My husband and I are landing at Heathrow at 9:30 P.M. and were told to take the Heathrow Express into Paddington Station and then a taxi to our hotel. But, the tickets for HEX seem pretty expensive for two people. I can see taking the HEX during peak traffic/rush hour times, but since we'll be going into London pretty late at night, I wonder if it won't be cheaper to just take a taxi to our hotel from the airport. Appreciate any input. (Please don't suggest the tube- we're getting on in years!) Thanks.
Where is your hotel located?
Using the fare listing on the Heathrow Express website https://www.heathrowexpress.com/tickets-deals/prices-fares and the taxi fare estimator at http://www.worldtaximeter.com/london (can't vouch for its accuracy) and the Trafalgar London Hilton Hotel as a random representative hotel, I came up with:
80 GBP for taxi from Heathrow to the hotel
58 GBP for HEX + taxi (21 GBP x 2 Heathrow Express to Paddington + 16 GBP taxi Paddington to the hotel)
You'd save even more if you buy your HEX ticket online instead of at Heathrow.
The ticket prices I find online for the Heathrow Express to Paddington are £43 for two people. A taxi from Heathrow to Paddington is £41. (Your actual cost may depend on multiple factors, so don't blame me if the taxi or the train costs something different than what I found. ;-)) What it cost to get to your hotel from that point is really irrelevant since you will be using a taxi no matter which option and if your hotel is closer to the airport than Paddington might even save a couple pounds.
At that time of night and the stated fact that you don't want to take the tube seems that the taxi option would be best anyway. If you ride the express, you will be dragging your suitcases on and off the train no different than the tube. With a taxi, you will have driver to help with the bags and there is no transfer and then looking for a taxi very late night.
The first time I was in London on my own, I used a shared van option of which there are many available companies offering the service. It was half the cost of a taxi, but you paid per person so no savings for 2. Since then I have just used the tube (just £5.10 each way on an Oyster card!) even though I am starting to get on in years as well. I find public transit fascinating just in the people watching. :-)
Our hotel is 7-8 Park Place. It is in the St. James area.
Thank you for your thoughtful replies! I guess I should have asked if the taxis running into London at that time (10-11 P.M.) will be a quick option. Obviously not as quick as a train, but.....since there shouldn't be that much traffic at that time maybe not bad?
I can't speak to how quick the ride would be, because we always take the Heathrow Express.
I understand the attraction of taking a taxi the whole way, though, especially if you're not traveling ultra light the way we do. It's hard to beat the convenience of door to door service and help moving luggage.
If you have the room in your budget for an extra 30 GBP or so it could be worthwhile to take the taxi for convenience alone.
I would take the taxi from Heathrow Airport all the way to your hotel. If you take Heathrow Express, you have the inconvenience of dragging your luggage off of HE, into Paddington Station, through the station, and to the taxi stand.
forget Paddington and the Heathrow express its nowhere near Park Place
your options are a pre-booked car or take the tube direct from Heathrow to Green Park and a five minute walk.
by London standards that's not particularly late and will be quite safe
A single on the Heathrow Express these days is now £6.99 if you book 90 days ahead. This changes much of the arithmetic people are used to involving the HEX, although for somewhere in St James's it wouldn't be geographically logical over going directly to Green Park. Note this station has step free access to the street.
Take a look at the Minicab services. We recently went the other direction (to Heathrow) using Blackberry Cars http://blackberrycars.com/ and it worked out great. Pick up at our hotel and dropped off at Heathrow departure, in about 30 minutes from the Bayswater area.
I concur with Emma. Given your requirements, I'd suggest pre-booking a car service. "Just Airports" is frequently recommended by other travelers on this board. You'll basically get door-to-door service and at that time of night it won't take that long to get into London.
If you are flying out of Heathrow there is a discount for two round-trip tickets for 50 GBP. Check under "discounts and deals" on the HEX site.
I have on a number of occasions taken a flight that arrives at Heathrow at 10pm and generally take the tube. It is an easy trip but you indicated that is not your preference.
I think you have very good advice here - I'll pile on with JustAirports. I've not used them - I use the trains and tubes - but so many people have written on here for so many years how much it worked for them that I feel confident recommending them.
What I do question is your assumption that at Heathrow you can land at 9:30 and be out of the airport at 10.
