Dave the Taxi Driver's
Guide to London
London Heathrow Airport is situated about 15 miles (24 kilometres) west of Central London. Heathrow is extremely busy all day, especially early morning around 6.00am, and so is the traffic on all the approaches. If you have arrived exceptionally early for your flight or are meeting anyone then there is plenty to occupy you while you are waiting. All terminals are equipped with Information Desks, shops, bookstores, coffee shops, internet, telephones and toilets. There are five Terminals at Heathrow. Terminal 5 opened in March 2008. It is the exclusive terminal for British Airways Flights. Some flights however will remain at Terminal 4(North America and Asia) and some at Terminal 3( air partnerships).
The M4 Motorway (Junction 4) is the main access from London to Terminals 1,2 and 3. The A4 runs roughly parallel( see map).
From Central London Terminal 5 is reached via theA4 then the M4 Motorway and the M25. Follow the signs beyond the Junction 4 exit for Terminals 1,2 &3 until you reach the slip road for the M25 south/anticlockwise (Junction 15).Terminal 5 is signposted at the next Junction(14) (A3113). It is much quicker this way and there is a great view from the terminal. You can see Windsor Castle and for miles around in all directions.
The M25, which has road connections to all over the country is 3 miles west of the Heathrow Main Terminal Area.
The A30, Great South West Road leads to Terminal 4. M25 access to Terminal 4 is Junction 14 (A3113). You can also exit the M4 at Junction 3 (A312)for Terminal 4.
Whatever time you arrive at Heathrow, if you have an appointment in Central London, you will need to allow at least one hour to arrive at your desired destination if you are travelling by road. If you are going to the City of London or further east such as Canary Wharf, then allow up to two hours to be on the safe side. The same goes for when you are leaving.
Licensed London Black Taxis can use the outside lane of the M4 Motorway on the way in to London, which is quicker. These are available at the designated Taxi Ranks at each Terminal. Be aware that Taxis between 20.00pm and 22.00 Taxis will cost slightly more and 22.00hrs until 6.00hrs the night rate applies which is more expensive. Expect to pay £45 to £65 between West London to The City. From Terminal 5 allow for a few pounds more. Prices increase by a few per cent each year.
For trips out to local areas and Home counties fares can be negotiated with the driver. Information can be obtained from the following:-
If you have booked a Private Hire Car (Minicab) to convey you to London or you are driving yourself, then that will take longer because of the traffic on the way in.
If you are approached by anyone in the Airport offering you a taxi you will have been touted. This is illegal. I advise you to ignore anyone who might approach you. If you ride with these touts you will be charged exorbitant prices and you will not be insured.
Heathrow Airport is the last destination on the London Underground Piccadilly Line. There are thee stops Heathrow Central for Terminals 1,2 &3, then onto Terminal 5. Terminal 4 is on a separate loop and returns to central London from Terminals 1,2 &3. Trains are every 5 minutes at peak times and every 9 minutes off peak and at weekends. From London it is reckoned that you need to allow three minutes for every stop so that will give you an idea of how long it will take you from wherever you get on. Allow about one hour to or from the Central Area. (See London Tube Map).
The Heathrow Express (Tel:+ 44 (0)845 600 1515) is rail service runs from Heathrow Terminal 5 via Terminals 1,2 &3 and onto London Paddington Station. The journey takes fifteen minutes, but up to 30 minutes from Terminal 4 allowing for the shuttle train transfer. Trains depart every 15 minutes. Hours of operation are 5.00h until 23.50. Take the free shuttle train to connect with the Heathrow Express if you are at Terminal4 (every 10- 20 minutes).
You can buy Meeter and Greeter tickets if you are seeing someone off and not flying yourself and Carnet Tickets.
From Paddington to Terminal 4 you will need to change at Heathrow Central.
Heathrow Connect (Tel+ 44 (0)845 678 6975) is a stopping rail service to Central London from Terminals 1,2 and 3 again terminating at Paddington. Stops are Hayes, Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway. Hours of operation 5.22 to 00.30. Trains every 30 minutes. 25 minutes to Central London. Take the Heathrow Express from Terminals 1,2 &3 free to transfer to or from Terminal 5.
