My flight gets in at 8am from Chicago and leaves to EDI at 1pm. Is it enough time to get into the city on the tube? I've never been to London so I thought maybe I could check out some of the sites. If I do have time to get into the city, any suggestions on where to go and the cheapest way to get there? Thanks
Are your bags going straight on through to EDI, so you don't have to pick them up at Heathrow? I could see you having enough time, except I would give atleast 2 hours maybe less to get through all the security stuff, because when I was there the lines were quite big. I would probably take the heathrow exress to paddington station (okay I'm pretty sure thats where its takes you :P). Then I guess you could do whatever you wanted to, go catch another train on the tube to go somewheres else.
Out of Heathrow, there are a number of options.
The Heathrow Express (mentioned above) is a non-stop train service that offers the fastest travel option between Heathrow Airport and Paddington station in central London. Services run every 15 minutes and the journey time is just 15 minutes; 7/8 minutes more to and from Terminal 4. A standard single fare is £14.50 and a standard return is £28.
Heathrow is on the Piccadilly line of the London underground, with two stops at the airport - terminal 4 and terminal 1,2,3. Heathrow is in zone 6 of the London transit network. Journey time to central London is under an hour and you shouldn't have to wait longer than ten minutes for a train - even off-peak. A single ticket into central London (Zone 1) costs £4.
If you've never been to London before and want to see some of the prime tourist sites in just a couple of hours, I would probably take the tube. Take the Picadilly Line to Picadilly Circus. From there, you could probably either see Buckingham Palace, or head towards Trafalgar Square. You might have time to duck down and see the Parliament Builidings (Big Ben) and Westminster Abbey.
From Westminster Abbey, you can catch the Circle or District lines, and transfer at South Kensington or Earl's Court back to the Picadilly line heading back to the Airport.
In addition, Heathrow Airport is served by an extensive network of local buses which operate from the central bus station.
Check out the TFL website for maps and such.
Is your flight a connection or two seperate flights? My thought is will you definately have gone thru immigration in Heathrow? If not you might not be able to leave the airport.
Thanks everyone for the great info. I will have to go through immigration at LHR since I have a flight on BMI that goes to EDI. All I'll be carrying is a backpack since this is only a 4 day trip. Can I store my backpack in a locker at LHR and after immigration will I have time to go out and see everything and then come back through security for my next flight? Thanks again.
No lockers at airports, due to the possibility to put dangerous goods in them.
There are, apparently, some left luggage areas, though. Airwise has a list. All seem to be on the other side of security, so you'll need to have your bag re-screened.
GregW has all the prices and locations right;--I just took this trip last month. To see the houses of Parliament, go to the Westminster station. The area between Covent Garden and the theater area is the nicest area to visit and can be reached by going to either the Covent Garden or Leicester Station underground stops. Take the Bakerloo line out of Paddington and transfer at Picadilly Station to the Picadilly line.
For those who don't want to pay the $57 (28 pounds) RT to go to/from Heathrow via the Heathrow Express in 15 minutes each way, one can also take the regular underground, which is about $29 (14 pounds) RT--but be aware that it takes 60 minutes each way.
This would not work for shpatel since it would leave him/her with almost no time at all to see London. However, I'm mostly mentioning this for other visitors to London who might be on a budget--and for whom time is not the primary concern. Personally I take the Heathrow Express when I go, but that's because my work picks up the tab (I'm usually going there on business.)
Only thing i can add is be aware of just how long security takes at all UK airports but particularly London! I went home to the UK last month and it took me an hour to get through immigration/security at heathrow (i had a connecting flight so in theory that should be quicker than the security/immigration for those wanting to leave the airport) This happened both on my arrival and departure. I didnt even need to collect my bag, which was lucky because when i was leaving the UK my manchester to London flight sat on the tarmac after landing for an hour waiting for a bay to become free to unload us-by the time i got through security etc and transferred to a different terminal (which can also take some time if its busy) they had put out the final call for my flight and I was the last person to board the plane!
Good luck though!!