We will be arriving in early April into Gatwick at 6:30AM on a Tuesday, so we will be on the train by 7:30am to 8:00am. We will each have one large suitcase plus carry on luggage. Will either of the suggested routes from Gatwick airport to Paddington Station allow us to travel the underground without steps?

  1. Gatwick Express with transfer to a Paddington Train at Victoria?
  2. Thameslink from Gatwick to Blackfriars then change to Paddington?
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    You'll be arriving in central London at peak travel time. Steps aside, you won't find using the Underground easy at that time if you're travelling with luggage. I recommend you get a taxi from Victoria. – user67901 Dec 6 '17 at 20:23
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    As pointed out below and also on related question, if your final destination is at the end of a long-distance train out of Paddington, you might be better off going straight to Reading instead. – AakashM Dec 7 '17 at 12:02

Neither of those routes are step-free - there's no step-free access onto the Circle/District at Victoria, nor is there step-free access from the Southern half of the Circle/District platforms at Paddington. However, Thameslink to Farringdon and changing onto the Circle or Hammersmith & City should be step-free. Farringdon, I believe, has step-free access between Thameslink and the Circle/Hammersmith & City platforms via lifts (though I think you might have to use two sets of lifts, which might be irritating), and Paddington Northern half of the Circle/Hammersmith & City has lifts.

(There's confusion at Paddington because the Circle line uses two completely different sets of platforms depending on which direction you're coming from - the platforms from the northern half of the circle line shared with the Hammersmith & City, as opposed to the southern half of the circle line shared with the District, are step-free.)

Another option which requires a change of trains, if you're OK with routes that involve escalators but not stairs, is to get the Victoria line from Victoria (step-free) and change at Oxford Circus (step-free for same-direction interchange) onto the Bakerloo line to Paddington (which has escalators but not lifts).

Source: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/step-free-tube-guide-map.pdf and http://content.tfl.gov.uk/avoiding-stairs-tube-guide.pdf

  • Technically (and in terms of ticket barriers), it isn't not only separate platforms at Paddington, but separate stations. But the ticketing system is kind enough to allow an out of station interchange for free. – origimbo Dec 6 '17 at 18:29
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    I really appreciate that your source is an actual source and not just one of these "source: I'm a commuter" that I see all too often. – Dean MacGregor Dec 6 '17 at 19:16

The Journey Planner site Travellines will search for step free routes if asked.

Entering Gatwick to Paddington with Step free gives as fastest.

Gatwick to Victoria by Southern train.
Then take TfL bus 36 to Paddington.

Note you are going to London at peak rush hour so you could find trains and busses full especially with luggage. (I would consider a taxi from Victoria to Paddington)

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    You won’t get on a bus with a suitcase without lifting the case up the step onto the bus. They have a wheelchair ramp, but it’s for wheelchairs. – Mike Scott Dec 6 '17 at 19:48
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    Buses are low floor in London - it is not that difficult much less than getting on and off a train or in and out of a taxi – mmmmmm Dec 6 '17 at 20:27

As a slightly (read very) left-field option, National Express coaches run from Gatwick to Heathrow Airport, and the Heathrow Express train service connects Heathrow to Paddington Station. This journey won't score highly in terms of speed or cost, but does avoid crossing central London with luggage, and makes maximal use of the fact that airports are well designed for people with luggage.

Alternatively, if you are making an onward journey from Paddington and it's long distance rather than suburban, Great Western Railways run services from Gatwick Airport to Reading Station, which is usually the first stop after Paddington for fast trains.

  • OP might as well take a cab for the price of going via Heathrow. – JonathanReez Dec 7 '17 at 1:48
  • @JonathanReez If they booked that journey right now it would be about £38 per person, which beats the average rebooked minicab for a single traveller, although admittedly not by an order of magnitude. Gatwick express + tube is more like £22 and the slow train £15, but there might be combined ticket I've forgotten about. – origimbo Dec 7 '17 at 1:57
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    Upvoted for the idea of taking the GWR service to Reading. If OP is taking a long-distance train out of Paddington that is definitely what I would do. – Muzer Dec 7 '17 at 9:40

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