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I'm getting confused with rail ticket stuff!

I'm still trying to figure out how to get from London to Swindon. One site quoted a $30.00 ticket. Another one said $91.00.

I'm not sure which airport I'm coming in on, but once I get there, I need to go to whatever place it is to validate our British Heritage passes (if I do indeed get them), then get to Swindon. At one of the sites, it looked like there were several places in London to get on the train.

This part of the trip I'll be all by myself. I've never done this kind of traveling by myself, never mind the fact I'll be in a different country!

If I land in Heathrow (most likely for various reasons), how do I get to the place to take care of my BHP, then get to a place to catch a ride to Swindon?

How does it all work???

Posted by
505 posts

In the UK, there are different tickets for the train - generally the farther in advance you buy tickets, the cheaper they are. Also, you cheaper tickets when you buy for specific train, rather than an open ticket. Prices also varies depending on day of week and time of day. For the cheaper tickets, there's set a set quota per train, so first come first serve.

From Heathrow, the Tube is the cheaper, but longer way into London. Heathrow Express is much faster, but much more expensive. Trains to Swindon leave from Paddington, which is where the Heathrow Express ends, so that might be easier. The Swindon Train is run by First Great Western, so tickets will be cheapest from them:

You should search for the day and time you need, and see which tickets are available - being flexible can save you ££. You'll have to get the tickets from a machine at at station, since you can't buy them abroad.

Posted by
505 posts


You can just buy your Tube or Heathrow Express tickets when you arrive as the prices are fixed, so no need to buy ahead of time. You can also go via bus and train from Heathrow (which is the route FGW suggests, but it's probably no faster than taking the Heathrow Express).

You will need to use a UK post code to register on the FGW site (use the post code where you will be stayin), and then switch is to your credit card mailing address for payment. Tickets cannot be sent to the US, so just pick them up from the machine at Paddington.

You do not need to validate your Heritage Pass - according to the pass website, the pass is validated automatically the first time you use it. So you don't need to worry about it until you start sightseeing.

Have fun

Posted by
8700 posts

Cheapest (£4.00) but slowest (40 minutes) is the tube: Piccadilly line from Heathrow to Earl's Court and the District line from Earl's Court to Paddington. Here's a link to a printable tube map:

Faster ( a few stops) and not much more expensive (£6.90) is the direct Heathrow Connect train.

Fastest (no stops) but outlandishly expensive (£14.50 booked online and £15.50 bought at the station) is the Heathrow Express.

Posted by
32056 posts


Some good suggestions so far!

I've never used a British Heritage Pass so don't have any information on how to "validate" one. Possibly this can be validated at railway stations? Hopefully the others can help.

One option for your trip from Heathrow (if that's the airport you choose) is via train (this might be the Heathrow Express the others mentioned). I did a brief check and found (for example) a departure from Heathrow Terminal 1 at 11:18, arriving in Swindon at 12:40 (Duration 1H22M); there's one change at London Paddington. That's likely the route I would take under the circumstances (especially after a long flight and suffering from jet lag!).

If your husband isn't able to meet you at the station in Swindon, you might try Mapquest to get a printout of the city layout so that you can find your Hotel easily. If it's not too far from the station and you don't have much luggage, you could walk. Taxi is also an option.

Good luck!

Posted by
505 posts

As I said before, the Heritage pass does NOT need to be validated. Validation occurs automatically the first time you use the pass.


Posted by
93 posts

Thanks for the info - these kinds of specifics is what I'm looking for.

As far as the BHpass - I've been told that I'll get a voucher and I have to turn in the voucher to get the pass once I get to London. I won't be able to do that in Bath.