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Help! I need exact and clear instructions on how to get from Heathrow Airport to Portsmouth

Hi all. I am arriving to Heathrow Airport the last week of April from USA, I immediately have to go to Portsmouth. I researched on renting a car, but the rates right now are incredibly high. So that is a no.

I know I can go in train. And got as far as to realize that I first have to take a bus, and then get into the train.
The thing is I have no idea how to do this. What do I do once I exit the plane and get my luggage? Literally.
And, where do I buy the tickets? For the bus? for the train? And, is this all inside the airport?

I went into a website and some trains have three changes! If I have to change trains three times, I will get lost.

It is all basic stuff for you guys. It is my first traveling without my husband, and I am a bit stressed about how to get to Portsmouth. Anybody? thanks.

Posted by
844 posts

You could take a taxi or transfer service. If it’s that overwhelming, it would be worth it. If you’re traveling with others, you can split the cost.

I hope you’re not flying in and departing the same day on a cruise. That could be a disaster if anything delays your flight.

If you decide to go by train, I would suggest giving yourself plenty of time between your arrival at Heathrow and when you need to leave on the bus/train. You will need to go through immigration, collect your luggage and go to the bus/train station. Both exist at the airport, but Heathrow is HUGE. You may need to take a train to get to a different terminal (or to the bus station) within the airport for the first leg of your bus/train journey to Portsmouth. It all depends on your flight time, train time, which terminal you arrive at, whether you take a bus or tube to the next train station, etc.

Posted by
1556 posts

I’m sure someone will give specifics but get the Rome2rio app and punch in where you want to go and from where. Then select the mode of travel and more detail will come up. Buy your tickets from the bus station or train station and not from the app.
The last option on the app was a town car. $81.
The good news is that everyone speaks English so just ask for help if you get turned around.

Posted by
3681 posts

For simplicity, you might consider taking the bus. Explore this National Express coaches link to learn what your bus options are: https://www.nationalexpress.com/en

You need to know where you are going to arrive at Heathrow and where you need to arrive in Portsmouth. You may need to make a change along the way, but the driver can help you with that.

You can buy your ticket for the bus at Heathrow. There's no need to do that in advance. In fact, it's a better idea to not get it in advance in case the plane is late. Just ask where to go to do that when you arrive and get your luggage.

I did this my last trip to England in 2016, only my destination was Bath. It was much easier than the often recommended bus/train options. And I loved riding on the bus through the countryside and towns along the way.

Note that I did carry-on only, so I can't advise you on the particular details of getting from baggage claim to the bus station. It may be simpler or more complicated for you, depending on how how much luggage you have. I took the shuttle from my arrival location to the bus station. Again, just ask someone how to do that.

The bus station has a huuuge electronic board listing destinations, departure times and bus numbers. The busses are parked outside. It also has a very large and nice bathroom, a coffee shop with food and lots of seating.

Finally, realize that you will be in an English-speaking country with lots of nice people to help you. You don't need to know every detail totally in advance. And no doubt some things will have changed in the 6 years since I was there.

The Central Bus Station images here might be useful.

Posted by
8603 posts

Can your destination in Portsmouth not give you directions on how to get there?

Posted by
902 posts

Looks like best routing us
Heathrow Express to Paddington ,there's a discount on prebooking that.

At Paddington Railway Station swap to Paddington Tube ( Bakerloo line) to Waterloo Tube Station.

Then walk the 4 mins from Waterloo Tube Station to the mainline Waterloo railway station.
Take train to Portsmouth ,no further changes needed.
Nationrail is the defat for railway times and tickets
There will be manned desks and ticket machines at the mainline stations

Posted by
902 posts

Down load Google Maps .
I find it accurate and you select the bus icon and it gives you public transport options between the start and end of your selection.
It's dead easy to use

Posted by
5113 posts

First of all, you can do this!

The easiest and most expensive option is a private transfer.
The slowest option is to take the bus the entire way.
The bus/train combination is the middle ground here. I am not confident the National Express bus to Woking is currently running and need one of our UK posters to weigh in here.

