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London - Which line to stay by?

We are coming into London on the Eurostar from Brussels. We are staying 3 nights and then leaving for home from LHR. We are looking at two hotels. #1 is by Lambeth North on the Bakerloo line. Access to attractions is good, know nothing of area. We would take the Picadilly line to Bakerloo to reach hotel and then backwards to get to LHR. This seems easiest for sightseeing, maybe not the best to get to from Eurostar. #2 is by Kings Cross/St Pancras on the Victoria line. This would make it easy to get to hotel from Eurostar. However, I'm not sure how easy it is to get to the Picadilly line (looks like Victoria sort of crosses Picadilly) to get to LHR. Also, is it easy to get to the sights from this line? What's the neighborhood like? We are wanting an easy to walk neighborhood, one with at least some kind of grocery store and modestly priced, good restaurants.

Posted by
180 posts

If I stay at the airport, am I able to hop on the Tube any time? Here's my train of thought - we check into our hotel in the afternoon and then want to take the Tube back to town.. and then in the evening ride it back to LHR and get the shuttle to the hotel. Is it possible to do this since we aren't going through security and onto/off of a flight?

Posted by
403 posts

Yes, but remember that the London Underground closes around midnight, unlike New York. I can't see why you would stay the whole time out at Heathrow, though. Part of the joy of visiting London is roaming around your hotel neighborhood, and Heathrow is always only 15 minutes away by train from Paddington or 1 hour by Tube from anywhere in central London. I have stayed many times in Bloomsbury, a few minutes walk from KC/St Pancras. The Russell Square stop of the Piccadilly Line is there, there is a small shopping center with a supermarket between the rail station and the RS tube stop, and the area is very academic (University of London, British Museum) and pleasant.

Posted by
180 posts

I'm trying to decide whether to stay at the airport or not (just the night before our flight, not our whole time in London). Considering the tube doesn't start running until 5:30 and we need to be to the airport around there for our flight, its a tough decision. I know there is the express train, but $55 to the airport one way seems a bit much when the tube is considerably cheaper. I'm trying to figure out if I want the hassle of leaving the hotel super early to get on the tube, whether I want to pay for the express, and/or whether I want to stay by the airport.

Posted by
317 posts

Jennifer, I do this journey a lot. Yes, the Tube map is not quite clear. If its me, I stay near Kings Cross/St Pancras. You can catch the Piccadilly Line right there, and within an hour, be at Heathrow. Piccadilly Line drops you right at Kings Cross. Further, if you were up for a splurge, you could take the Hammersmith & City or Circle to Paddington, then catch the Heathrow Express (15 minutes from Paddington to Heathrow). Can save you ~20 minutes if needed (depending, of course on the Tube). Hope this helps!

Posted by
180 posts

Thanks, that helps a lot and saves some $$. We just might take the express train since our flight leaves at 8:30 in the morning... or would it be better to spend a night at LHR?

Posted by
317 posts

The advantage of staying at a hotel near Heathrow is that you dont have to get up so early. The disadvantage is sometimes price. Figure - if you have an 830 flight, two hours early is 630, and an hour to get across town is 530. Balance that against a hotel close to the airport (walking or shuttle/cab) and you might save a little sleep. If you are really looking to save time, I might recommend staying near Paddington. The Express is quick in the morning, and it saves you lugging across town, and yet not paying hotel rates at the airport. the other thing being 'in town' does for you is it lets you sightsee, and yet still be ready for the trip home. If you are at the airport, you'd have to get to town to sightsee.

Posted by
180 posts

Thanks, there is a hotel by Paddington.. but I thought I'd read that the area was so-so. Maybe I could do 2 nights at Kings Cross & 1 at Paddington? If the Paddington neighborhood is decent (feel safe walking at night and has decent restaurants).. I'd be fine staying there all 3.

Posted by
317 posts

Depends on your standards, I guess. I've never known anyone (including several single females) to have an issue in the Paddington area - and have read the same warnings you have. The standard rules apply. Be sensible, and you'll be fine. As an alternate, you might try staying along Bayswater Road - there is a Thistle Hotel (Thistle Kensington Gardens) that is generally good value and just a few minutes from the station - about a 20 minute walk or a short cab ride (1 mile). Also, lots of nice pubs and restaurants in the area.

Posted by
3813 posts

"If I stay at the airport, am I able to hop on the Tube any time?" Yes. You do not have to take the expensive express. Take the slower train into London. Normally, I would agree 100% with Roe, and say stay in London and enjoy that last evening. But I'm concerned that you might miss your flight in the morning. It all depends on how accustomed you are to getting up really early, about 4:00 in the morning. That's what time I think you'd have to get up, in order to get all your bags out of your room, last check around the room for items about to be accidentally left in the room, get down to the front desk & checked out, get to the train or tube station, get on the first train out at 5:30 AM. If that sounds just fine to you, and you enjoy being an early riser (some people do), then I would follow Roe's advice. If that does not sound like something you could do, think you may want to stay by the airport that last night. The Hilton, which I recommend, is connected to Terminal 5, and it is easy to travel between terminals.

Posted by
403 posts

I must have misunderstood. Certainly I have no problem with spending the last night at an airport hotel. In addition to the Heathrow Express train and the tube, there is a third option. The Heathrow Connect train is slower than the Express and faster than the tube and costs about 9 pounds one way. Checking online, it appears that the first train of the day leaves Paddington at 4:42 am, and they run pretty late as well. But staying the final night at the airport takes all of the rush and worry out of the departure, so for that one night it might be just as well to stay at heathrow. However, unless you are staying at the Yotel or at the Hilton, your hotel will not actually be at Heathrow, but some distance away connected by shuttle bus. You might find that Paddington and the train get you to your terminal in about the same time.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi, I vote for choice #2. At Kings Cross you have access to three Tube lines, one direct to LHR. To Buckingham Palace, the theater area, Chinatown, Soho it's direct from KC. To Paddington from KC you have to change at least once. Since I stay in the Kings Cross area, ( Argyle Street and Argyle Square has one B&B after another, ) I take the bus #205 to Padddington, ca. 25-30 mins, then take the Heathrow Express to LHR. It all works if you time it right. Last summer I spent the night night at Paddington, tons of hotels in the area, then took the Healthrow Express in the morning to LHR. What time is your flight from LHR? It may be a good move to spend the last night at Paddington, saves you time in the morning. About the area of Lambeth North...the Imperial War Museum is located there, it's the stop for that museum. For the sights and getting to LHR, choice #2 is your best bet. No need to worry about the neigborhood. It's an area criss-crossed with security cameras.

Posted by
317 posts

Should have mentioned yesterday in my reply - If you want slightly faster than the Tube, but not the expense of the Express, Heathrow Connect is also an option. Runs about 9 GBP one way, and there are trains the time of morning you would need to depart for Heathrow. If you stay relatively close to Paddington, you don't have to worry about switching hotels, and still get to stay in town.

Posted by
180 posts

Thanks everyone! We've decided to stay two nights at Kings Cross and the last night at Paddington. We're going to take the Heathrow Connect, which I had forgotten about. Seems like a great in-the-middle choice that will get us to LHR in plenty of time! We didn't do too shabby on the budget either, originally budgeting $750 for the 3 nights and then chose a cheap hotel, for a grand total of $290 for the 3 nights.