a VirtualTourist member from New York State
Can anyone help me figure out the best way to get from London Heathrow airport to Westminster Abbey (transportation options and/or simplest directions)? I am renting a car for my trip around England but I would rather not drive it into London unless it is easy to do. I also would rather not use a taxi if possible. Any help would be great :-)
Wise decision not to take your car into Central London because of parking availability and the Congestion fee charge. There are several ways to get to Westminster.
1) Tube from Heathrow on thr Picadilly Line, changing at Picadilly Circus to the Bakerloo Line then getting off two stops at Embankment, then change to Circle or District Line and get off the next stop at Westminster where the Abbey is a short walk. Cost i think will be around £5.50
20) Take the more expensive Heathrow Express to Paddington, then Circle Line to Westminster , prob cost £20 or £25 depending if you purchase your tkt from a machine or on board + tube fare
3) National Express bus to Viictoria which leaaves frequently costing from £6 and upwards, walk a few hundred meters and catch the tube for a couple of stops to Westminster.
4) Pre-book a mini-cab from as little as £30 where the driver will be waiting to meet you at Heathrow, holding a board with your name on it, but if you are late you will probably have to pay waiting time and car park fees.
it is upto you which you feel is the best method, cost versus convenience and time
If you are flying into LHR, there is a train station right at the airport. On our very first trip to London, we easily hopped on the train and zipped directly into the center of London. It's inexpensive, fast and easy and I highly recommend it. Type London Tube into the VT Search Window above and I'm sure several members have given detailed instructions. We just followed signs. It's all well marked and there are plenty of places to ask for information in LHR.
Enjoy London . . . and the Tube.
Aha. We were typing at the same time. I knew someone would give you specific directions. Don't worry about finding your way; it's easy. And davidjo is correct, the car would be a nightmare in central London, a very expensive nightmare. They have great public transportation. After we got into town, we used buses mostly because we wanted to see as much as possible. We also walked a LOT. Enjoy.
One thing that is available to answer questions such as yours is a much-improved Google Maps "Public Transportation" tab. I just went there and typed in "Heathrow Airport" as start and "Westminster Abbey" as destination and it told me same thing as first reply above.
My point being, I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with this expanding feature on Google Maps. It worked great for me in Budapest last year, too.
A slightly more direct way to get there by tube from Heathrow would be to take the Piccadilly line to Hammersmith where you can change to the District line (towards Upminster, Barking or Tower Hill) on the same platform and get off at Westminster. Fergy (planxty) tells me that you can also easily make the change at Acton Town but I always do it at Hammersmith.
Cash fare for Heathrow to Westminster is 5.50, if you are traveling after 9:30am during the week or any time on the weekend you can get a one day off peak travelcard for 8.90£
I checked on the London transport website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/) to see what they suggest, if you select the tube only option their 1st suggestion is changing at South Kensington (58 minutes), the 2nd suggestion is the one I gave you (53 minutes). The more train changes you have the more possibility of delays .If you change at South Kensington you can take the Circle Line towards Victoria
or District Line towards Barking Underground Station or District Line towards Tower Hill Underground Station or District Line towards Upminster Underground Station (the District line train is the same train, but some of the trains don't go as far)
The Heathrow Express only saves you a few minutes and costs £20/£34 return plus you'd still have to pay for the tube ride from Paddington to Westminster.
One advantage of changing from Piccadilly line to District line at Hammersmith is that they are at the same platform at ground level. Saves humping bags up and down stairs or escalators.
Overall that route takes about the same time as the expensive Heathrow Express option and at less than half of the cost.
I'm not sure why TFL gives South Kensington as the 1st suggestion, it's further into London meaning more crowded trains and less chance of a seat and I don't believe the connection is as easy as Hammersmith where the trains are on the same platform. It's a really easy transfer at Hammersmith if you have luggage.
www.tfl.gov.uk is a really useful site. It will tell how to get from anywhere in London to anywhere else using postcodes address or stations or bus stops. If you get a off peak travel card you can use it to travel all day within the specified zones. If you are going to be in London more than five minutes, then get an oyster card. They cut the cost of travel like wow and the time spent paying for tickets.
Yes, I would definitely opt for taking the Piccadilly Line and changing at Hammersmith or at Barons Court, both of which give you the simplest possible change without any steps - you simply cross the platform (personally I prefer Barons Court because it is quieter). Westminster Station can be confusing, with lots of exits, but they are labelled with the nearest key buildings to each so look for the one marked for the Abbey. If it is the Abbey itself you are aiming for, St James' Park station is much easier to navigate and no further to walk, if you take the exit marked Broadway that's near the front of the train (as you arrive from Heathrow) - just walk straight ahead along Tothill Street (about five minutes) and you will find yourself opposite the Abbey - see here: http://goo.gl/maps/60iXw
I live on the Heathrow branch of the Piccidilly line and used to do that journey daily for work, so believe me, I know the quickest and simplest route!! The two Tube changes suggested in the first answer are over-complicating things, and the other options are all dearer and no easier (apart from the cab, but unless you have a mountain of baggage and/or considerable walking difficulties, that is an unnecessary expense in my view).
Just my experience but I always seem to get turned around when heading out of St. James' Park's tube station, if I didn't have a map I would never figure out where the heck I was. Plus I think it's wonderful walking out of the tube station and seeing the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben's clock tower, it's almost impossible not to find Westminster Abbey coming from that direction.
When you are done at the Abbey, if you have time, St. James' Park is beautiful and you can walk through it to get to see Buckingham Palace. There's a stunning view of the Palace from a bridge midway through and you can photograph the London Eye looking the other direction.
You have so many suggestions here already so all I can do is to confirm that the tube is your best option. The TFL website as suggested by Ardalean is great. You can view the times, estimated length of the journey etc and if there are any delays you will immediate see that there as well. Enjoy your trip.