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HOME > Articles > 1 day in London

Getting To London From Heathrow

You can get to London by either:
Car It takes approximately 45-60 minutes to get to central London from Heathrow. When leaving Terminals 1, 2 and 3, follow exit signs to the access/exit tunnel. Follow signs to the M4 motorway, which will eventually bring you into London. Terminal 4 is on the main A30 road. The M4 and M25 orbital are signposted. Again, follow signs to the M4 which will eventually bring you into London. Bus The Airbus links Heathrow Terminals with many London hotels and some main line rail stations. It departs every 20 - 30 minutes and takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Airbus A1 - Serves Victoria London voa several London hotels. Airbus A2 - Serves Russell Square via Euston rail station and also drops off at some West End hotels.
Airbus Direct - Serves many central London destinations from Terminal 4 with additional services from Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
One Way: £6 Round Trip: £10 Tel: +44 (0)181 897 2688 There is also an all night bus service from Heathrow to central London.
Taxi Follow the signs in each terminal Arrivals areas for taxi ranks. The journey time to central London is approximately 45-60 minutes and will cost you between £35 and £45.
Train Heathrow has two rail services to central London. In addition to the London Underground is the Heathrow Express service to London Paddington station.

Getting Around In London:
The Tube
The Underground or the Subway is known as the 'Tube' in London. It is fast and convenient and allows you to shoot across the entire length of London without a clue as to the traffic chaos above. It is relatively inexpensive and there are weekly or monthly passes known as Travelcards. Stations are easy to come by and usually within walking distance of each other. However, because of its convenience the tube is often crowded and can be stifling in summer.
If you are on a commuter's schedule, realise that so is the rest of London.
The Tube covers Zones 1 and most of Zone 2. It also covers part of Zone 3 in the North and West. In the case of Heathrow airport, the Tube will take you all the way there.
The Tube conveniently links up with London Bus stops and British Rail stations.

Red London Buses
The famous red London buses are very easy to use and a popular means of transport. They are frequent and, because of the lack of doors, you can hop on hop off whenever the bus slows down enough. If a traffic jam strikes, hop off and you'll be there before your bus catches up. The current mayor of London is trying to phase out the old buses in favour of new double-deckers with doors - let's hope it doesn't happen!
Buses link residential areas of London where the Tube tracks don't go, and also criss-cross Zone 1 as an alternative to the Tube. A ride on the bus in Zone 1 is £1.
Travelcards can be purchased that are also valid for bus travel. Travelcards can be bought at any London Underground station or from News Agents bearing the Travelcard sign. To purchase your first Travel Pass you will need to bring a passport sized photograph.
When the normal services stop, night buses take over. They run less frequently however are very useful services to get you home when the tubes shut down at around 1am.
Night buses usually start around midnight and have the letter 'N' before the usual bus number. They seem to congregate around Trafalgar Square and the nearby streets that radiate out from the square, so head that way when the clubs close and you're desperate to get home for some sleep.

British Rail
British Rail is the above-ground equivalent of the Tube. These trains can be excellent to use if you live out of Zone 1 and just off a Tube line and want a speedier option than the bus. British Rail will take you in to Zone 1, but not far, as the Tube takes over from there for obvious town planning reasons.
Main British Rail stations closest to the centre of London are Paddington and Victoria servicing the West and South West, King's Cross and Euston servicing the North, and North East, Waterloo servicing the South and London Bridge and Liverpool Street servicing the South East and East.
If you'll be using this service frequently, you can purchase a British Rail TravelCard.

Black Cabs
These famously shaped taxis, where you can face the other members of your party limousine-style, are a good way of getting around. The drivers know London like their own backyard and you will see would-be drivers zipping around town on mopeds with books open in front of them. They are studying for their Black Cab test. Quick trips in and around Central London aren't too expensive but this probably wouldn't be your main mode of transport.

Mini Cabs
Can be useful because they travel into parts of London, i.e. Zone 2 and beyond, where you will be pushed to find a Black Cab. But be wary of them too. These are not registered or licensed or checked-out in any way. These are the normal looking cars parked on the side of the road asking if you need a lift. They are not metered and you will need to agree on a fixed price for the ride before getting into the car.
These are co-ops of drivers who form a cab company. If they don't find you first, you can call their office number (you should see minicab business cards distributed around) or approach the office in person. Please be careful using minicabs for the obvious reason that they are not licensed cabbies. If you are female and travelling late at night, please try and find another way home. Night buses come in handy when the Tubes close down for the night.

On Foot
A bit of a stroll down the Thames Walk or a walk from Buckingham Palace/St James Park over to High Street Kensington will keep the grog and pub food from taking too much of a toll. London is one of the best cities to explore on foot. You see all the little lanes and shops, pubs and theatres that you would otherwise miss Tubing from A to B.

Where To Stay:
Brunel Hotel, Bayswater
Ideal location from which to explore central London. Close to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and within walking distance of Paddington Station. All the bedrooms have en-suite facilities, telephone, hairdryer, television with satellite channels and tea and coffee making facilities.

Where to eat:
Destino, a Latin-inspired restaurant, bar and deli, has opened at 25 Swallow Street, off Regent Street.
The ground floor deli serves brunch, lunch and dinner, and has an evening lounge bar, with a range of South American beers, tequilas and cigars.

What To See:
Buckingham Palace. The Queen opened Buckingham Palace to the public for the first time in 1993 to raise money for repairs to Windsor Castle.
The Tower of London. According to Shakespeare, the young princes and heirs of Edward IV were slaughtered here by their wicked uncle, Richard III.
Westminster Abbey. Resting place of the royals, is one of the most visited churches in the Christian world.
British Airways London Eye. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York the Empire State and now London has the British Airways London Eye - an extraordinary symbol for an extraordinary city.
The world's largest observation wheel offers a spectacular way to take in over 55 of London's famous landmarks in just 30 minutes!

Where To Shop:
Lulu Guinness, 66 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AJ
Manolo Blahnik, 49 Old Church Street, London SW3 5BS
Louis Vuitton, 198-9 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9QX
Gucci, 32-33 Old Bond Street, London W1X 4HH

Entertainment:
The new Red Rock Café/Bar at 12 Swallow Street, off Regent Street, is the place to go if you're up for something like an "American-style biker bar meets "Coyote Ugly" experience.
Red Rock has an all-female bar staff who dance and parade atop the bar to classic rock anthems.
Live bands perform on stage, and a juke box plays rock and soul tracks from the mid-60s to the late 90s.
Red Rock stocks a wide range of bottled beers, spirits and cocktails has a North American-inspired menu; and decor featuring a 1960s Harley Davidson bursting through the brick wall above the bar. Arm wrestling, air guitar and karaoke competitions are among the attractions. It is open 5pm to 3am Monday to Saturday, with a door charge from 11pm.

 

 
 
       
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