We are visiting London and Bath in late April. We will start with 4 days in Bath. What is the best way to get to Bath from Heathrow Airport?
Hi Betsy, I think there is coach service (long-distance bus) from Heathrow to various towns outside London. That way, you don't have to go into London first, or change trains in Reading. See nationalexpress.com I'd love to get confirmation of this from the Brits, though, because we're hoping to do the same thing soon!
The disadvantage is that it only runs a few times a day, so if you just miss one the next can be a wait of 2.5 hours, unless you are happy with a change to a bus in Bristol. It also only stops at the central Heathrow bus station. There are two trains an hour from Paddington / Reading. http://www.nationalexpress.com/assets/uploads/pdf/timetables/403.pdf
It makes a big difference which terminal you're arriving in when you look at coaches. There are now coaches from the outer terminals (5 and 4) but the service is longer and more expensive - at least it was when we went last year in May. Be sure to check schedule and prices from the main coach terminal (serves terminals 1-3) and transfer to 3 and walk to the station if you come in at 4 or 5. Your ticket should tell you which terminal you arrive into and Heathrow has a good interactive web page that shows how to get from A to B. http://www.heathrowairport.com/heathrow-airport-guide/travel-between-terminals The main coach terminal is a bit of walk from the terminals but it is well signed. The coach terminal is about like any bus station and I'm not sure it's the best introduction to a country - there is a coffe place and news stand with some snacks. But Bath is really nice and the second half of the trip (off the A road) is scenic. Also - take free walking tour in Bath, the Roman Baths are great (and extensive) and I enjoyed the tour and climb to the roof of the Abbey. Have a great trip!
If its me doing the journey, I dont take the coach. Even with the trip into Paddington to change trains, its still quicker to take the train to Bath. You could use either the Heathrow Connect or Heathrow Express service to get you into Paddington. Once there, you'll have a choice of two trains an hour to Bath. According to the National Rail website (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/) its roughly one hour, 32 minutes from Paddington to Bath. As you research, remember that your station for Bath is actually called Bath Spa. Your biggest problem with the coaches is that they have to deal with traffic on the roads. Depending on when you are traveling, traffic can be diabolical. Nigel, if he is around, may have further insight - but thats what I would do.
Tom took the words out of my mouth.
Betsy, agree with those saying the train is slick. We did this when going from Heathrow to Bath in June 2012 and it was convenient and easy.
I think the train would be more fun, and I see that it is a shorter journey time wise, but ooh! they do charge a lot for those tickets! Thanks everyone!