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In a few weeks, my two kids (6.5 and 4) and I will be in London. We will need to get from Paddington Station (Heathrow Express terminus) to Euston Station (trains to the North). I am trying to figure out the safest way to do this. For the purposes of this question, I am mostly defining "safe" as meaning minimizing the amount of time walking along the busy streets with two kids and all our luggage, while in a jet-lagged state. For example I don't really want to get the Circle line tube to Euston Square then cross over busy Euston Street to get to Euston Station proper.

My research so far yields the following options:

  • London taxi. This seems like a no-brainer, but so far I don't fully understand the carseat situation. As far as I can tell, it is legal for the kids (of this age) to travel using adult seatbelts, if carseats are not provided. However, in the interests of safety, I don't want to travel in a taxi without carseats of appropriate size for my kids. I've read that some taxis have carseats, but its not clear how common this is.

  • Tube. Unfortunately as far as I can tell, there are no direct tube lines from Paddington to Euston station. I think I'd have to do Circle line to St. Pancras then Northern line to Euston, or Bakerloo line to Charing Cross then Northern line to Euston. The extra tube change does not sound particularly appealing.

So my question boils down to the following parts:

  1. Is it reasonable to expect to easily get a taxi with carseats at Paddington Station, without an unreasonable wait?

  2. If taxis are not an option, then what's the best tube route from Paddington to Euston, bearing in mind luggage and two kids.


A bit more background: Our journey is actually from Heathrow to Stoke-on-Trent. After considering safety, I'm hoping this journey will be as relaxed and stress-free as possible, so I'm hoping for as few changes as possible. Heathrow Express seems to be the most reasonable train out of Heathrow, and Euston to Stoke on Virgin seems like the best way to get to Stoke. However if there are other options that I've missed, then I'd love to hear them.

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    Have you considered taking the tube all the way? So you do not need to change from train to tube. It takes a while but it is easy and gets you to central London. – Willeke Jun 20 '16 at 22:23
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    The trade-off is out-of-whack. The distance to walk across the street from St Pancras to Euston compares much more favourably than trying to change trains in the tube. Especially Charing Cross, which is a considerable hike to transfer. The crossing is at street level and is heavily controlled as a pedestrian crossing. Plus the tube from Paddington to Euston adds two escalators (with luggage and kids?) versus Paddington King's Cross and walk across the street. Take Circle Line or Hammersmith & City. – Gayot Fow Jun 21 '16 at 0:25
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    You don't have to cross over any busy roads to walk from Euston Square to Euston. Euston Street isn't on the way, and is a minor back-street anyway; you may be thinking of Euston Road, but Euston Sq has an exit on the same side of that as the main station. The only road you'd need to cross would be Melton Street, which is also a minor side-street. – Daniel Roseman Jun 21 '16 at 8:36

10 Answers 10

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I'm a Londoner with kids of a similar age. Info you might find useful:

  • I've never seen a black cab with a child seat - I suspect there are none. Two of the standard seats face backwards though so slightly safer. If you are going to use the Heathrow Express then taxi is the easiest option from Paddington. Uber is cheaper but still no child seats (and no rear-facing seats either). Some private hire (minicab) companies are rumoured to provide child seats (Google should find them) but they might not be willing to (without charging you loads) for a trip from Paddington to Euston, because it's so short - they probably would be willing for Heathrow->Euston.

  • Euston Square tube station to Euston is no distance at all, it's just across the road: a much shorter distance than you'll have already walked within the airport. You cross Euston Road which is busy but there's pelican/puffin ('green man') crossings so it's perfectly safe and easy for pedestrians ('turn on red' is completely illegal in the UK - all traffic must stop at a red light). I would definitely be willing to do that change with my kids and luggage. That way you can get the Circle or Ham&City line straight from Paddington. It might be a hassle getting the bags up the stairs from the platform at Euston Square though.

  • As an alternative to the Heathrow Express (fast but overpriced) you could get the Piccadilly Line (lifts at Heathrow), either to Green Park (lifts) and change (Victoria line) for Euston, or just take the Piccadilly Line right through to Kings Cross (more lifts) and then walk to Euston: Kings Cross to Euston is about 5 mins walk, they're almost next door to one another.


@DanielRoseman has commented above that there is an exit from Euston Square station on the same side of the main road as Euston station - Google Street View confirms this is correct (you could also use this link to see for yourself the walk from Euston Square to Euston).

