Travel tips and accommodation for Heathrow Airport
Most direct flights from South Africa to London go through Heathrow Airport. Heathrow Airport is approximately 20kms from Central London but can take a varying amount of time to get there depending on your choice of transport. As a guide in order of journey time (fastest to slowest):
Heathrow Express: Direct non-stop train from Heathrow to Paddington Station in West London. Trains every 15 minutes. Super service but could be a little pricey for South Africans spending Rands - a single journey is approximately £16.50. Check out the Heathrow Express website for more information.
London Underground: The Piccadilly Line (dark blue on the tube map) travels from all the terminals at Heathrow Airport into Central London and beyond. Journey time to Leicester Square in the West End could be as much as 1 hour. If it's your first time in London, and you don't have too much luggage, it is a great London experience just off the plane. Single journey into London is £3.80 with an Oyster card. The Transport for London website is the definitive source of information for all things related to the tube and London buses.Mini Cab: These are licensed Taxis but must be booked in advance. You get a fixed price fare at the time of booking which depends on your destination. Most often the driver will meet you in the arrivals lounge with a name board. Should cost approximately £25 into Central London.
Black Taxi: Another iconic London experience - especially if you get a talkative cabbie. The journey is metered (by time and distance) so if you get stuck in the notorious London traffic the journey could cost a small fortune - anywhere from £35 upwards. The advantage is that you and your luggage will be deposited at your final destination without any humping onto train or tube platforms.
If you're arriving or departing really early in the morning then the range of hotels in and around Heathrow offer you a comfortable base from which to continue your journey. Also, don't forget that there are some fantastic attractions nearby including Windsor Castle, Lego Land and Kew Gardens.