I usually budget 90 minutes to 2 hours for international flights at LHR between wheels down on the tarmac and walking through the frosted doors.
Maybe you are on just a domestic flight and have no luggage?
Even then 30 minutes seems ambitious. OJ Simpson in the Hertz commercial?
Just tell the minicab company or Just Airports which flight and terminal and they will be there at the right time...
Thank you all so much for your help. Funny that my brother-in-law recommended the HEX to us–and they stayed at the same hotel as ours! They should have checked out this travel forum before doing that. I'm going to check out the Just Airports and the other suggestions. Seems like the best way to go for us old-timers.
I realize it's going to take a lot longer than 1/2 hour to get through Heathrow. I flew through there on the way to Belgium last year and found the security lines very long and slow.
Thanks again everyone!
Just a note that people often overlook Heathrow Connect which takes slightly longer that HEX but costs just over 10 GBP for a single trip. Of course, in this case tube or taxi seem more direct options.
Minicab pre booked for that time of night makes a lot of sense. For other times, I do like Heathrow Express. I've always been able to get discounted tickets so while still rather more expensive than the Tube, it's much less stressful for me with bags to tote.
The night time aspect might tip it for me - finding somewhere unfamiliar isn't as easy at night.
For time and ease at that time of the night. Pre book a car service or take a Black Cab. No better drivers in the world than the Black Cab drivers. Enjoy your stay.
As others have said, I would do neither the HEX nor a black cab off the rank.
I'd either go cheaply, with the Tube (and possibly a cab if your destination is far from the Tube station), or go for convenience but still less cost than either the HEX or a cab off the rank, with a pre-booked car service. As you say you prefer not to use the Tube, then I'd definitely book the car service. Just Airports and Blackberry are ones I see mentioned frequently. They will monitor your flight and meet you in the arrivals hall and probably even help with your luggage.
Hope you have a great trip.
Another advantage for a pre-booked car service is the possibility that your flight might be late. The HEX has it's last trip at 23:42 and it only runs every 30 min.after 22:00. We use the HEX frequently with online discount tickets, but our last trip arrived an hour late and we ended up with the last HEX for the night. I think I'm correct in saying that the cab rate goes up that late at night.
I decided to book with Blackberry car service. Because I'm not adding international service to my cellphone thus can't call them when we arrive, I'm prepaying with credit card. Seems like a good company based on reviews.
I paid a taxi 85GBP to get from Heathrow to Southwark last week, when we learned how expensive the express was, and we were exhausted (like maybe literally pass-out exhausted). The taxi driver took us past loads of sights and told us what they were, so it increased the ride's value. Safety and ability to get sleep was the biggest value for me and my daughter. Just be sure they know if you want to pay by credit card first, some cars don't have card readers and expect cash. Good luck!
Marco - Thanks for the tip about 6.99 GBP for the HEX 90 days ahead of arrival. I paid 21.50 GBP on September 9th Ouch! Live and learn. However it was very fast and easy and I had great time buying the Oyster card and then finding my way by bus from Paddington station to my hotel in The City. Please continue with the great tips!
I agree that a taxi would be a much better idea. You could also check into a pre-arranged private driver. We have used "Blacklane.com". You just go to their site and put in your information. They offer cars all over the world. The driver meets you right after you pick up your luggage. They text you with the driver's name and other information, right after your flight lands. You will receive an e-mail back with the exact cost/fixed price. It wont matter, if you get stuck in London traffic or not The price will include any tipping, which you might want to give.
Honestly if you're landing at 9:30pm you will most likely get out of customs around 10-10:15pm. At that point, I'd just splurge and take a black cab from the airport to your hotel. This way you have minimum fuss and you get dropped off right at the hotel doorstep and just check in and relax a bit and go to bed. You won't miss the money for the taxi and you'll have more time to unpack a bit and crash. You can take the tube the next morning, though I highly recommend sitting on the top level of a London bus as a way to get a wonderful view of the city.
Oh and be careful with car hire - as far as I know only black cabs and buses can use the bus lane on the highway and in the cities. Black cabs have a meter, so no misunderstandings about pricing. Plus they are the best London drivers, having passed "The Knowledge" test, which means they know every street in the city!!