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Heathrow Airport's London Underground link

Cheapest, most frequent and can be most crowded link into London


Heathrow Airport Underground Train

The London Underground comes out to Heathrow in the form of the Piccadilly Line. The big attraction is price, frequency and speed. It takes 45-60 minutes to reach most hotels in Central London with trains around every 5 minutes.


The downside is crowded carriages and stopping at around 20 stations on the way into London. There will be an Underground station near your ultimate destination after perhaps a change or two. Kings Cross to Heathrow and Victoria to Heathrow (with a change from the District Line) are two of the most common journeys taken, due to both of these being popular hotel areas in London.

 

Heathrow Airport is in Zone 6 of London's zoned transport system. To understand the zone system which is the basis for all fares on the London Underground, read our using the London Underground page. London's tube system is called the London Underground and not Metro London, as is common in some other Major cities.

 

The Underground carriages become grossly overcrowded during peak rush hours. Heathrow is the first stop so you will get a seat, however, getting off in Central London with lots of luggage at peak times may be an experience you can do without after a long flight.


3 Heathrow Underground Stations, 4 Heathrow Passenger Terminals

Heathrow Airport has three Underground stations for the four passenger terminals. All trains visit the Heathrow Central Station that is for Terminals 2 and 3, some trains go to Terminal 4, the rest go to Terminal 5, no train visits both Terminal 4 and 5. When you are returning to Heathrow make sure you board the right train for your terminal.


Route 1 (Terminal 4) - Incoming trains from London will branch off after Hatton Cross station to Terminal 4. After Terminal 4 the train loops around to Central (Terminals 2,3) before going back to London. These trains do not go to Terminal 5 and do not travel the other way from Central to Heathrow Terminal 4.


Route 2 (Terminal 5) - Incoming trains from London will go straight to Central (Terminals 2,3) before going onto Terminal 5 where the train terminates. After a short while the train will return to London the same way. These trains do not visit Terminal 4.


Train Times & Journey Planning

From T2 & T3 the first train to Central London leaves Heathrow at around 5.12am (Sat/Sun 03:17). The last train leaves for Central London around 23:45 (Fri/Sat 03:07; Sun 23:28).

 

From T4 the first train leaves around 05:02 (Sun 05:47). Last train leaves at around 23:35 (Sun 23:15). From T5 the first train leaves at around 05:23 (Sat/Sun 03:14) and last train leaves around 23:42 (Fri/Sat 03:04; Sun 23:25).


London Public Transport Journey Planner

The first train from Central London (departing from Piccadilly Circus) arrives at Heathrow at around 05:47 (Sat/Sun 03:23) and the last train leaves for Heathrow from London around 00:32 (Fri/Sat 03:33; Sun 23:38). All times are subject to change and should be checked using the TFL journey planner link.


On Fridays and Saturday nights the Piccadilly Line runs all night at around 10 minute intervals between Terminal 5 and Cockfosters, stopping at Heathrow Central for Terminals 2 and 3. No trains run to Terminal 4 as part of the night service and if you are interconnecting to reach your destination, check that the other line also runs a night service (see Night Tube Map link within the sub-menu above).


When the Underground is shut there is a night bus alternative, route N9 which runs throughout the night at 30 minute intervals from Terminal 5 and also visiting the central bus station where Terminals 2 and 3 are. The route includes stops at Hammersmith, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly.


Changing trains from Piccadilly Line

Heathrow Airports Transfers & Logistics

Although the Piccadilly Line goes direct to many of London's major hotel districts a good proportion of travellers will need to change Underground train onto a different line. The most common change is to switch to one of the District Lines trains if you are going to Victoria, a major hotel district. If you look at the Underground Map, stations like Earls Court, South Kensington or Green Park initially look good places to switch.

 

In practice, these stations are not such a great idea if you are towing luggage as the distance between lines is significant and you will have to negotiate steps, escalators etc.

 

Hammersmith and Barons Court are better stations to switch train lines from as both lines use the same platform, you just walk off one train and the other train is about 8 yards in front of you. Even if you are taking the District Line branch down to the Bayswater/Paddington hotel area, it pays if you have luggage to change at both Barons Court and Earls Court, where trains depart from the same platform rather than battling the crowds and obstacles from the Piccadilly Line which is deep underground at this point, to the District Line on the surface.

 

Tube journey times from Heathrow to central London stations

London Underground Heathrow Piccadilly Line

London Underground Heathrow Piccadilly Line

Heathrow to Earls Court: 35 mins

Heathrow to Gloucester Road: 36 mins

Heathrow to South Kensington: 38 mins

Heathrow to Knightsbridge: 40 mins

Heathrow to Hyde Park Corner: 42 mins

Heathrow to Green Park: 44 mins

Heathrow to Piccadilly Circus: 46 mins

Heathrow to Leicester Square: 47 mins

Heathrow to Covent Garden: 48 mins

Heathrow to Holborn: 50 mins

Heathrow to Russell Square: 52 mins

Heathrow to Kings Cross St Pancras: 54 mins

Heathrow to Victoria: 45 mins (one change to District Line)

Heathrow to Liverpool Street: 1hr 5 mins (one change to Central Line)


London Underground Night Service - The Night Tube

In 2016 the London Underground began to introduce a full 24/7 service on Friday and Saturday nights only. Introduction has been on a phased basis.

