- WHERE TO STAY
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- CRUISE PORTS
There is a choice of public transport options from Heathrow to Western England and South Wales including the main cities of Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Exeter and Plymouth.
The broad choice for the traveller is between cheaper, less frequent coaches, or a train option that although faster doesn't come direct to Heathrow, requiring a connecting bus, unlike the coach service.
For the train you will transfer onto a RailAir link coach that shuttles between Reading and Heathrow.
This saves you having to travel into London only to catch a train that doubles back passing a few miles north of Heathrow Airport.
National Express coaches run direct services from Heathrow to many of the major cities like Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Plymouth and Exeter.
If you are a group or can put a small group together (groups can be anything from 2 to 200!) then it can work out cheaper to hire a private car or charter bus.
The main rail route from London to the west country and South Wales passes about 5 miles north of Heathrow.
So as to avoid having to trek all the way into London to catch these trains there is a RailAir bus that shuttles between Heathrow and Reading. Your rail ticket can include the RailAir bus.
At Heathrow the RailAir bus only picks up at Terminal 5 and the Central Bus Station between Terminals 2 and 3. From Terminal 4 you can take the Heathrow Express train that runs every 15 minutes over to Heathrow Central which is below the Bus Station. The bus sets passengers down at Terminals 2, 3 and 5, not 4.
Frequencies are broadly every 20 to 30 minutes, the journey time is scheduled at under one hour but the motorway used is prone to traffic congestion delays at peak times.
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.
Only on the main trunk routes are there reserved seats, most services you just grab the first available seat you like the look off. The three types of tickets are broadly:
Advance Purchase: Buy in advance, sold in limited numbers and subject to availability. These tickets will have restrictions specified when purchasing.
Off Peak: Buy any time, travel off-peak. The definition of off peak can vary from ticket to ticket. 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.
Anytime: Buy any time, travel any time. (The standard ticket.) Anytime fares are fully flexible tickets, with no time restrictions on when you can travel.
Advance purchase tickets on these longer distances on the other hand can be bargains. The cheap tickets are normally released 3 months prior to your departure date and the best deals often sell out quickly.
Now Trainline have released e-tickets together with mobile tickets options for purchasing from overseas are better than ever before. You can even book on behalf of someone else.
Trainline state that more fares are released on their app than are available at the ticket machine - you so you get more choice too! E-tickets are sent as a PDF attachment, and you have flexibility to use straight from your phone, or for reassurance, you can print off a hard copy.
Mobile tickets are available on iOS and android phones and you can use directly through the Trainline website or the Trainline app.
You can also order tickets online and pick up the tickets from machines at key mainline stations including Heathrow Airport.
At train stations there are manned ticket offices and also ticket machines. All major credit cards are taken as well as cash.
For fares and timetables use the 'Trainline' website where you can also order tickets for delivery to your home address.
Book in advance and save money on your train journey
• UK buses • Eurostar • Virgin trains
National Express offers direct services to most major cities in Western England and South Wales bypassing London all together.
Tickets are sold as e-tickets, so you buy them in advance, online; visitors from overseas can pay by credit card and have their tickets delivered by email in a couple of minutes.
Most journeys will be far cheaper than train, especially if you get a return ticket. However frequencies are not as good and journey times are normally longer.
Cheapest promotional fares are available online in advance. Normally a return fare is much, much cheaper than two single fares.
When you purchase a ticket for a National Express service it is for a single stated departure time. You do not get an individual seat number, but you are guaranteed a seat.
It is recommended booking a service at least 90 minutes after the scheduled arrival time of your flight. So what happens if your flight is late? There is a range of ticket types available. Like airlines, the cheapest fares are no refund, no changes, you pay more for a fare that you can change schedule or get a refund if you change your mind.
You can carry two medium-sized suitcases - weighing up to 20kg (44lb) each - plus one small piece of hand luggage per person. Drivers loading the baggage do not weigh bags.
Customers will be permitted to pool their individual allowances if they are travelling in a group or as a family, but they must be travelling on the same ticket.
Over this allowance and steep excess luggage charges kick in. Passengers within the luggage allowance get boarded first, those with excess luggage only get boarded if there is sufficient space left in the luggage hold, even if they have purchased a ticket.
Click on banner link below to take you to the National Express website for more details for charges for extra baggage.
All coaches from and to Heathrow stop at Heathrow Bus Station between Terminals 2 and 3. Some coaches will stop also at Terminals 4 and 5 on the other side of the airport.
It's worth checking if you are using Terminals 4 or 5 if more timely journeys become available by travelling from Heathrow Central Bus Station. The Heathrow Express train service operates every 15 minutes between Terminals 4 and 5 and Heathrow Central, beneath the Central Bus Station, this is a free service.
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We have options to cater for all party sizes.
On transfers the amount of luggage can be as critical to the right selection of vehicle as number of passengers, so do pause to reflect on this aspect.
Saloon/ Sedan car or MPV/Estate/Station Wagon size vehicle. Will take up to 5 full size adults and around 4 cases with some small hand luggage. Ideal for a family.
All driver waiting time and airport parking included in airport pick-ups - no extra charges if your flight is delayed!
Baby seats or child booster seats supplied on request and are of course free of charge.
At passenger terminals the driver will be waiting for you as you exit the customs and luggage retrieval channel to escort you to the waiting vehicle.
Air conditioned roomy small buses with 8, 12 or 16 seats and lots of luggage room for small groups. These buses are proper purpose built buses, not cramped converted vans.
These small buses are small enough to get in the car parks at airports, big enough to qualify to use the special bus lanes in central London.
The buses can also carry outsize items, commonly wheelchairs, electric scooters, bicycles and surfboards.
Drivers meet and greet at airports, hotels and ports just like the cars.
If you have a large group then that is not a problem either
The largest coaches are 50 seat coaches but we also have access to vehicles half that size.
With large groups if your average passenger is bringing more than one large case and a small item of hand luggage it might be the luggage capacity of the vehicle rather than the number of passengers that drives the correct size of vehicle required. The point being that estimating the amount of luggage you will be bringing is just as important as knowing how many people in your group.
With large groups just as small groups multi-drop and pick-ups from hotels is routine and if you require sightseeing we can arrange a guide whether it be an orientation tour of London or a niche interest of the group.
We do not put groups together for the purpose of vehicle sharing.
You are welcome to put your own group together. The key point with these charters is that the price is a flat rate for the vehicle, not per person. If somebody pulls out at the last moment the group are still liable for the full cost of the charter.
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