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Updated: October 7, 2020
Getting into London from Heathrow Airport
- The easiest way into the city is with a pre-booked car service (40 minutes into the city). City Transfers UK is well regarded, though there are many companies and they’re all pretty much the same. A hired car is surprisingly inexpensive when booked in advance and the best option for a family of 4 or more. Larger cars are available for bigger groups. One-way to or from Heathrow will be about £75.
- London Taxis (40 minutes) are notoriously expensive. Fare will vary depending on time of day and number of passengers, but walking out the door of the airport and hopping in a taxi will almost assuredly cost more than arranging a hired car.
- Tube (45 minutes) is the cheapest. The Piccadilly line connects Heathrow with central London, with station stops at all airport terminals. If your hotel isn’t directly on the Picadilly line, you will require a transfer. The tube doesn’t have any dedicated spots for luggage, so if you have a lot, it will be a pain (and there will be stairs to contend with on the London end.) A one way trip on the tube will be between £3 and £6 depending on the time of day. Buy an Oyster card at the airport to make it cheaper.
- The Heathrow Express (15 minutes) can be a good option if you’re staying near Paddington Station. Otherwise, it’s just expensive – and requires another tube or taxi trip to get to your hotel or destination.
The Best Hotels at London Heathrow Airport
- Crowne Plaza – Connected by covered walkway to Terminal 4. Fitness center; dining options include a brasserie, tea room, bar, and impressive breakfast buffet.
- Holiday Inn Express – Basic but comfortable accommodations, free breakfast buffet. Connected to Terminal 4 via a covered bridge.
- Premier Inn – Directly attached to Terminal 4 via covered walkway. Comfortable beds, on-site restaurant and bar.
- Hilton Garden Inn – Attached to Terminal 2; within easy walking distance of Terminal 3 via pedestrian underpass. Fitness center and rooftop bar.
- Aerotel London Heathrow – Nothing fancy, but beds are comfortable and it’s located directly inside Terminal 3, an easy walk from Terminal 2.
- Staybridge Suites – Located about a mile from Heathrow, with free airport shuttle. All rooms feature kitchenettes.
- Radisson Blu Edwardian – Located 5 minutes from Heathrow, this is the most luxurious hotel near the airport. Beautiful facilities, fine dining, fitness center, spa.
Getting into the London from Gatwick Airport
- The best way between Gatwick and London is the Gatwick Express train service (30 minutes each way). It’s the cheapest and fastest, and there’s no good reason to use any other transport. Trains run every 15 minutes between Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal and London Victoria Station. One way fares are £29 for adults and £15 for children age 5 to 15. Save money and hassle by booking ahead online.
- If you want to take a taxi, do yourself a favor and book a hired car in advance and cut the cost in half.
The Best Hotels at London Gatwick Airport
- Hotel Sofitel – Connected to Gatwick’s North Terminal by a short, covered walkway, and by monorail to the South Terminal. Fine dining, rooftop bar, fitness center, excellent service.
- Premier Inn – Located at the North Terminal (450 ft away by foot), with easy monorail access to the South Terminal. Breakfast buffet, bar, 24-hour coffee shop, live in-lobby flight updates.
- Hampton by Hilton – Directly connected via covered walkway to the North Terminal and accessible to South Terminal via monorail. On-site restaurant, bar, and fitness center; free breakfast buffet from 4am.
- Bloc Hotel – Modern, efficient, and comfortable accommodations located right inside the South Terminal.
- Maple Manor Hotel – Cozy and home-like boutique hotel located 2.5 mi away from the airport’s South Terminal. Garden setting, great restaurant and breakfast, on-site parking.