These use the same tracks but as these are commuter trains, they will make several stops and take longer.
From Victoria, the Underground runs direct to Paddington, a taxi is an option from the station but takes longer.
For groups of 12 or more a private charter bus is worth considering. Vehicles from 8 seats to 50 seats are available offering a door to door service between airport terminal and hotel. For larger groups you get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a personalised door to door service.
Travelling into central London by vehicle is a frustrating option - there are no fast road links. It’s usually a slow, stop, start endurance test, often with added road congestion delays. Unless you are a sizable group, its much faster, cheaper and more comfortable if you get the train to Victoria, then take a taxi from there.
The cheapest option to travel from Stansted into the Paddington area of London is by bus. National Express run a direct service between Stansted and Paddington and the journey takes about an hour, depending on traffic.
Stansted Express is the dedicated airport train at a premium for the speed, frequency and comfort. The only caveat is the Liverpool Street terminus which is in the other side of central London from Paddingtonn, 20-min away with tube.
For groups of 8 or more a private charter bus is worth considering. Vehicles from 8 seats to 50 seats are available offering a door to door service between airport terminal and hotel. For larger groups you get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a personalised door to door service.
Stansted is a long way outside of London, about 40 miles from Paddington. At peak hours during working days there will be road congestion, delays and the distance means the price will not be cheap. Stansted private cars with meet 'n greet as you exit customs at Stansted are also available.
The cheapest option from Luton into London is bus. National Express run a cheap and frequent 24/7 bus service that terminates at London Victoria.
For Paddington, you get off at either Baker Street or Marble Arch, less than a mile from Paddington. Night buses run between both Baker Street and Marble Arch to Paddington all night so there is no issue if you have a very early or late flight.
Luton train is not a dedicated airport train but a commuter train instead. From the airport, you will need to take a 5-min free shuttle bus to Luton Parkway Station for the train and when in central London, get off at St Pancras Station.
From St Pancras Station, a direct London Underground link takes you to Paddington. This last leg of your journey takes approx 10 minutes.
For groups of 8 or more, you can consider a private charter bus. Vehicles from 8 seats to 50 seats are available offering a door to door service between airport terminal and hotel. For larger groups you get a low cost per passenger, as well as the convenience.
Luton is a long way out of London, about 35 miles from Paddington. At peak hours during working days there will be road congestion, delays and the distance means the price will not be cheap. Luton private cars with meet n greet as you exit customs at Luton are also available.
From City Airport the DLR interconnects with the London Underground at Canning Town, where you can take the Jubilee Line of the Underground to Baker Street, two stops from Paddington on another Circle or District Line train.
For Lancaster Gate get off the Jubilee Line train at Bond Street where the Central Line interconnects for Lancaster Gate. .
The only viable public transport between Southend Airport and central London are the regular commuter trains that terminate at London's Liverpool Street Station.
The Circle Line and Central Line of the London Underground connect directly between Liverpool Street and Paddington and Lancaster Gate respectively.
The cheapest option on paper is to take public transport. The cheapest options are the National Express buses that terminate at Victoria Coach Station. The alternative, trains from Waterloo to Southampton are much faster and unlike the buses, luggage is only limited by the amount you can carry onboard.
It is possible to get to Southampton by train from Paddington Station. You will need to change trains at least once though.
There are 4 cruise terminals at Southampton, you will need to take a short taxi ride between Southampton Bus or Rail Station to your cruise terminal.
A dedicated cruise bus operates in each direction between Southampton and Central London connecting with individual cruise ships. It is a door to door service with drop offs at the hotels in Paddington and pick-ups from many of the hotels in Paddington. There should be one close by to your hotel.
Price is competitive even against public transport, especially when you factor in the taxi transfers either end with public transport. There is also a much more relaxed luggage policy.
Full day guided tour transfers between Southampton and Paddington hotels are available visiting world-class attractions like Stonehenge and Windsor Castle.
London to Southampton Cruise Bus
Southampton to London Cruise Bus
Southampton is a 2-hr drive from Paddington by private vehicle. Vehicles from cars to large buses are available to charter, either direct or stopping off somewhere along the way - Windsor Castle and Stonehenge are the most popular stops.
The cheapest option is to take public transport. The cheapest public transfer options are the National Express buses that terminate at Victoria Coach Station. The alternative trains from London Victoria to Dover are much faster and unlike the buses luggage is only limited by the amount you can carry on-board.
A dedicated cruise bus operates in each direction between Dover and Central London connecting with individual cruise ships. It is a door to door service with drops at hotels in Paddington and pick-ups from many hotels in Paddington, so there will be one close by your hotel.
Price is competitive even against public transport, especially when you factor in the taxi transfer costs at either end of your public transport journey. There is also a much more relaxed luggage policy.
The London to Dover cruise bus picks up at Paddington hotels and will be at your cruise terminal around lunch time with an optional visit to Dover Castle available.
The Dover to London cruise bus service has a choice of a direct van shuttle or two tour transfer options, one visiting Leeds Castle and Canterbury the other visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour with hotel drop offs in the late afternoon/early evening.
Dover is 2-hrs drive from Paddington by private vehicle. Vehicles from cars to large buses are available to charter either direct or stopping off somewhere along the way, Canterbury and Dover Castle are the most popular stops. Find out more about private vehicles Dover to/from London.