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Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

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Lincoln, Nebraska
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Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

We are renting a car at Heathrow (from Enterprise) and touring the West Country before returning for three days only in the city. I'd much prefer to stay above ground on the trip to London (why come to the world's greatest city and waste an hour or two inside some tunnels?).

Here are my questions:

1. If we buy an Oystercard online, can we redeem our e-voucher at a machine, or must we get it from a person? (Our flight arrives at 22.45, too late for a ticket office to be open.) If we don't have the card, can we board a bus with only a voucher?

2. Can we use the Oystercard on the train from either Heathrow to Paddington? OR if we take a bus to Feltham rail station, can we pay for our train fares from Feltham to Waterloo using an Oyster card?

3. If we take the train to Paddington (Heathrow Express?), can we easily leave the station and pick up Bus 148, or is the exit devoid of escalators and elevators so that luggage is a pain?

(We do travel light, but still . . .).

4. Bus 148 takes twice as long to our destination as the tube, but it goes past Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey, so I figure it's a cheap way to do a London tour in less than an hour. This would be late on a Friday afternoon. Is this a very bad idea?

All advice very much appreciated.

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

I'm not following your plans. If you are renting car on arrival at Heathrow you won't need an Oyster card at that time. You can get the Oyster when you return the car (at LHR?). Or am I missing something?

Oyster is not valid on the Heathrow Express or Connect to Paddington. It is valid on the Feltham route (both bus and train). Plus, Paddington is nowhere near Waterloo and the journey will take much longer.

It's generally not a good idea to pre-order visitor Oyster cards. The ones obtained in London require a deposit, but you get that back when you hand it back in (Visitor carries a non refundable £3 fee plus postage). And, if you plan on visiting London again, the proper Oyster is more flexible and allows 7 day travelcards to be loaded.

Which hotel have you booked at Waterloo? If it's one of those nearer County Hall I wouldn't rule out the tube to Westminster. Just under half (23 minutes out if 50-55) of the tube ride (Hounslow West to Barons Court) is above ground. And if the hotel is close to Westminster tube station the change to the District Line at Hammersmith is incredibly easy.

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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2. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

There is no benefit in buying any London transport tickets before arriving in London. The ticket office at the station serving LHR T1 and T3 (I suspect you will fly from ORD with AA) will be open until just before close of service and there will be staff at the ticket windows until 2315 -2330.

With a destination of Waterloo, travelling to Paddington will mean a trip to a terminus on the wrong side of the river; in any event Oyster cards are not accepted on the HEX nor for (when travelling on Connect) on the sector from Heathrow to Hayes & Harlington. Should you decide to take the HEX the train platforms are at concourse level; there is a not too steep ramp up to Praed Street for the bus stop. There won't be any views of Buckingham Palace on the route of the 148, all you will see are brick walls as the bus travels along Grosvenor Place.

The Underground will run at or above ground for 23 minutes of the 40 minute journey to Westminster station should you decide to take the Underground - it is a step free journey from the airport as well. Use the Bridge Street way out for excellent views of the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Hail a taxi for the trip across Westminster Bridge.

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

I wouldn't even bother with an Oyster Card at all, just purchase a daily zone 1-2 for while you are in central London. You will need to pay a bit extra to get into Central London from Heathrow.

You aren't missing anything by taking the tube into central Lodon to get to your hotel, unless you despareately want to see houses. If you take the tube from Heathrow to central London the first half is above ground anyway. You won't be spending an hour or two in tunnels as the trip from Heathrow is about 45 minutes and much faster than if you try a bus through central London. The benefit of taking the bus is that you'll get to see why people don't drive in central London if they can help it. The daily tickets will give you access to the buses, but you'll have more fun if you walk, weather permitting of coruse.

I normally change at Acton town to the District line as you only have to walk acrosse the platform to get on the train. There are no steps, but there are more stops than if you change at Hammersmith.

London
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4. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

"just purchase a daily zone 1-2 for while you are in central London. "

That ticket has been withdrawn

London
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5. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

Reiterate advice above. If you need to go from Heathrow to Waterloo, going via Paddington is daft.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

Really? What has it been replaced by?

TFL still have it listed. £9 Day anytime and £8.90 Day Off-Peak.

tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/tube-dlr-lo-adul…

What have I missed?

Lincoln, Nebraska
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7. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

Thank you for telling me to avoid Paddington, which I'd considered only because the HEX goes (I think) from T5.

What do I take instead?. I want to go to Waterloo because from there, it's about 5-10 min. walk to our hotel. However, I'm using Google maps to try to figure out a method of transport, and I'm really nonplussed about how to get from Enterprise (which is on the northern perimeter road above Heathrow, and just south of the Bath Road), to Waterloo station. Google maps says:

Walk to Bus 285 (a 20 min. walk for me with both luggage and bad feet). Take bus to Feltham, then the train from Reading to Waterloo.

That sounds like a good plan. Is it?

Presumably we need an Oyster card to get on the bus. Will the Oyster card be useful on the train, or should we purchase fares at the Feltham station?

Lincoln, Nebraska
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8. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

I made a couple of Murphy's Law assumptions ("if something can go wrong, it will"):

1. that we wouldn't be able to purchase an Oyster card from a machine (true or not?).

2. that ticket offices would be closed when we exited customs after a 22.45 arrival

3. that going back into Heathrow after leaving it just to buy an Oyster card would be very time-wasteful (yes? or no?)

From what agencies can one buy an Oyster card? Are they available from shops on the street? Can you get one at Windsor, or is that too far from London?

Thank you again for your advice.

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London
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9. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

If there are two of you, consider buying single fares to Waterloo, and then buying Travelcards from the National Rail station at Waterloo, which is upstairs.

Travelcards will give you unlimited travel on zones, as well as the 2-4-1 offers.

Read more here...

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186338-c195600/Londo…

London
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for London
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10. Re: Heathrow to Waterloo, Oyster cards

You can get Oystercards from any tube station (not just Heathrow's) and a vast number of small shops displaying the Ticket Stop logo. You can then load it with pay as you go, travelcards or a combination.

If the ticket office is closed when you arrive (and you may need it if you have a card which does not work in the ticket machine) you can just buy a single ticket. You could then get the Piccadilly line to Green Park then change to the Jubilee line for Waterloo. (Although it would help to know which hotel. Some are also served by Westminster for which there is an easier route by changing at Hammersmith for the District line).

HEX or Heathrow Connect via Paddington is expensive and out of your way.

If you arrive too late to make the tube (by the time you get through Immigration) you can get the night bus (N9) but to Aldwych and walk across Waterloo Bridge (perfectly safe) or hail a black cab to your hotel.

None of this will be eligible for the 2for1s so if they are of interest (see the article at the top right of the home page which is linked to in Laura's post above, you should just get singles from Heathrow and paper travelcards from Waterloo rail station.

Edited: 03 March 2014, 19:44