You might also find the step free tube guide and the avoiding stairs tube guide useful.

The option I'd choose - for minimum walking and in particular minimum carrying-bags-up-stairs - is, from Heathrow, the Piccadilly Line to Green Park then Victoria Line to Euston.

If you want the absolutely easiest option then a minicab from Heathrow to Stoke-on-Trent would be about £170 (eg here). Depending how much you'd pay for the train tickets, that might actually be price-competitive. This would be a long car journey though so you would want child seats - given it's a high-value trip you might be able to find a minicab firm willing to provide them.

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    Apparently there are black cabs with a fold down middle seat to act as a car seat. I suspect there's only one per cab though – Berwyn Jun 21 '16 at 10:08
  • Do the black cabs not have ISOFIX anchors for a BYO-car-seat solution? – UnrecognizedFallingObject Jun 22 '16 at 2:02
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    The northern exit at Euston Square is only by stairs, whereas the southern exit has a lift. This might be a factor. – Paul Butcher Jun 22 '16 at 11:21
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    I didn't know about the Euston Square exit on the north side of Euston Road - thats good info. – Digital Trauma Jun 22 '16 at 17:52
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If your purpose is to get from Heathrow Airport to Stoke-on-Trent with as little hassle as possible, I would consider flying to Manchester and then take the direct bus from Manchester Airport to Stoke-on-Trent.

British Airways operates about 8 flights a day from Heathrow to Manchester and there are seven daily buses from Manchester Airport to Stoke-on-Trent operated by 'National Express', most taking only 50-55 minutes.

  • Interesting option - I hadn't considered that - thanks! – Digital Trauma Jun 21 '16 at 1:36
  • You could do the complete Heathrow to Stoke-on-Trent by National Express coach. You would need to change at either London Victoria coach station or Birmingham coach station. Total journey times are about 5 hours. There are about 10 coaches per day (ignoring overnight journeys). The connections at Birmingham would probably be the faster ones, since you don't need to get across the center of London. You would need to check about child seats - but some long distance coaches have rear-facing seats which are safer than front-facing, in the (very unlikely) event of an crash. – alephzero Jun 21 '16 at 3:50
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    You can also get the train easily from Manchester airport to Stoke-on-Trent (change at Manchester Piccadilly) but getting from manchester to Stoke quicker and easier by taxi and might compare favourably with the train cost (~£65 if you take a taxi from the airport desk, ~£40 if you pre-book a taxi firm in Stoke) – Matt Wilko Jun 21 '16 at 14:29
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    @MattWilko You can also change at Crewe, which avoids the often-busy Piccadilly-Airport line. – Richard Gadsden Jun 21 '16 at 16:31
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Having traveled from Heathrow towards London by tube many times, my first reaction was: Why to travel by train as well as tube.
Starting at the airport you will be one of the first in the tube and you will have an easy time to find seats.

Look on the transport for London site for the best travel options on the day and time you need to travel, set it to 'least walking' to get it to bring you to the Euston underground station if needed.
I see an option to take the Picadilly line to Green Park Underground Station change there for the Victoria line till you reach Euston station. Should take about an hour.
Do check for stairs, if you are walking with a lot of luggage you do not want a change where you have to climb a lot of stairs.

If you also want to do some sight seeing, you could go for a bus part of the way, but it is likely going to be more expensive.

When planning to use a taxi, book a taxi that will consider your flight arrival time, they might be a little more expensive but they will be ready for you when you arrive, they should be able to have child seats as well.