 

Night Tube services are now running on the Central, Victoria, Jubilee line, Northern line (Charing Cross branch) and Piccadilly line (but not Acton to Uxbridge branch). The Night Tube will offer a 24-hour service on Fridays and Saturdays. Standard off-peak fares are levied for travelling on the Night Tube using Oyster and Contactless cards.

 

Travelcards are valid from the first day of issue (using the date printed on the card), and for journeys starting before 4.30am the following day. For example, if you buy a 1 Day Travelcard at 11am on Friday, you can use it until 04:29 on the following Saturday.

Night Tube Map - Current Lines Operated

 

Taking luggage on Underground

Interior of London Underground Piccadilly Line Carriage

Interior of Piccadilly Line carriage

Luggage Area of London Underground Piccadilly Line Carriage

The London Underground system is bustling and crowded at all times of the day. This is not a problem normally, but is it practical to use the Underground with luggage in tow? Well the good news is yes it is fine, and many people do use the London Underground routinely with luggage.

 

The caveat is within reason, it's not such a good idea if you have arrived on a flight with a North American flight's luggage allowance. Up to one case of about 20 kg (44 lbs) should be fine. The main thing is to be prepared. It's not going to be a pleasant experience unless you're travelling early morning on a Saturday or Sunday, so just think of the money you are saving.


At Heathrow Airport, the Underground trains are near empty as they start at Heathrow, crowding is not going to be a problem at this point. You can do yourself a big favour by getting as far as possible away from other passengers with luggage on the platform before boarding. By the time you get to Hammersmith the probability is that people will be standing and the carriages are getting crowded.

 

So the trick is to put your luggage in the space by the door and sit in an empty seat next to it so you can keep an eye on it, (see images). Now you see the reason why you want to get as far from others with luggage on the platform. If the train gets really crowded a lot of people prefer to stand and sit or lean on their luggage.

 

Getting best fares on Underground

For the vast majority of people using the Underground purchasing a cash ticket on the day is very expensive compared with the alternatives everybody else will be using.

 

Yes, it can be complicated, especially if you have kids, but if you spend a little time understanding the basics you will be well rewarded financially by purchasing the appropriate ticket for you.


For the majority of visitors, an Oyster Card for each person will be the core of your transport needs within London. You can buy on-demand on arrival at Heathrow at the Underground Stations or you can buy in advance online a special Visitors Oyster Card.


The Oyster page linked below will enable you to budget likely costs, explains the advantages and disadvantages of standard Oysters v Visitor Oysters and potential money saving additions like Travelcards if you are staying more than 5 days and of course the hoops you need to negotiate if you have kids (under 16 years of age).

Oyster Card details


London Oyster Card and Travelcards For Sale On-line

Service

Standard Adult Fare*

One-Way

 Return 

London Underground (Cash)

£6.00

£12.00

London Underground (Oyster Card)

£3.10-£5-10~

£6.20-£10.20~

National Express Bus to Victoria

£5.00-£10.00

£10.00-£20.00

TFL Rail Train (Peak)

£10.80

£21.60

TFL Rail Train (Off Peak)

£10.10

£20.20

Heathrow Express Train (Off Peak - walk up/oyster card)

£22.00#

n/a

Heathrow Express Train (Anytime - walk up/oyster card)

£25.00#

£37.00#

Heathrow Express Train (14 Day Advance)

£15.00‡

 

Heathrow Express Train (30 Day Advance)

£12.50‡

 

Heathrow Express Train (90 Day Advance)

£5.50‡

 

Hotel Shared Shuttle Central London

£21.33

£42.66

* Standard adult ticket. Other promotional fares may appear from time to time.

# Children under 16 free

‡ Online only one-way fare. Cheapest fare for both weekday and weekend travel

~ Off Peak/Peak fares. Children under 11 free


Where Heathrow public transport goes in central London

Heathrow - London Terminal Map covering piccadily line to heathrow
Special Offer Day Tours From London

Frequently asked questions

Which tube line is Heathrow Terminal 5 on?

Heathrow Terminal 5 is on the Piccadilly line of the London Underground.

 

How much does it cost from Heathrow to central London by tube?

Between £3-6 depending on if you pay in cash or use Oyster, contactless card. See our pricing table above.

 

Can I use oyster card to Heathrow Airport?

Yes you can use your Oyster card to get to Heathrow, either on the tube or by using the Heathrow Express. The tube will include the journey in your daily cap, the Heathrow Express will not.

 

Does Heathrow have a tube?

Heathrow is on the Piccadilly line of the London Underground and has stations in Terminal 2 & 3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5.

Every effort is made to keep all our information correct and the advertised prices up to date. We endeavour to be as accurate a source of information as possible but Travellers Toolkits cannot be held responsible for any price differential between our stated prices and those of the companies supplying the product or accuracy of information provided on our sites.