London Underground from Heathrow Airport
Picadilly Line -part of the London Underground network- handles rides from and to Heathrow Airport, linking London’s main airport to various parts of the city. Verily, Heathrow tube runs to several of London’s rail stations while providing handy connections to other subway lines or rail links. That fact, combined with its low-cost fares, makes Heathrow Underground one of the most preferred ways to travel from Heathrow Airport to London.
What is the tube in London? The tube is London Underground. In other words, the tube is the subway system serving the city of London.
The Schedule of the Picadilly Line from Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Underground operates approximately from 05:00 am to 11:30 pm. Nevertheless, on Friday and Saturday nights, the Night Tube serves late-night LHR passengers. Still, it doesn’t call at Heathrow terminal 4. Explicitly, the timetable of Heathrow airport subway is:
Heathrow Underground from T2/T3 (Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3)
- Monday to Thursday: Heathrow Underground runs from 05:12 am to 11:45 pm.
- Friday: It operates from 05:12 am to 03:07 am.
- Saturday: It is available from 03:17 am to 03:07 am
- Sunday: Its first route is at 03:17 am and its last at 11:20 pm.
Heathrow Underground from T4
- Monday to Thursday: Picadilly Line operates from 05:02 am to 11:35 pm.
- Friday: It runs from 05:02 am to 11:37 am.
- Saturday: It is available from 05:06 am to 11:38 am.
- Sunday: Its first route is at 05:42 am and its last at 10:37 pm.
Our Tip: The Night Heathrow Tube doesn’t serve T4!
Heathrow Underground from T5
- Monday to Thursday: Heathrow Underground runs from 05:22 am to 11:42 pm.
- Friday: It has available routes from 05:22 am to 03:04 am.
- Saturday: It operates from 03:14 am to 03:04 am
- Sunday: Its first route is at 03:14 am and its last at 11:25 pm.
The Night Bus N9 from Heathrow Airport
When the Night Tube doesn’t operate, LHR passengers can take the Night Bus N9 to London. The Night Bus runs 7 days a week. However, although available on Friday and Saturday nights as well, it is a much more time-consuming option than the Heathrow airport subway.
The bus calls at T5 and Heathrow Central Bus Station (close to T2 and T3) from midnight to 05:00 am (from Monday to Thursday), from 11:40 pm to 05:00 am on Fridays, and from 11:40 pm to 05:25 am on Saturdays. On Sunday nights, it is available from midnight to 05:00 am. Overall, it runs every 30 minutes. However, it doesn’t handle night rides from and to T4.
The Heathrow Underground Frequency
In general terms, Picadilly Line runs every 5 to 10 minutes. It is more frequent during peak hours and slightly scarcer at other times. It needs approximately 50 minutes to reach downtown London. Rides from T5 are 3-5 minutes longer.
Where are the London Underground Stations at LHR Airport
London Heathrow Airport has 3 London Underground Stations. The Heathrow Terminal 2 and 3 Station lies between the two terminals within a few-minute walking distance from each terminal’s doors. The station in T4 is to be found below the Arrivals floor, and the T5 London Underground Station is at the basement level of the terminal building.
The Picadilly Line’s Fares and Prices
Overall, the price of a Picadilly Line ticket is more affordable when using an Oyster Card or a Travelcard and when opting for contactless payment. Thus, single tickets and cash payments come with a higher fare. That being said, you’ll have the following options to pay for your Heathrow Underground fare:
- Paper Tickets
Paper tickets (single tickets) can be bought from the ticket offices and the automatic vendors located at LHR terminals. Ticket desks operate from 05:00 am to midnight. The Picadilly Line fare is slightly more expensive when opting for a paper ticket. Hence, a ticket from LHR Airport lying in Zone 6 to downtown London (Zone 1) is priced at 6.70£/7.80€/8.30$. However, it is a value-for-money option if you don’t plan on ever using London’s public transit modes again during your stay.
London is divided into different public transit zones. In fact, it is split into 9 zones. London Heathrow Airport is located in Zone 6, whereas Zones 1 and 2 is central London.
- Oyster Cards
Transport for London Oyster Cards are widely used by Londoners. They are smart cards that can be topped up with cash or Travelcards. They are rechargeable as well. Oyster Cards can be used throughout all of London’s public transit network (tube, bus, tram, DLR, London’s Overground, Elizabeth Line, some National Rail Lines, Cloud Cable Car, and Thames Clippers River Bus).
Their cost is 7£/8.10€/8.65$ and mainly operate via the “pay as you go” system. Thus, they have daily caps, meaning that no matter the number of journeys, you can be charged a maximum fare per day. Moreover, you are to pay the most affordable fares (according to your category) for each ride. Once exceeding that cap limit, you are no longer charged for any onward rides up to 04:29 am the next day. The daily cap is calculated based on various factors (the journeys’ duration, the traversed zones, the time of the day, etc.). Hence, the daily cap for a day’s traveling around Zones 1-6 is 14.90£/17.30€/18.50$.
Fares for London’s public modes of transit are usually higher during peak hours (6:30 am to 09:30 am and 04:00 pm to 07:00 pm) and lower at other times and during weekends. Moreover, rides from stations outside Zone 1 to Zone 1 from 04:00 pm to 07:00 pm are charged the off-peak-hour fares even on weekdays.
