As much as I love saving so I can buy dividend-paying stocks, I also love travelling. If I can travel cheaply enough, it means that I can travel more often, and one of my favourite places is London. There are many ways to get from Heathrow airport into London with rather different prices. There is, of course, a taxi (gasp! Costs a fortune!), but there are also three different train systems connecting the airport with the centre.
The mostly heavily promoted is the Heathrow Express. It is known to be one of the most expensive rail journeys in Europe based on price per mile travelled. It is the fastest service, it takes 20 minutes to get to Paddington and it leaves every 20 minutes. Sometimes there are deals that make it a bit more reasonable, such as a 3-for-2 deal (when travelling as a group of 2 I have found a stranger about to pay at the kiosk willing to participate so that we all save). Kids under 16 go free with a paying adult. More details here: Heathrow Express
A return trip will cost £40, or £35 if purchased online in advance.
However, for half the price you can take the Heathrow Connect. It uses the same tracks as the Heathrow Express. It costs £10.10 each way, or £20.20 return. The difference is that it leaves every half hour (instead of every 20 minutes, though be aware it’s only every hour on Sundays) and makes 5 stops before it gets to Paddington, making the journey a whole 10 minutes longer. Details can be found here: Heathrow Connect
Both trains take you to Paddington Station, which is great if that’s where you wish to end up. From there you’re probably looking at another Tube journey which will cost about £3, in which case you might be better off just taking the Tube in from Heathrow. (more on getting the most out of Tube fare in London in another post)
The Tube to Central London from Heathrow costs £5.70 each way, and can cost £3 (or £5 if you travel between 06:30 and 09:30 Monday to Friday) with a prepaid Oyster card. It probably takes 45-50 minutes to get to Central London, which might work out to be similar in timing to the trains depending on where you’re going if you need to change to the underground at Paddington anyhow. Details can be found here: London Underground
Of course, all of this will change when Crossrail is completed in a few years’ time. It is expected that Connect will be absorbed into Crossrail, likely making it even cheaper.