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After arrival from Frankfort, Germany, to Heathrow Terminal 2, I need to take the Virgin Coast train to Edinburgh at Kings Cross. In order to book my train ticket in advance, I would like to know how long it takes after my arrival at Terminal 2 to get to the Piccadilly line at terminal 1-2-3. I do know that the Piccadilly line takes approx. 55 minutes to get to King's Cross.

I would also like to know the inverse situation: when do I have to leave King's Cross, on the Piccadilly line, to get an airplane at terminal 2, departure time at 17.30? Thank you!

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    Do you have hold luggage? In general I would say it would usually be fairly fast, but you do want a reasonable amount of buffer time to allow for flight delays, etc. With buffer time for flight delays included, I'd probably leave about an hour and a half, but that might be way too much. In practice it's probably going to take you much less time. – Muzer May 31 '17 at 11:15
  • Hi, thank you for your answer. I don't have hold luggage. Do you think that it is still risky to buy a ticket for the 17.00 train to Edinburgh, departing at King's Cross? – Olga May 31 '17 at 21:09
  • Also you can probably book a cheaper flight to Edinburgh than a train, even from LHR, and save yourself extra hassle. – George Y. Jun 1 '17 at 0:51
  • @Olga In that case, I would say that's enough time if everything goes to plan (flight on time, no problems at immigration, no problems on the Piccadilly line), but you've got to decide whether it's acceptable for you that a little delay would make that connection rather tight. Perhaps you could check historical reliability data for your flight to see how often it arrives late. – Muzer Jun 1 '17 at 8:40
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+50

I do the LHR-KGX journey on the Picc quite a lot (though from KGX I go only to Cambridge, not the frozen North). According to https://tfl.gov.uk , it takes 12 minutes to walk from Terminal 2 to the shared T123 underground station. In my experience the TFL walking times are generous, but I suspect it's around 10 minutes.

According to the same site, the Piccadilly T123-KGX service runs every 5 minutes (successive Saturday afternoon departures are listed at 1439, 1444, and 1449). I wouldn't rely on those exact times, but it does mean the service is frequent, so rocking up and taking the next tube is a reasonable thing to do.

Don't forget you will need to allow time to deplane and clear customs and immigration. Even without luggage to collect, this can take some time; I'd allow an hour to be safe (this will be decreased by being an EU citizen, but increased if you don't have an e-passport). So we're looking at something like 60mn deplane + 10mn walk + up to 5mn wait for tube + 55mn on the tube, for a total of 130mn.

I think you would be very foolish to allow less than two hours between touchdown and train-departs-KGX. 2h15m might be all right, though you may end up joining the sprinters through KGX, and 2h30m is a fairly safe bet which may give you time for a pastry at KGX (Patisserie Valerie is on the upstairs level, nom nom). Be sure to be at the rear of the Piccadilly line train to get off at the right place at KGX for fastest access to street level. Have your tube ticket in your right hand to avoid delay at the barriers.

The return journey is even harder to time, because you don't tell us how long before departure your airline requires you to arrive. You don't need to allow the deplaning time, so something like 70 minutes from KGX to T123 is probably optimal. If you plan to arrive KGX an hour and a half before you need to be at check-in, it will likely be enough.

The last caveat is to check service online before you do this. Weekends are when TFL performs most of its maintenance, and Crossrail is still playing hob with London journey times. You're planning to shave things fine, so a 20 minute delay at Acton Town will kill you.

  • In my opinion this is all correct except for one thing; planning the return journey is easier because you don't have to take the flight delay into account, whereas on arrival the landing time affects directly how late you will be for Piccadilly and hence to King's Cross. – downhand Jun 21 '17 at 8:33

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