If you settle on an Oyster Card, you should keep in mind to touch it in before your ongoing travel and out after disembarking at the alighting station (even if the gates are open). You’ll spot the yellow card readers scattered in all London Underground Stations. This is crucial for the “pay as you go” system to work properly. Verily otherwise, you risk being charged the maximum fare.
Moreover, even though Oyster Cards can be used by multiple passengers, they can’t be used for the same journey. Conversely, they can be used by more than one passengers for different rides. Children under 11 can travel out of charge. As a matter of fact, 4 children per adult can travel for free. On the other hand, kids aged 11-15 are entitled to a discount. Thus, they can buy an Oyster Card and add the discount.
With a Zip Oyster Photocard (a photo is required as suggested by the name), children between 5 and 10 years of age are allowed to travel for free. Nevertheless, you’ll have to pay a 10£/11.60€/12.40$ administration fee, when 4 kids younger than 11 per paying adult travel for free anyway.
Oyster Cards are available from the airport’s Ticket Stops, the automatic machines, and the stations’ ticket kiosks. Moreover, you can buy them from the T2/T3 Visitor Center (operating on weekdays, from 09:00 am to 04:30 pm). All in all, your London Underground ride from Heathrow Airport to the city center will cost you 5.60£/6.50€/7$ if paying via an Oyster Card.
- London Travelcards
Alternatively, you can pay your Heathrow Underground fares with London Travelcards. They are paper tickets that can be bought online (through the VisitBritain Shop) before your upcoming trip to London. After buying them, they are going to be delivered to your address. They offer unlimited journeys with all public modes of transit and a 33% discount on the Thames Clipper River Bus. Although you can opt for a Travelcard for Zones 1-4, a Travelcard for Zones 1-6 will be required for your airport ride. You can also purchase a 1, 2, or 3 -day Travelcard depending on your needs. The cost of a 1-day Travelcard for Zones 1-6 is 15.20£/17.60€/18.80$. Travelcards can be loaded to Oyster Cards. In that case, even if you want to travel to a zone not included in your Travelcard package, you can make use of the Oyster Card’s benefits. With a Travelcard, you are also going to be charged 5.60£/6.50€/7$ for your ride to the city center.
- Visitor Oyster Cards
Travelers arriving in London usually choose a Visitor Oyster Card for their public rides around the city. Visitor Oyster Cards must be bought in advance (online). Verily, they are rechargeable smart cards valid for all public transit means that are sent to your address after completing the purchase procedure. They are priced at a 5£/5.80€/6.20$ fee but can’t be topped up with Travelcards. In general terms, they cost from 5£/17.40€/18.60$ (for an actual credit of 10£/11.60€/12.40$ if removing the 5£/5.80€/6.20$ fare) to 55£/63.70€/68$ (a 50£/58€/62$ credit). Moreover, they offer discounts for various London restaurants, shops, and attractions.
The “pay as you go” system also applies to Visitor Oyster Cards. Thus, your Heathrow Underground fee will be 5.60£/6.50€/7$. As a result, you’ll have to touch them in at the airport’s London Underground Stations and out at your destination station.
- Contactless Payments
One of the most popular payment methods for the Heathrow airport subway is contactless payments. Hence, you can use your back card, smartwatch, mobile phone, etc. to touch in and out at the London Underground Stations. Nevertheless, you’ll have to use the same device to touch in and out if you want to be surely charged the better fare.
When Heathrow Airport Subway isn’t Recommended
Heathrow Underground isn’t always recommended. Indeed, travelers with mobility issues or heavy luggage may have to think twice before settling on the Heathrow airport subway for their ride to downtown London, at least during peak hours. Hence, although rather efficient and affordable, Picadilly Line tends to get crowded during rush hours, while downtown stations also get congested during that time, making alighting difficult. Moreover, the Heathrow Underground isn’t equipped with luggage racks. On the other hand, many city’s subway stations don’t have lifts. Thus, passengers have to use stairs or escalators.
Does Heathrow have a subway?
Picadilly Line runs from LHR Airport, efficiently linking it to various parts of London. Heathrow airport subway departs from all LHR terminals. Verily, Heathrow Terminal 2 and 3 Station serves T2 and T3, whereas the T4 and T5 London Underground Stations lie under the Arrivals levels.
What is the easiest way to get from Heathrow to London?
One of the most value-for-money options for rides from LHR Airport is Heathrow Underground. Verily, all Heathrow terminals house London Underground Stations, while Picadilly Line runs from 05:00 am to midnight (around the clock on Friday and Saturday nights, yet not from T4). What’s more, the ticket fare for Heathrow airport subway from LHR to downtown is 5.60£/6.50€/7$ when using Oyster Cards, Travelcarts, or opting for contactless payments.
Where and how to buy subway tickets at Heathrow?
If you are looking for the top value-for-money options for your subway ride from Heathrow, you should opt for a Visitor Oyster Card or a Travelcard. However, you’ll have to pre-buy either of these cards and wait for them to be delivered to your house. Alternatively, you can use contactless payments for your journey with Heathrow Underground. In all cases, you can expect a 5.60£/6.50€/7$ fare. Conversely, if you buy a ticket from the ticket kiosks or the airport’s automatic machines, you’ll be charged 6.70£/7.80€/8.30$.