Heathrow Airport

Heathrow airport is so large it is actually 5 separate airports, or terminals. Be sure you know which terminal your flight will land at or depart from.

Getting into/from London - quickly
The Paddington Line tube station serves Heathrow with the Heathrow Express, and the trip takes only 15 minutes, with prices starting at £15.50 one way for adults. Several airlines now offer you the option of checking in for your outbound flight at Paddington station before boarding the train to the airport. The Express serves all four Heathrow terminals. Book your London Heathrow Express tickets (only for non-UK residents)   Heathrow Express offers a free shuttle between Terminals 1, 2, and 3.

An alternative is Heathrow Connect, a 25 minute train trip, with departures every half hour. Heathrow Connect stops at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Southall, Hanwell, Hayes, and Harlington and Paddington Station. This is a more cost conscious option but it does take longer than Heathrow Express. Website: www.heathrowconnect.com

Getting into/from London - cheaply
Piccadilly line tube serves all terminals, and is the way to go if you are budget-minded. The trip takes an hour, and tickets are available at the luggage area. You'll need the all-zone ticket (or the all-zone Travelcard).

Getting into/from London - mid-price
Several large hotel chains have a "presence" at Heathrow. You can get to these hotels by using the Hotel Hoppa Bus. Alternatively, National Express dot2dot http://www.dot2.com/ operate shuttles from both major London airports to hotels in the city, for about half the price of a taxi. Prices from 17.50 per person, with additional discounts for large groups. A popular alternative is to use an airport transfer service such as TaxiReservations, which will drive you direct to most popular city centre hotels.

Other Options
If budget isn't even a word you recognise, the simplest option for transportation into the city from Heathrow is one of the traditional black London taxis. Prices to the city centre run about £55 as of this writing. If you're only mildly aquainted with financial constraints, consider a minicab, which should cost about £35 for the same trip. Private Hire Companies often add a waiting time/Car park surcharge to fares and Black cabs charge more at night. See here for the difference between a minicab and the black taxis.

Heathrow to Gatwick Transportation
see shuttle information below

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick is smaller and better organised than Heathrow. There are two terminals, connected by a monorail service. It is also much easier to drive in and out of - especially for foreign visitors not used to driving on the left.

Getting into/from London - quickly
Gatwick Express runs very frequent shuttle trains to/from Victoria Station. 5AM to midnight trains run every 15 minutes. The trip takes about 30 minutes, and is quite reasonably priced (by UK standards!). You can buy tickets here for the Gatwick ExpressGatwick Express. There are also Thameslink trains from London Bridge, Farringdon, and King's Cross for about £10.

Getting into/from London - cheaply
In this case, cheap transport isn't that big a savings. Connex South Central trains to/from Victoria are £8.20 one way. A better deal is the Flightline bus, with a ticket good for 3 months costing £7.50 single/£11 return. Flightline is on the web at www.speedlink.co.uk.

If you have money to burn, a black taxi costs £50 to/from central London, with a minicab kicking in at about £35 for the same trip. Alternatively, National Express dot2dot http://www.dot2.com/ operate shuttles from both major London airports to hotels in the city. Cost from Gatwick is about £20 per person. Or, use an airport transfer service like TaxiReservations, and get dropped off at your hotel.

Gatwick - Heathrow airport shuttle

We are frequently asked by readers if there is a direct transfer service between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. Our answer used to be 'no', but there is now a direct coach (bus) service run by National Express, who operate more than 100 journeys per day between the two major London Airports. This is the cheapest and most hassle-free way we know of for Heathrow to Gatwick transportation (or vice versa!).

NOTE: All prices mentioned in this article were believed correct at the time of publication, but, like all things in life, they are subject to change!