customs at Heathrow

We'll be arriving on a Tues. morn around 8 am and wish to purchase an advance train ticket to Bath from Paddington Station. Any idea how much time I should allow to get through customs (coming from the US) and on into Paddington Station?

Posted by Nancy
London, UK
159 posts

It is very hard to know how long it will take to clear passport control. It depends on how many other flights - especially long hauls with lots of people with non EU passports, as well as how many passport control officers they have working. I find I can never predict that.

Posted by JoAnn
Hickory, NC, USA
6 posts

Thanks, Nancy. Looks like I'll assume a long wait and hope for the best.

Posted by Glenn
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
307 posts

I assume that you want to purchase an advance ticket for the savings? Trains to Bath depart Paddington about every 45 mins or so through the day, so getting tickets at Paddington on arrival should not be a problem. I would allow a minimum of 4 hours from arrival..through Paddington. If pressed for time, there's an express train ( cost around $30)that runs from Heathrow to Paddington in about 15-20 minutes, otherwise take the Tube which will take about an hour but is much cheaper.

Posted by Linda
Boulder, CO, USA
48 posts

I've been through customs at Heathrow within an hour and also one and a half hours. It depends on the lines. Give yourself plenty of time.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
773 posts

My preference would be to take the Railair coach to Reading and buy a super off peak single from there to Bath for £23.70 which is valid on all trains after 10:30 (at least until the evening peak, without checking details of restrictions). This may be a bit more expensive than going into London and back out again on an advance, but is not affected by short delays and the risk of having to buy another ticket. It would be of a comparable journey time. (It is possible to split the ticket and only pay £19 for 2 tickets Reading->Didcot, Didcot->Bath but you would only be able to travel on the 50% of trains that stop at Didcot, although you wouldn't need to get off. Advances from Reading->Bath themselves range from £7-£22.50 subject to availability) The direct coach from Heathrow to Bath is another alternative.

Posted by JoAnn
Hickory, NC, USA
6 posts

Thanks so much for the good advise. I can only hope the customs wait isn't extreme. but on rethinking, I will not purchase an advance ticket. It doesn't seem to be worth the stress of trying to make it on time. The trip to reading sounds more doable.