London Heathrow Airport, usually known simply as ‘Heathrow’, is the UK’s largest and busiest airport, serving over 160 different destinations around the world. It is one of the world’s third busiest airport for passenger traffic and handles thousands international passengers every day.
With a total of five terminals (the most recent opened in 2008), Heathrow not only serves as an international airport but also as an important regional hub. It is the primary airline hub for leading UK carriers such as British Airways, BMI and Virgin Atlantic.
The IATA airport code for London Heathrow is LHR.
Heathrow is about 14 miles (22km) west of Central London, just off the M25 and M4 motorways.
Reaching Heathrow by road
Terminals 1, 2 and 3 can be reached via the M4 (leave at Junction 4), the M25 (Junction 15) and the A4. Postcodes (for sat-nav) are as follows:
- Terminal 1: TW6 1AP
- Terminal 2: TW6 1EW
- Terminal 3: TW6 1QG
You can get to Terminal 4 via the M4 (Junction 3), the M25 (Junction 14) and the A30. Its postcode is TW6 3XA.
Terminal 5 is on the airport’s Western Perimeter Road and has its own separate access road, which you can get to from junction 14 of the M25. If you’re approaching via the M4, leave the motorway at junction 4b and follow the M25 south to junction 14. The postcode for Terminal 5 is TW6 2GA.
Setting down passengers
You can stop on the terminal forecourt roads to set down passengers, but if you need to stop for any other reason you should use the car park. If you do leave your car unattended on a forecourt road, it could be towed away and you will have to pay a charge to have it released.
The Star Service Station is at Simpsons Corner on Bath Road (the A4), near the junction with Sipson Road (A408). The postcode is UB3 5JJ.
London’s licensed black cabs serve Heathrow, and you should easily be able to find a taxi outside any of the terminals. For information on taxis, simply visit an information desk within a terminal.
Don’t be tempted to use an unmarked cab, or to take up the offer of a taxi from someone who approaches you inside the terminal. These are likely to be unlicensed (and illegal) operators. Transfers Only (http://www.transfersonly.net/) is a premium service offering chauffeured travel to and from airports including Heathrow.
Heathrow by bus and tube
A range of local bus services run to the central bus station and Terminals 4 and 5. At night, the N9 bus service travels to central London. For more information call Traveline on 0871 200 2233.
Heathrow is on the London Underground’s Piccadilly Line (coloured dark blue on the tube map). Services run between 05:00 and 23:40, but note that the station at Terminal 4 station closes at 23:35 Monday to Saturday and at 23:05 on Sunday. It takes 50 minutes to reach central London on the tube. For more information, call the Underground travel information line on 020) 7222 1234 or visit www.tfl.gov.uk/tube.
National Express coaches run from all five terminals to London Victoria coach station (around three coaches per hour), as well as coach services connecting Heathrow with over 500 destinations across the UK. For details call 0871 781 8181 or visit www.nationalexpress.com.
Dot2Dot is a door to door minibus transfer service operated by National Express between hotels in London and Heathrow Airport. Minibuses have comfortable leather seats, are air conditioned and feature WiFi access. They also travel via express bus lanes and make a maximum of three local stops per journey. The service runs 24 hours a day, with prices starting at £20 single and £38 return (per person) and group discounts available. To learn more call 0845 368 2368 or visit www.dot2.com.
Hotel Hoppa runs between each Heathrow terminal and the big nearby hotels, with frequent departures from 05:30 to 23:30. You can buy a ticket at any of the terminals. Prices are £4 each way for adults and 50p each way for children. See http://www.hotelhoppa.com for more info.
There are three rail stations at Heathrow: Heathrow Central (which serves Terminals 1, 2 and 3), Terminal 4 and Terminal 5. All trains run to Heathrow Central, but Heathrow Connect only runs to Terminal 4 while Heathrow Express only runs to Terminal 5. However, you can reach Terminals 4 and 5 via free transfers from Heathrow Central.
The Heathrow Connect rail service runs between Heathrow and Paddington every 30 minutes. The journey time to Paddington is 25 minutes. Trains leave Paddington between 04:42 (06:12 on Sundays) and 23:03, returning from Terminals 1, 2 and 3 between 05:29 (06:13 on Sundays) and 00:06. To reach Terminal 5, use the free inter-terminal service from Heathrow Central. Note that you can’t use Oyster pay as you go on the service, and that Zone 1-6 Travelcards are only valid between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. For more information call 0845 6786975.
Heathrow Express operates non-stop to and from Paddington. There are four trains every hour, leaving Paddington between 05:10 and 23:25 and returning from Terminal 5 between 05:07 and 23:42. To reach Terminal 4, you need to change at Heathrow Central. Journey time is around 15-20 minutes. Travelcards and Oyster pay as you go are not valid on Heathrow Express. For more information call 0845 6001515.