Please bear in mind that if there are several people travelling on the Heathrow Express or the Heathrow Connect even though the journey might be quicker to Central London, it is likely to become more expensive and slower that you would like, because when you get off at Paddington Station, there will almost certainly be a long queue at the Taxi Rank from where you will probably need to continue your journey. In addition three or four people on the Heathrow Express plus a Taxi fare is likely to be more expensive than a Taxi direct to your final destination.
A Taxi-sharing system is in operation from Paddington between 08.30 until10.30 weekdays. This speeds up the process of queuing and will cost you less than the normal full fare. You can take your own separate Taxi if you want to.
The Tube will be cheaper if you are on your own, but you will have the hassle of carrying your luggage everywhere and you might have to take a Black Cab when you arrive at the station you want.
Hotel Hoppa buses will take you from Terminals 1,2 and 3 to local hotels and return at a cost of a few pounds. Take the Heathrow Connect free shuttle train transfer to and from Terminal 4. The Central Bus Station is located next to Heathrow Central Tube station by terminals 1,2 and 3.
Also there are free buses from the Central Bus Station to local hotels which are situated on the perimeter roads and locally along the Bath Road. This area is called the free zone. Tell the driver where you are going because you will have to pay if you go further. Free buses also operate from the new Bus and Coach Station at Terminal 5 to Terminal 4 (stands 6 or 9).
National Express Coaches Tel +44(0)8705 808080 operate services to Central London (Victoria ) Gatwick Airport and destinations throughout the UK. There is a ticket office in the Central Bus Station and at Terminal 4 opposite the arrivals on the ground floor.
National Express also have their Dot 2 Dot minibus service which you can book for a door to door service such as to your hotel. I need to point that the claims of Dot2Dot are not entirely accurate. They claim they are cheaper than a Taxi to Central London. I assume a London Taxi as they are the only ones allowed to pick up from Heathrow. Any other booking is Private Hire. Their claim is only true if up to three passengers use the service. For four passengers or more up to six passengers (which can be carried in many Metrocabs and Mercedes Taxis) their individual fares added together exceed those of London Taxis. A taxi fare to Canary Wharf for six people will usually be less than half of the Dot2Dot fare. For four people it will be about £30 cheaper unless their prices drastically change. Taxi fares are affected by traffic conditions.
Dot2Dot are however smart, new, comfortable and hi-tech with wi-fi.
Green Line No 724 is a service to from Central Bus Station to Harlow, Essex via Uxbridge, Watford, St.Albans, Hatfield,Welwyn Garden City and Hertford. Hours are 06.20 to22.30.
In each terminal there are signs to point you in the right direction for your chosen method of travel. There is a group of rail companies that operate the Railair system. They provide coach links to Reading, Feltham, Woking and Watford from the Central Bus Station which is open 24 hours and from Terminal 5. Ongoing connections to other destinations are from these termini.
Follow signs to the Underground and Central Bus Station. If you arrive at Terminal 4 you need to take the Heathrow Connect shuttle service to Terminals 1,2 and 3 which is free between Terminals. The N97 night bus links Heathrow with London overnight (every 30 minutes).
Hotelink is a private door to door minibus service connecting to London Hotels. Hotelink Information desks are at Terminals 3 and 4. At Terminals1 and 2 information can be obtained at the Airport Information Desks.
My name is David Bromiley. I have been a Licensed London Taxi Driver for many years having passed the famous ‘Knowledge of London’ back in 1984. As many will already know, the ‘Knowledge’ is the strictest testing system for prospective taxi drivers in the world. As I am an Official London Guide it will be my pleasure to escort you on private tours of London, during which you can ask as many questions as you like and stop to take photographs wherever you want to. There are various aspects of London life that can be incorporated into a tour with a particular theme. Whatever you would like to do just contact me at my email address below. I hope to meet you soon. firstname.lastname@example.org
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