You tube is your friend here for being able to visualize how to find the bus station at Heathrow. Type in “how to catch the bus at Heathrow” or something similar in the you tube search box and several videos will pop up showing this. The airport website also has information. I will usually watch a few you tube videos to get a sense of the layout at airports.

Posted by
11225 posts

If you are this nervous about getting to Portsmouth, and worried about making a mistake, my suggestion is to pre-arrange a car service from Heathrow to Portsmouth.

They will meet you as you exit the immigration/customs hall. They will escort you to the vehicle and then drop you in front of where you want to go in Portsmouth.

The next easiest of the bus. You take a National Express bus to London Victoria Coach Station and then transfer to another bus going to Portsmouth. Very easy to do. You find the bus stop just outside the entrance of your arriving terminal. There will be signs or you could just ask someone.

http://www.nationalexpress.com

The train will include numerous changes and will be the most complicated.

Posted by
2125 posts

Heathrow to Woking about 40 mins

Woking to Portsmouth fast trains 1hr

All routes by public transport involve one change.

Why go into central London when you can head south to Woking to pick up the train?

Look on a map. You know it makes sense.

Posted by
27709 posts

Bus to Woking, one simple change onto the train at Woking, easy no-change train to Portsmouth.

If you help us understand where you want to go in Portsmouth we can get you there. At the moment we can't say which station to get off at or how to get the ferry to the Isle of Wight or Southampton for cruises or ...

I agree that going into London's Victoria Coach Station saves no time and does not make for a more comfortable journey. Trains even have toilets and often tables.

Please tell us where you are trying to go to. It would also help a lot if you say what time of day your flight arrives (overnight for early morning arrival?) and what Terminal you are scheduled to arrive in or what airline.

Posted by
4675 posts

If you want "exact and precise instructions" just saying you are arriving at Heathrow Airport is not enough to help you as the details will differ between arrival at Terminals 2/3 or 5.

Posted by
4654 posts

I've heard some good reports about a relatively new start up called South Coast Tours. They mainly specialise in bespoke tours of Portsmouth and surrounding area but they also provide an airport transfer service. A quick look on their website shows a pick up from Heathrow to Portsmouth to the ferry port or hotel is £75 https://southcoasttours.co.uk/shop/

It may be a bit more expensive than the train or National Express but it's a lot less hassle, straight from the airport to your destination and no hauling around luggage. I'm one who values convenience and ease over cost saving but not everyone feels the same.

Posted by
11225 posts

You have been given some great advice. And for most, it is easy.

But......they are neglecting your concerns for not knowing what to do.

So I am going to repeat what i said, and what JC also noted.......get a private transfer. Yes, it will cost a bit more. But literally, you don't have to do anything after you book it. The driver will meet you as you exit the immigration and custom halls at Heathrow. He will know which terminal since you will tell them which airline and fight number you re on. He will also monitor your flight arrival information and will know if your flight is delayed, You then get dropped you wherever you want to go. Direct. No changes, no having to get from the Portsmouth train station to your final destination.

No worries about how and where to buy tickets. No worries about having to find the bus or the train. No having to lug your bags.

Posted by
6 posts

Hello all. I lost the page! but here I am again.

Thank you so much for all the advice and suggestions. Yes, I agree, the best option for me is to hire a car service that takes me directly from Heathrow to my hotel in Portsmouth. You suggested Southcoasttours, and Rome2Rio. Any suggestions about a reliable company from your personal experience? Thank you! Almost there!

Posted by
4654 posts

Rome2Rio is not a car service but a site that provides travel information such as distances and driving times between places. South Coast Tours is a company that provides bespoke tours along the South Coast of England, they also provide airport transfer services. There are multiple airport transfer services but this one is located in Portsmouth so the driver is going to have a good knowledge of your destination, route etc. I've taken taxis where the driver has relied on Google maps for directions and at times this has proven to be quite unreliable.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all. JC, thank you for suggesting South Coast Tours. I was finally able to make contact with them. I have a confirmed reservation and a driver will pick me up and take me to Portsmouth. Yay! I will update once it is done. Thanks!

