Family of 5: 2 adults, 17, 15, 12
6 days in London coming from Heathrow but leaving via Eurostar Purchasing 7 day travelcard from rail station so can get two child cards (without a prepurchase oyster card). Dilemma: Cheapest way to get from Heathrow to London? (1) The 7 day travelcard purchased from a rail station does not allow 2/1 deals correct?
Family of 5: 2 adults, 17, 15, 12
Travelcards MUST be purchased from a rail station to get the 2for1 deals. The rail companies sponsor the promotions. You need passport sized photos for everyone. For six people you may want to consider a car service. There are some listed in this link. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k6097928-London_car_service-London_England.html
I may be wrong about all of this:
I want to get the 1/2 price 7 day child travelcards which are only available at a rail station in London (or else I need to prepurchase an Oyster card for them). So, I can't buy them at the airport and I can't buy an equally cheap Oyster/7 day Travelcard with Heathrow supplement because I'm buying them at the rail station. So, should I buy a one day Oyster with Heathrow supplement or is a car service cheaper (going to the corner of Newman St and Goodge St)? Does the 7 day travelcard from a rail station allow the 2/1 deals? I thought just a paper 1 day travelcard or a rail card. Yes, I have passport photos. Thanks for taking the time to help me understand!
The 2for1 deal is only available from the National Rail. What my mom and I did last summer was take Heathrow Connect half the price of Heathrow Express, only a few stops more, leaves from same place at Heathrow and goes to Paddington Station, where you can get your travelcards. Word of warning, though. From Paddington, take a taxi to your hotel instead of the Tube because the Tube stations have no elevators or escalators to get your luggage up to street level. After flying across the pond and then walking all over the airport then standing in line for the travelcards, schlepping the luggage up stairs was the last straw! Thanks to all those very nice Londoners who helped us with our bags on those stairs.
Is the 2/1 deal available for 7 day travelcards (I thought not?) or just 1 day cards? Heathrow Connect looks great. It would be 37.90 pounds for all of us. Seems cheaper than a cab. They have an online purchase option; can I just buy at Heathrow (in case plans change)? Thanks for the advice!
The 2for1 vouchers are good for the National Rail issued 7 day cards. Just bring passport sized photos and you will get a little vinyl envelope that holds the paper card that you flash at Tube stops and bus drivers (I preferred taking the bus to see more of London). Print out your vouchers at home, then bring them with your pass to the attractions. As for taking the Heathrow trains, there are ticket machines for both the Express and Connect at the platform. Just make sure you get the one you want, and get on the right train (both use the same platform). You can't miss it!
Oh, and if you are looking for a good transit map of London, I really recommend downloading the Central London map from the Transit for London website. It has not only the Tube routes, but all the major bus lines as well. We stayed in Bloomsbury, right behind the British Museum, with buses and Tube stops everywhere. (But we did take taxis every once in a while as a splurge!) That map was the perfect way to plan our next day's journeys in the city. I got to know the routes so well that I actually gave some Londoners directions near St Pauls!!!
If you take the Heathrow Connect to Paddington, you still will have to get from there to your hotel. Booking a private car service will get you from Heathrow to your hotel for a lot less than a taxi. I recommend Just Airports. There is a discount for paying cash. With five people you'll need to book a MPV (minivan) which shouldn't cost you more than £50.
I second what Tim has said - five people and bags, I'd recommend you book a private car. Heathrow Connect is a viable option, but remember that once you get to Paddington, you still need to get to your hotel. And yes - if you decide to go by train (Connect, Tube, or Express), you can do everything right at the airport.
It just sounded like Elicia wanted to get her family's travelcards on the way from Heathrow, that is why I suggested the train to Paddington. That was what I wanted to do as well, so that is why we took the Connect instead of a cab or car.
The two younger kids are free on the Heathrow Express when traveling with an adult.
The cost of car service from Heathrow to your hotel is likely to be in the ballpark of coming in via Connect to Paddington and then getting a taxi over to the hotel. Might be worth pricing it out. If you opt to go through Paddington, the taxi rank is outside along the side of the station. As your train enters the station, that will be on your right side. You'll get off the train, and walk forward through a turnstile. Go right then, right again at the edge of the station, and walk back along the tracks. You'll see a sign pointing to the taxis. (There's a trail of sorts embedded in the station floor that leads to the taxis, as well.) Odds are good there will be at least a small queue waiting for cabs. Don't worry, it moves fast. The advice to avoid hauling luggage around on the Tube is very well taken. Not only is it a pain to lug the bags around in the stations (many are quite large and involve lots of walking), escalators notwithstanding, there's really no place to put luggage on the trains. In rush hour, there's also a very good chance there will be no place for you to sit down. So, there you are: Crowded car, narrow passageway, people getting on and off, climbing over your bags. Not worth it.
Actually the taxi rank at Paddington has moved, you now need to turn left. But it is well signposted. Also, unless you are staying near Paddington, I wouldn't bother using the train. When you add up all the waiting/changing time, it is not much quicker/cheaper/easier.
Where are you staying in London? There might be better options and actually the Tube would be cheapest.
Corner of Newman and Goodge street - condo.
Hello fellow Mercer Islander-if you are arriving at Heathrow after the long overseas flight from Sea-Tac, you will want to make it as simple as possible to get to your condo on Goodge St. The best options,in descending order for ease, are car service/taxi, Heathrow Express plus taxi from Paddington, or Heathrow Connect plus taxi from Paddington. It sounds like you are not considering the Tube and we don't either. Remember that with the Heathrow Connect you have to change trains within Heathrow, coming from Terminal 5 to Heathrow Central on the Heathrow Express (free transfer between terminals). When traveling with just two of us we like the Heathrow Express,,which has a Duomoffer that makes it cost-competitive with the Connect, but is only available for return tickets. So that won't work for you; even with the two younger kids the cost is considerably higher than the HR Connect. When traveling with our two daughters, we found a taxi or car service to be a cost- efficient and very easy way to go. If it really is only £50, that would be pretty much the same as the HR Connect plus taxi, and you would avoid the two transfers with luggage.
We suggest also that you get an advanced, pre-arranged price, car service. Believe me, after being on a long, hectic flight, you will want to get to your sleeping quarters, with your luggage intact, as soon as possible. Your time counts too, you know.