I'm staying in central London (Islington, EC1V). I have an international flight from Heathrow (terminal 2) that leaves early Sunday morning (07:50). I'm overwhelmed with all the options. Here's what I'm looking for:

  • safe, reputable service
  • minimal time walking alone in London before dawn
  • arrive by 06:20
  • £80 budget, preferably cheaper
  • pay in cash / use Oyster card (I also have an American debit card on the Plus network, but keep in mind that using it will incur extra exchange fees)
  • book in advance

What services meet these criteria? Is there a cab or minicab service I should use? Would it be cheaper to take a cab to Paddington and buy a Heathrow Express ticket?

  • 1
    What day of the week?
    – AakashM
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 15:06
  • @AakashM: Sunday, according to comments below (question updated).
    – Flimzy
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 15:58
  • FWIW, sunrise in London is about 5:30 at the moment and it's reasonably light maybe an hour earlier than that. Ofc you're entitled to be worried about it because there's not many people about, but it may well not be dark when you need to travel. Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 17:47
  • Islington, EC1V is a fairly safe neighbourhood but its close to suburbs Hoxton and Bethnel Green with more notorious reputations. Also there may still be people just leaving clubs from a Saturday night out in Shoreditch Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 12:13

3 Answers 3


Take a taxi. There are plenty of services, and you’ll pay around £50. You might be able to save a few pennies by taking buses, but in my opinion it’s not worth the heartache when buses are late/cancelled, you get sweaty by walking/running between connections, depending on the type of bus you might be separated from your luggage…

No. Take a taxi.

  • 1
    If you get sweaty walking between buses at 4-5am, you're doing it wrong.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 17:32
  • 3
    Given many people wear a suit while they travel so that they don’t have to fold the suit up, it is quite easy to perspire while walking around carrying suitcases. If you’re the sort of person that arrives at the airport wearing shorts and sandals, I’d say you’re doing it wrong. Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 11:49
  • 2
    Fair enough. Different strokes, different folks.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 12:15
  • 1
    I often use minicabster.co.uk to compare different mini cab companies Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 12:07

One very cheap option will be to take two night buses, one to Aldwych, and then the N9 to Heathrow.

Looking at the Aldwych night bus map, all the buses from the part of the world you're staying in stop at stop S, and the N9 leaves from stop R, which is immediately adjacent, so your walking will be minimal, and there'll be plenty of people around whatever time of night it is. The N9 takes a good hour and a half mind, and only runs three times an hour.

Be aware that many people will have vague, distant, but strongly negative memories of night buses. They are a lot better than they used to be!


At that time of day, your only real options are to take the bus (which will accept your oyster card), hire a taxi, or catch a ride from a friend.

You could also use bus or taxi to get to Paddington station, then take the Heathrow Express, which starts at 5:10am, even on Sundays, with regular ticket prices starting at £21, or as low as £6.99 if you book 90 days in advance.

The metro doesn't start running until after 5:00am, which would not get you to the airport in time for your flight.

  • The flight is on a Sunday, so the tube opens even later. Heathrow Express seems to start just early enough, though, if I can get there.
    – Qaz
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 14:02
  • 2
    I would second the Heathrow Express, it's by far one of the quickest ways to travel to Heathrow. It takes a little over 15 minutes from Paddington.
    – James
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 15:53
  • 1
    Does London have door-to-door airport shuttles? They are quite common in the US and are usually significantly cheaper than a taxi. Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 16:54
  • 1
    @AE: Thanks for the info. I've updated my answer.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 20:51
  • 1
    @AE: Quite so... if you know far enough in advance!
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 20:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .