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England: London (Heathrow)
Heathrow Airport (LHR)
BEST WAY DOWNTOWN: High-speed train

Heathrow is located 16 miles (25 km) west of the center of London. There is a tourist board counter in the arrivals halls of all four terminals. The airport Web site is part of the BAA Web site with links to seven British airports. BAA is the British Airport Authority. Heathrow's Web site includes: TAXI
London's famous Black Cabs are available outside all terminals. If you have excess luggage, this is the way to go. The trip to central London will set you back about Ј35 ($58) and take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour depending on the traffic.

A less expensive option is a mini-cab. Mini-cabs are different than Black Cabs in that they cannot be flagged down on the street. To arrange for one, you might try calling information from the airport and asking for the number of a mini-cab company. They will cost you from Ј25 to Ј35.
The Heathrow Express train, completed in 1998, is a non-stop rail service between Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station. The trip lasts 15 minutes and leaves every 15 minutes from all Heathrow terminals and platforms 6 & 7 at Paddington. Passengers travelling to Paddington can connect to four underground lines as well as BritRail, the commuter rail service for points outside London.

Over 25 airlines offer check-in at Paddington Station. Conveniently, there is also full baggage check-in, allowing customers to check their bags to their flights before boarding the train. Fares are Ј12 each way for Express Class and Ј33 each way for First Class. Children ages 5-15 ride for free when accompanied by an adult.

Follow the signs to the Underground (usually called the "Tube") station that serves all 4 Heathrow terminals. This is the Piccadilly line to central London where you can transfer to other lines. You can use a baggage trolley for your luggage up to the entryway to the trains, but from there you will have to carry your bags. At peak times the trains run every 4 minutes, and every 10 minutes at other times. They operate from 6 A.M. to midnight and the trip takes 50-60 minutes.

At last check the cost of one-way travel from the airport to central London was Ј3.20 ($5.30). A better bargain is a system-wide Travelcard for Ј4.50 ($7.50), which allows unlimited travel for the rest of the day. The Travelcard is available after 9:30 A.M.

Follow the signs to the central bus station for Heathrow terminals 1, 2, and 3. For terminal 4 go to the information desk in the arrivals area after you pass through customs. At these areas you can get information on the many options for buses to London, the surrounding countryside, and nearby rail stations, such as Reading or Watford Junction.

Airbus A2 is a doubledecker London Transport bus that goes to many central London hotels. It is fun to ride and there is plenty of luggage space. The A2 leaves for Euston British Rail Station every 30 minutes from 6:30 A.M. to 10:30 P.M., and takes the 50-90 minutes and the fare is Ј7 ($11.60).

The bus makes many stops along the way, so there is a good chance it will go to your hotel if you are staying in central London. The line has a detailed map showing all the stops along the way, so consult the map when buying your ticket to see if your hotel is served. If it is not, simply depart the bus at a stop near your hotel and walk, or take a taxi from a hotel taxi stand to your final destination. See the London Transport desk or the Heathrow Bus Station for tickets.

There are frequent buses to the other airports with Speedlink, or Greenline buses. After leaving customs, follow the signs for these companies to their desks, where you can buy tickets. You should leave at least 2-1/2 hours between flights if you are connecting to another airport. The travel time between Heathrow and Stansted or Gatwick airports is around 1-2 hours, depending on the traffic.

All major rental car companies have counters at Heathrow. There are no rental car counters in the terminals, so proceed to the curb to catch a shuttle bus to the rental car company of your choice. Driving in London can be a challenge.

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    — Adapted from How to Get Out of the Airport
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