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(Surprise) visiting a relative that will be studying at University of Essex. What's the fastest way from LHR to the area?

  • 2
    Fastest, or most affordable: which? The fastest methods won't be the cheapest, and vice versa. – user79658 Oct 6 '18 at 3:04
  • The tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey estimates that my route will take 2hrs and 38 mins -- from LHS to Colchester. How would I estimate the pricing? From there I should be able to determine fast or affordable. – Q. I. Oct 6 '18 at 3:31
  • You can estimate the railway price using National Rail's website, note in this particular case (assuming you are taking rail) it might be cheaper to split it into two legs (LHR -> LST) + (LST -> COL). There are also other options involving coach (e.g. National Express), which might take a similar time. – B.Liu Oct 6 '18 at 12:36
  • @B.Liu This is a great resource. I've decided on the National Express, which appears the fastest AND most affordable option to my destination. Cheers. – Q. I. Oct 6 '18 at 16:43
  • Look on the university website.....? – Ian Ringrose Oct 11 '18 at 17:19
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There are several main ways to reach Colchester (University of Essex): by coach (National Express), or a combination of train (National Rail) and tube (London Underground). Depending on which you choose, pricing and time matches variably. I'll provide the options for train and coach, respectively.


By train: Go to London Liverpool Street Station (LST) from Heathrow, there are three ways to do so:

  1. TfL Rail from Terminals 2 & 3 (HXX) or Terminal 4 (HAF) to London Paddington (PAD), then change for London Underground Circle / Hammersmith & City Line to Liverpool Street.

  2. Heathrow Express from Terminals 2 & 3 (HXX) or Terminal 5 (HWV) to London Paddington (PAD), then change for London Underground Circle / Hammersmith & City Line to Liverpool Street.

  3. London Underground (Piccadilly line) from Terminals 2 & 3, Terminal 4 or Terminal 5 (identically named, but separate stations from TfL Rail/Heathrow Express stations). Line change is necessary but there are at least four ways I can imagine this can be done, hence omitting the relevant instructions.

Then take the National Rail train from London Liverpool Street (LST) to Colchester (COL). According to the National Rail journey planner, the journey takes approximately two and a half hours and costs £116.


By coach & Uber: Take the National Express directly from your terminal to Colchester (COL). From COL, hail a taxi. This journey takes approximately the same time, minus ~5-10 minutes, and costs ~£38.

(Both options can be reserved fully in advance.)

Sources: tfl.gov.uk, tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey, & ojp.nationalrail.co.uk.

  • 2
    You can't go direct from Heathrow to Liverpool Street. The train from Heathrow only runs to Paddington; then you can change to the Circle Line of London Underground to get to Liverpool Street. There will be a direct Heathrow-Liverpool Street train when the Elizabeth Line opens in autumn 2019. – Michael Harvey Oct 7 '18 at 14:57
  • 1
    Just to be clear: There is no such thing as "London Heathrow Rail"; "LHR" is the airport code for London Heathrow, not the name of any ground transport. The train services from Heathrow to London are Heathrow Express to Paddington (fast but expensive), TfL Rail also to Paddington (formerly known as Heathrow Connect, cheaper and slower), and London Underground's Piccadilly Line to several interchange points in central London (cheapest, but slower yet). – Henning Makholm Oct 8 '18 at 20:27
  • (TfL Rail is currently supposed to become part of the Elizabeth Line (formerly known as Crossrail) from late 2019, but schedule overruns were recently announced, and it's possible that ongoing technical problems will further delay opening of the Elizabeth to Heathrow). – Henning Makholm Oct 8 '18 at 20:35
  • @MichaelHarvey Definitely valid point - I guess to the NR journey planner Heathrow to Liverpool Street can be seen as one journey, which of course involves at least one change. – B.Liu Oct 10 '18 at 15:30
  • @HenningMakholm I had a tendency to mix IATA codes with NR station codes, which of course gives me endless trouble when I start to talk about Gatwick! I have attempted to right the wrongs I have started. – B.Liu Oct 10 '18 at 15:33

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