Heathrow to Cambridge with lots of luggage
October 15, 2012 11:46 AM   Subscribe

I need to get from Heathrow airport to Cambridge, with lots of baggage.

I need to get myself and three large pieces of luggage from Heathrow airport to Cambridge, during the day on a weekday. I'm trying to avoid stairs, escalators, long walks, and crowded modes of transport. I assume this rules out taking the tube to Kings Cross to catch the train on to Cambridge, although if there's a route that avoids crowded trains and has lift access for all transfers that might work. Is there a way to do this without paying a lot for taxis?
posted by penguinicity to Travel & Transportation around London, England (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
King's Cross has lift access all the way from the underground to the station, afaik. The easiest might be the National Express though - 3 hours coach journey, not exactly comfortable, but you'd only need to lug your bags to the coach driver and it'll drop you off at Parkers' Piece.
posted by pikeandshield at 11:53 AM on October 15, 2012

Sure. Get the coach. It takes 3 hours 20 mins. By the time you would have got the train in to town and then schlepped across to Paddington you'll have taken about an hour longer by coach.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:55 AM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

I was just coming in to suggest that you take the National Express coach.

I used to do the Tube to King's Cross, then the train, but that was only with one-bag and it involved some serious stairs at King's Cross. When I arrived with more, I took the National Express the whole way. You can push your luggage on a Heathrow cart all the way to the bus, get on, get off in Cambridge 3 hours later, get a taxi to where you're going. It's painless, and perfectly comfortable (compared to the Tube to King's Cross, certainly).

That said, you can sometimes save money by booking the National Express bus ahead of time -- one person I knew paid L9 only, but I had to pay L25 in person at Heathrow.
posted by jb at 11:57 AM on October 15, 2012

I've done the coach thing between Cambridge and Heathrow. It's pretty comfortable (and I don't like road travel). Was full, so you will find it best to book in advance (yes, it can be a problem if your flight gets significantly delayed coming in).
posted by Wordshore at 11:57 AM on October 15, 2012

Note: even 25 pounds is only a few pounds more than the Tube (L4) + train to Cambridge (L11-20, depending on time of day, student status, etc).
posted by jb at 11:58 AM on October 15, 2012

King's Cross has lift access all the way from the underground to the station, afaik.

It does, but I wouldn't want to try to manage three large pieces of luggage on a Piccadilly line train if I could avoid it. One large and one small is hard enough.
posted by grouse at 12:02 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

If hire car is not an option could someone meet you with a car? If neither of those, then National Express is next best, though you have to get to your destination at the other end. There are cab ranks near the bus station (at least there used to be, been a while).

EDIT: Could you go via Stansted instead? That would be much easier for the train.
posted by epo at 12:16 PM on October 15, 2012

Hire a car. Totally hire a car. I know when we travel with two people for work, hiring a car costs less than the tube plus the express train from Kings Cross to Cambridge plus the taxi once we get to Cambridge. When I am by myself, I just take the tube and the express train, but I'm a lowly engineer. My boss when he goes by himself just hires the car without batting an eye. It's been awhile so I don't know the exact costs but I think it is ~70 pounds. I don't know if my company has a sweet deal with a car service or not. But especially after an international flight, nothing beats walking out of customs to a little sign that has your name on it...
posted by cmm at 12:27 PM on October 15, 2012

I've taken the coach before on that journey with similar luggage and also gone with bags on the tube/kings-cross route - The coach (national express) is definitely the way to go. It does take a while, but the coach is comfortable and has power sockets so you can plug in a laptop or whatever and costs little if you book in advance (if you want to be really cost conscious you can sometimes get an even cheaper deal going into victoria coach station and then out on the victoria-camb coach at the cost of some hanging around). Cars are not going to be appreciably faster and will be much more expensive.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:30 PM on October 15, 2012

For whatever reason Cambridge is horrible to get to by train. I think you'd be hard pressed, with ample luggage, to do the journey in under two and a half hours. And Cambridge train station is flipping miles out. The coach will take marginally longer, but actually drops you closer to the centre of town, is cheaper, and goes right past my house so don't forget to wave. It can get stupidly busy but generally it's worse the other way so you should be fine.
posted by tigrefacile at 2:21 PM on October 15, 2012

Cambridge is horrible to get to by train

Cambridge is easy to get to by train from London (nonstop expresses every thirty minutes? Yes, please). Just not from Heathrow, like anything else that side of London, or with three large suitcases, like anywhere. It's literally a mile from the railway station to the coach station.

The coach sounds like the best option for these circumstances, but I always avoided it when I had to travel between Cambridge and Heathrow.
posted by grouse at 2:28 PM on October 15, 2012

Coming in to nth what most people above have said. You want the coach for this trip. Seriously, you do. You get on at Heathrow, and get off at Cambridge, near the center of town (Parkside). The tube/train combo is generally quicker and probably preferable, but I've done it with lots of luggage and I really wouldn't do it again. It involves maneuvering to the Underground at Heathrow, and then after a ride of probably an hour and twenty minutes, it involves maneuvering from St Pancras to King's Cross (which I think has a brief jog outside, and steps), and then the train station at Cambridge is a good 20-30 minute walk from the city center. Ordinarily none of this is problematic, but with so much luggage, I really would advise against it. Just go for the coach (National Express) - you can book online beforehand, or you can buy a ticket when you arrive (at one of their kiosk things). I personally wouldn't pay for a taxi - it might be a bit faster than the coach, but unless you're really in a hurry, I don't think it's necessary. If need be, take a taxi from Parkside, where the coach will drop you off.
posted by UniversityNomad at 3:34 PM on October 15, 2012

Cambridge is easy to get to by train from London

If you're in King's Cross, perhaps.
posted by tigrefacile at 3:40 PM on October 15, 2012

If you are vehemently opposed to coaches, it would be possible to take the Heathrow Express to Paddington then a taxi to Kings Cross -- but it will be a lot pricier than the coach.
posted by katrielalex at 11:58 PM on October 15, 2012

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