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Transportation from Heathrow to Oxford

Hello. We'll be arriving at Heathrow on May 7th and plan to go directly to Oxford. Our plane is scheduled to arrive at 11:55 am. Would it be wise to wait to buy rail tickets until we arrive, in case our plane is late? Or do the prices go up a lot as you get closer to the date? I've never been through customs so I don't know how long that will take, and I know Heathrow is a very large airport, so I'm worried that if I buy tickets beforehand I'll underestimate how long it will take us to get to the train. Any advice would be appreciated. Also, I've been using to look at train schedules -- is this the recommended site to use?
Thank you!

Posted by
5547 posts

National rail is the recommended site to use for train tickets. But to get from Heathrow to Oxford, take the bus. You can buy the tickets in advance, but you can also buy them from the driver.

Posted by
14123 posts

Let's answer a few questions:

Customs takes no time. Passport Control/Immigration is what takes awhile. However, if you have a U.S. or Canadian passport you should be able to use the egates which will make things easier.

Why take the train to Oxford? It will involve changes. There is direct bus service from Heathrow to Oxford. It takes 90 minutes. You have a choice of two different companies:

The Airline Oxford


National Express

Posted by
1727 posts

I highly recommend the Airline bus to Oxford from LHR. I took this last September. It leaves from the Central Bus station at LHR.

Posted by
5250 posts

Take it from a local - '"The Airline" Coach is the way to go.

(at least for one or two and especially for a round trip)

Posted by
4047 posts

Note that if you book with National Express you are only booking 'The Airline' anyway on the vast majority of departures, as they are partners.

So you may as well book direct with Oxford Bus.

The handful of Nat Ex departures are faster and cheaper, but not worth waiting 2 or 3 hours for a NatEx coach.

Posted by
764 posts

My husband and I took the bus from Heathrow mid-June 2022 to Oxford. We did not buy the tickets beforehand due to the wonderful guidance on this forum. After going through passport/immigration, we followed the directions that I had received on this forum and bought our tickets from a vending machine just next to the busses. Then, we noticed that a bus was leaving in just five minutes--1 1/2 hours earlier than our tickets. No problem. The bus driver took the tickets and we boarded the bus. I'll look for the thread and post it here as an "Edit" if I can find it. You're going to love Oxford!

Posted by
41 posts

Thank you all so much! I didn't know about the bus option, and it does look so much better than the train! And I love that they're flexible about timing. Thanks again! :-)