Posted by
4654 posts

I have a confirmed reservation and a driver will pick me up and take me to Portsmouth. Yay! I will update once it is done. Thanks!

Glad to be of some assistance. I'll be interested to hear how it goes as it's always good to know of operators in my area that I can recommend to others.

Posted by
1154 posts

We used aquacars.co.uk, based in Portland, and they were waiting for us at our arrival at Healthrow. Great service, no hassle, and it was cheaper than two train tickets. We actually arrived earlier than expected so I texted them and they adjusted to be sure and meet us. It doesn't get much better than that. Good luck.

Posted by
6 posts

Hello all.  Just to keep up updated.  I was able to hire the private service that some of you recommended to drive me directly from London to Portsmouth. The driver, Scott, was there to greet me when I exited Immigration at the airport and was always communicating with me via WhatsApp. 
They were excellent and I wish to pass on their contact info in case you all need it.  

I talked to Barbara via email and WhatsApp.
South Coast Tours  -  office@southcoasttours.co.uk
07538 280023
She assigned a wonderful driver : Scott.  He was extremely nice, informative, and helpful.  My experience with this company was outstanding.  
Update on my wonderful trip. The end result is that: I purchased a ticket to fly to London, UK, and returned to Miami From Barcelona. In London I hired an excellent service that took me directly to Portsmouth. I stayed at a B & B for two nights, and then boarded my cruise. Last port was Barcelona. I retrieved my rental car and spent 10 days exploring Spain, going also to Lourdes in France. The trip was absolutely wonderful, with great sights, adventures, and people. The last night before my flight I spent it in Barcelona. Took a bus to T1 at Barcelona airport to get tested for COVID, got my results in 15 minutes. Returned to my hotel. Got up very early, returned my rental car, and flew back home. I am blessed and thankful. Thank you all for all your responses.

Posted by
4654 posts

That's great to hear, glad my recommendation turned out so well. I've heard a few good reports about them so it's good to see a local company offering such good service.

Posted by
6 posts

Yes! JC. It was you! Thank you. The service and the driver, Scott, a resident of Portsmouth, was wonderful. I fully recommend this service. Thanks! again.

Posted by
7587 posts

JC saves the day!

I'm glad you had a wonderful trip, Steel Magnolia. Thank you for coming back and letting us know about the outcome and that you were happy with the service.

Posted by
3106 posts

OP any insight about the company in general? We are going to be in this area for 2 weeks in July and we might like to book a day trip with them but their webpage just gives an error message today and things aren’t bookable from their FB page.

I will try emailing or calling them in the next week or so but I’m a bit concerned about a company without a functioning webpage to book services.

https://www.southcoasttours.co.uk/

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Mona.. I do not have any other info, other than my experience with them. I do remember that at first, I could not reach them, but somehow, I managed, and then they responded to my email, and we chatted via WhatsApp. We communicated frequently before my trip, and they were helpful. I just cked my WhatsApp and the lady who arranged the private pick up is Barbara Collins, email Barbara.Collins@southcoasttours.co.Uk. You can call her or message via WhatsApp at +447538 280023.

Hope this helps. good luck.

Posted by
4654 posts

I've just looked at their FB page and there's message stating that their website is down this weekend and to e-mail if you have any queries.

Posted by
3106 posts

JC thanks for that information about their website being down. I hadn’t seen it or maybe they just posted it on FB. I’ll be happy to give them some time to sort things out this week and take a look again next week. We aren’t going until July.

EDiT: I see they’ve put up a BIG announcement on FB. Can’t miss that!

Posted by
33 posts

The post by Richard is correct take the express to Paddignton, once there ask anyone, you can go almost anywhere from there. I did it at like 4 in the morning.