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3hrs enough time to get from LHR to KGX?

Is 3 hours enough time for us to get from the airport to King's Cross station? .... from the time we land, taxi-ing, going through customs, getting luggage, hopin' on the Heathrow Express to catch another train from London Paddington to King's Cross station?

We are flying in (from U.S.) New Year's day at 7am, heard it's crazy crowded in the mornings but should I also consider lighter traffic because it's a holiday..??? will it be crowded? Should I have allowed more time?

Posted by
15506 posts

Assuming your flight is one time, you should be okay.

The Piccadilly line goes direct from Heathrow to Kings Cross. It will take about an hour. This is an alternative to the Heathrow Express and then tube to Kings Cross.

Check the train schedule to see what service will be like that day. It is a holiday.

Posted by
264 posts

It is so hard to guess and plan for contingencies. If all goes right 3 hrs is fine. Just realize that if your flight goes 1 hr late for any number of reasons your off to the races probably. But what is the alternative - plan an extra 5 hours? I think Frank covered this well.

The one thing I wanted to pass on to you is the website

It will show you the different journies you can take from Heathrow to Kings Cross. I think the key point is that you can take the tube to Kings Cross - it might be 3 minutes longer than the heathrow express combo, but its cheaper and it's direct.

Posted by
12040 posts

LHR is one of those airports where if all goes well, you can breeze through... and if something goes wrong, a tight intinerary can easily get destroyed. A couple of choke points that can delay your progress: 1) Your plane could go into a holding pattern until it gets an opening in traffic to land. Most time I've ever spent circling the Greater London air circuit? 90 minutes! 2) Your plane many not disembark directly at the terminal, but at a remote location on the tarmac. You'll have to ride shuttle buses to the terminal, and they never seem to send enough to unload the plane all at once. 3) You may have to take another equally slow bus to connect to another terminal. 4) The LHR immigration queue is usually one of the longest at any European airport.

And I hate to tell you, New Year's day is anything but a light travel day!

So is it possible? Yes, definitely, if everything goes smoothly. But is there a significant chance for a delay? Almost certainly...

Good luck!

Posted by
3580 posts

From your question I assume you are catching a train at KingsX or St Pancras. The last time I made this trip to KingsX from LHR we landed about 7:30 am; I breezed thru passport control, and with only carry-on luggage hopped on the Piccadilly line Tube at LHR arriving at the KingsX area about 9 am. Total time 1 1/2 hours. There have been other times when it took over an hour just to get thru passport control. If there is any flexibility in your schedule, I recommend allowing more than three hours to get to the train station from LHR--just in case. St. Pancras station is shaping up into an entire mall, with shopping and eating places. If you arrive early you can just hang out there. If there is no flexibility you can take the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station and a taxi from there in a pinch.

Posted by
51 posts

So to make things even more confusing...
I was also told from the Britrail people that no trains are running on New Year's Day.. which made things uber confusing since I was able to purchase a 1st class rail ticket up to Scotland on New Years Day...

Anyway, the reason I'm stressing is cause we're new to train travel and that when we arrive at Heathrow we're going to be so overwhelmed, I just hope we don't miss anything....

gotta mind set... land, go to baggage claim, go through customs, find Heathrow Express, land in Paddington (my understanding Heathrow Express only goes to Paddington), Paddington to King's Cross... all in 3 hours! :) Bites finger nails...

lol.. this was supposed to be a vacation... :(


Posted by
15506 posts

Let's see if we can make this easier:

Follow crowd to immigration
Get on the right line (You are not from an EU or Commonwealth country. I once sat next to a young lady traveling from Australia to the UK who had stopped over in the U.S. As we walked to immigration she asked if the U.S. was still part of the commonwealth. She got a quick lesson about the American Revolution.)
Tell the nice people asking questions the reason you're in the UK and how long you'll stay.
Go to baggage claim.
Get luggage.
Walk through customs since you have nothing to declare.
Go to Tube.
Buy ticket for 4 GBP
Get on Piccadilly line. (Why take two trains and change when one will do.)
Get off at Kings Cross.
Find train to Scotland
Get a cup of tea.
Enjoy the scenery.

Posted by
3580 posts

One alternative to your plan would be to stay in London your first night then take the train the next day. That's what I would do. There are hotels in the KGX area within walking distance of the train station. No one can guarantee how long it will take you to make your journey to KGX from LHR. There are several options for making this trip, but for one who is new the stress of finding what you need while jet-lagged could make the trip take longer.