We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Fayetteville, North...
Level Contributor
22 posts
2 reviews
Save Topic
Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

I am in the States and will visit London soon for a 14 day Vacay. I read that the Oyster card is the best way to get around on the Tube there. I also read that after landing in Heathrow Airport that they have an express there that only takes about 15 min or so from Airport to central London. I have been on the websites and It will not let me buy them unless I am a resident of the UK (I was trying to have them sent to me, so all I had to do was redeem them). Does anyone know if there is another way to get them or a website I could go to where I could order them to be sent to me in the States?

London
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
20,731 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express is not covered by London's transport system and requires a separate ticket. It is probably better to buy any tickets for travel around London once here (no chance of ticket not arriving and no postage/delivery charges).

If you can say where you are staying and how many are travelling the best travel options will be easier to advise. In the mean time I suggest you check out your options and consult some good guidebooks.

http://www.visitlondon.com/travel/

Upminster, United...
Level Contributor
11,284 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

Firstly, the Heathrow Express take you to the very north west corner of central London and is only convenient if you are staying around Paddington. Also Oyster Cards are not valid on that train service.

You can buy an Oyster Card at Heathrow station for use on the underground into the real centre of London, that takes about 30 minutes, but is more frequent than the Express train.

Where are you staying and what do you plan to do, as there are various 2 for 1 offers which can be available if you buy the right ticket at the right place.

Cotswolds
Level Contributor
11,381 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

Buy your Oyster card on arrival. I've no doubt that buy paying a large fee and even larger mailing costs you could get one sent to you - but it's a waste of money.

As to the Heathrow Express, the Oyster isn't valid on it. You can buy tickets online and have them sent to you by e-mail. It's not necessarily the best way to get to central London

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
54,413 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

If you'll be in London for 14 days plus or minus a day trip or two then two seven day Travelcards may be a much better choice than using PAYG on Oyster.

Bought at an Underground station those Travelcards will be sold to you loaded on an Oyster card, to which you can add a bit of PAYG money for the journey from LHR in zone 6 to the boundary of zone 2, if you've booked a hotel in zones 1 or 2.

If you're travelling with another person then the matter of ticketing becomes one of using Travelcards loaded on Oyster (as sold by TfL) or paper Travelcards bought from a National Rail ticket office, as those latter cards can be used with the offers shown at www.daysoutguide.co.uk

Please let us know a bit more about your holiday: the hotel you've booked, whether you'll be travelling with another person and whether you'll use LHR as an arrival and departure point.

Fayetteville, North...
Level Contributor
22 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

Thank you all for your suggestions and advice for me. I will be traveling in Sept from about the 15-29. I am in the military currently deployed and I am taking My R&R leave (Rest and Recupment) in London because I have always wanted to go ( and the flight is free rountrip) :) I will be traveling by myself, and flying into and out of Heathrow. I was looking at Hotels in Central London that cost no more than $200 a night. But there is a Hotel outside of central london called the Crown Moran Hotel that has also caught my eye. I will also be doing a couple of day tours and visiting places outside of london like Hatfield House and Hampton Court. Plus of course all the attractions in London. I was trying to figure out how to buy an Oyster card when I get there. I will be a tourist traveling alone and I dont want to be too lost! So any advice you guys give me will be great! :)

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
65 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

I just bought a discounted Heathrow Express card using this link:

https://www.heathrowexpress.com/amex12

you do not need an Am Ex card to get the 33% discount. we are traveling next week.

If traveling befoer Sept 4th you can use this 40% discount link:

https:/…

Also I had no problem booking a hotel in central London (Picadilly) for $180 USD...The Sheraton Park Lane Hotel through Priceline Name your Own Bid. The Priceline Forums were very helpful. i dont think its a brilliant hotel, based on tHE reviews on TA, but it is listed as 5 star. Have a great trip!

UK
Level Contributor
49,561 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

Trouble is, the OP was working on the wrong premise, "express only takes about 15 min or so from Airport to central London". This is not correct. It takes 15-20 minutes (plus waiting time of course) to get to Paddington, which is not central London and requires an additional tube trip to their actual destination, which, judging by most posts here, Paddington is actually out of the way for!

For most people therefore, they might as well get the tube direct in the first place, it will be a third to half the cost, and perhaps take 15 minutes longer at worst for the overall journey.

For the others for whom Paddington is in their direction, if its more than one person (doesn't apply to the OP) a car service, door-to-door, will be same price or less, than HEX plus tube fares.

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
31,472 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

If you are travelling by yourself then when you arrive at LHR you get an Oystercard load it with a 7 day zone 1-2 Travelcard plus about £20 in cash to cover journeys outside the central zones 1-2 (where most attractions are). After a week load another 7 day zone 1-2 Travelcard onto it to cover the rest of the stay. For 99% of solo tourists that is the cheapest way to get around London.

You do not have to use the Heathrow Express as the Tube will get you into central London at a fraction of the cost of the HEX and for most people it won't save a significant amount of travel time (and depending on where you stay it may take longer)

London, United...
Level Contributor
24 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

The only advantage of the Heathrow Express is luggage. There is not much luggage space on the tube and it can get very crowded. You still have the problem of getting from Paddington to wherever your hotel is though and this would have to then be on the tube or by taxi depending on how much you want to spend.

You would need to pay for Heathrow Express (can be done on the train) and then seperately on the tube (£4.00 cash fare or £1.80 pay as you go on the oyster card). Other posters have given you very sound advice about the various oyster card options.

You might try staying somewhere in West London say Hammersmith where hotel prices may be more reasonable. This has easy access to both the Heathrow tube and Central london (about 20 mins to most Central London Touring sites and about 25 mins from Heathrow).

London, UK
Level Contributor
1,760 posts
186 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Oyster Card and Heathrow Express

I agree with LambethNorth. Most TA-ers will tell you to avoid the Heathrow Express but if you are travelling alone, have heavy luggage, are not on a tight budget and Paddington isn't hopelessly inconvenient for your hotel, it's completely painless as you just roll your luggage on at Heathrow and off again and to the taxi rank at Paddington. I use it all the time and you don't need to buy a ticket before boarding. However, if you are staying in West London or near any of the tube stations on the Piccadilly Line, you can save a good bit of money by using the tube and the journey won't necessarily take you any longer. You may have to negotiate stairs or escalators with your luggage though, and have a walk or have to hail a taxi on the street when you get off the tube. Post again when you have a hotel booked and you'll get more specific advice on which route to pick.