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    Yes, this is a good idea. I'd sort of ruled out the Piccadilly line direct from Heathrow as mis-remembered it as taking much longer. But I think 45mins to Green Park is reasonable. – Digital Trauma Jun 21 '16 at 3:56
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    "If you also want to do some sight seeing, you could go for a bus part of the way" - a significant amount of the tube journey from LHR into central London is actually overground, though it's not particularly scenic. – alephzero Jun 21 '16 at 3:59
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    Green Park has lifts to every platform level, so you wouldn't need to use stairs. – AakashM Jun 21 '16 at 8:34
  • A simple answer to "why travel by train plus tube" could be "time". For example, It takes an hours and a half (at least) to get from Heathrow to Notting Hill Gate by tube alone. It takes 15-20 minutes on Heathrow express plus another 5-10 minutes on the Tube. A total saving of 1 hour. My time costs a lot more than £15-20 the difference in ticket price. – Aleks G Jun 21 '16 at 14:39
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    In many cases it is not a case of money, it is a case of having to change once more, with extra efford. While your option, train, underground, other underground takes less time on paper, you will have to wait till the next train, walk from the train to the tube and still have to change to a different tube. During the day the Picadilly line runs every few minutes, which makes for a very fast start. – Willeke Jun 21 '16 at 14:47
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There is a direct number 205 bus from Paddington to Euston. Ordinarily it goes down the side of Paddington (platform 1 side) and then along the front of the station. It calls into the bus station that's adjacent to the concourse at Euston. It takes 22 minutes for the journey, and buses are every 6-10 mins during the day, less frequent early and late. The bus is door-to-door, and it shouldn't be an issue to have luggage (though, like all London transport, it'll be busy at peak times). The 'iBus' system calls out stops so you'll know when to get off - ring the bell to indicate you want to get off at the next stop.

TfL buses are cashless, so you'll need either Oyster or contactless bank cards to buy tickets. (You can also buy a paper travelcard, but it's not worth it for the £1.50 bus fare)

I say 'ordinarily' because it's diverted a few streets away from Paddington until 12 July due to roadworks so will only pass by the side not the front of Paddington until then.

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As you are aiming to get to Stoke-on-Trent, you can take a bus from Heathrow to Watford Junction, then take the train. The train may be cheaper and you avoid the center of London.

Or take the Tube directly from Heathrow to Euston, as you are getting on at the end of the line you should get a seat.

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    Bus from Heathrow to Watford Junction is the 724: greenline.co.uk/timetables-search/… – A E Jun 21 '16 at 12:53
  • +1 for the Heathrow > Watford > WCML suggestion. The only downside is that the train may be busier and harder to get three seats together. On the Tube, though, no direct Heathrow-Euston connection, and changing with luggage & two small kids will be challenging. – Andrew Jun 21 '16 at 18:07
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    Watford Junction is on the WCML, but relatively few fast trains stop there, and none of those go to Stoke-on-Trent. For Watford to Stoke the NR journey planner suggests a change in Milton Keynes, or -- about half of each hour -- going up to Euston by local train and catching a non-stop service to Stoke from there. – Henning Makholm Jun 23 '16 at 2:18
  • Another option is, coach to Reading station, then direct train from Reading to Stoke. It's much slower than the other options, but avoids London completely and minimises changes. – user568458 Jun 23 '16 at 13:29
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I would be inclined to take the tube to Euston Square - it hasn't been mentioned yet, but it is possible to exit Euston Square station on the north side and take the short walk to Euston station without crossing any roads (indeed, you can use the station as an underpass if you need to cross the road).

There are a couple of short flights of stairs involved (the lift to street level is on the opposite side of the street so would involve crossing the road), but should be fairly manageable.

One thing to point out about crossing the road which you may not appreciate as an American is that pedestrian crossings in the UK are a bit better controlled than they are in the USA - there are no right/left turns permitted at red lights, if you have the 'green man' indicating it is safe to cross then the traffic is all held - this is the situation at Euston Square.

If you are leaning towards taking the taxi, I would reassure you that it is a very short journey and the statistical likelihood of a car seat being required or making a difference is tiny. One thing to point out is that two of the seats in a standard black cab are rear facing, which makes them safer in the event of an accident - if you put your two smaller children on these then you are making the trip that bit safer for them - just make sure you are all wearing seat belts.

If that doesn't appeal, then as mentioned you should be able to pre-book services you require.

  • You do have to cross Melton Street to get from Euston Square tube to Euston station, but it is a fairly small side street and has a light controlled crossing for pedestrians. I would keep aware of random cyclists and amber gamblers, but it's not a great challenge. – nekomatic Jun 21 '16 at 20:41
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(If cost is not an issue) You can get a pre-booked taxi/private hire to take you from Heathrow, straight to Stoke-on-Trent. As mentioned in comments your best bet is to book a firm/individual who resides in Stoke as this will be cheaper (you may need to pay a deposit or even the whole amount up front)

Do not just jump in a black cab outside Heathrow and ask them to take you to Stoke as this will be eye wateringly expensive

It will take around 2.5 hrs to complete the journey. Any other travel option will probably be at least double that time door to door.

The cost will be around £180 (one way) but this will be by far the quickest and least hassle option.

in comparison; flights from Heathrow to Manchester will cost upwards of £80 for your family and train fares will be £50 minimum from Euston to Stoke. Add on your travel costs to get from Manchester airport to destination or to Euston from Heathrow and it really isn't that much more expensive to go by taxi.

You could also hire a car at Heathrow and drop off in Stoke (there are plenty of big name hire car outlets in Stoke). This will be cheaper (somewhere in the region of £75+ for a days hire) but as you specifically mentioned being jet lagged you may not want to go down this route.

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    My trick for airport taxis is to look at a map of the area surrounding the airport and google taxis for some of the towns within say 5 miles (ie not the airport itself). Then, when standing in the passport queue, give some of them a call and ask 'how much to X, leaving in half an hour?'. They're on the doorstep and it's no hassle for them because they don't have to hang around the airport waiting for a delayed flight. This works less well for longer distances where a company local to your destination can schedule another passenger to come back.You always try both ahead of time and compare – user1908704 Jun 21 '16 at 21:24
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    that's a great tip from @user1908704. HERE'S ANOTHER GOLDEN TIP, google and find a taxi company IN STOKE AREA, not in Heathrow area. They will be delighted to "come get you"; it is cheaper; and they know where the hell they are going. – Fattie Jun 22 '16 at 23:18
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    That's a good idea from Joe but be prepared for many companies to say no, or, to demand payment or deposit up front. If they drive all the way to Heathrow, wait for you, and you don't show up, they lose almost a whole day's business and fuel money for nothing (but if you do pay and show up, they'll hope to be your go-to taxi company while you're in Stoke, so it's good business for them if they can mitigate the risk) – user568458 Jun 23 '16 at 13:33
  • @user568458 It's quite common for local taxi companies to do 'airport runs', especially in the morning (people catching early flights, matched up with others arriving transatlantic). So a company from your destination area will probably have a list price to/from a given airport and know they can match some percentage of departures with arrivals. It's always worth ringing round a few and asking what their rate is. I agree I would expect them to take a deposit/payment up front. The further you go from the airport, though, the fewer customers and the less likely they can match people up – user1908704 Jun 23 '16 at 16:14
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If convenience of journey is more important than time taken, you can get from Paddington to Stoke by train with one or two changes. One at Reading, and possibly one at Birmingham. There should also be step-free access between platforms at both stations.

Depending on timetable, it could take as little as half an hour longer, or possibly up to about 1.5 hours longer.

If you take the Railair bus from Heathrow to Reading, instead of going to Paddington, you can save yourself the trip into London (and associated expense). This might add an extra 10 minutes onto the "perfect" time, (Heathrow->Reading: 50 minutes, Heathrow->Paddington: 15 minutes, Paddington->Reading: 25 minutes), but that doesn't factor in time taken to change or wait for connections at Paddington, so could be even quicker, depending on the timetable.

The train at Reading will be a Cross Country train and will not have come from London, so should be less packed than the Watford option.

It could also mean you do the whole journey with as few as two simple changes instead of at least three (one of which might be difficult). (LHR-RDG-SOT, vs. LHR-PAD-EUS-SOT)

7

Can you fly to Birmingham instead of London? There is a direct train service (hourly) from Birmingham International to Stoke-on-Trent, 75 minute journey. That train will be considerably cheaper than Heathrow express plus a train from Euston.

Just make sure you don't make the mistake that wasd recently reported and confuse Birmingham Alabama with Birmingham England!

6

I did a similar transfer last fall, with a 4 year old and 2.5 year old. It's entirely possible, if you are careful about how you navigate the station to avoid steps. Highly recommend the step free tube guide for that - we got caught once with steps when we didn't, and we won't do that again!

Black cabs are perfectly usable with kids. They don't necessarily have proper car seats, but the seats are quite usable even with smaller children - we didn't have carseats but the middle seat worked for our youngest, and our oldest (about the size of a normal 6 year old, he's big) fit fine in a normal seat. There are rear-facing seats in the black cabs; that can be helpful since rear-facing is safer in accidents. With kids at the age you have, I think you'll find the safety issues are minimal - and if you're really worried, bring boosters (Both are old enough for just boosters) which will be free to check on the airplane.

protected by Mark Mayo Jun 23 '16 at 14:37

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