London Heathrow to Euston Station the scenic way
August 28, 2017 11:41 AM   Subscribe

I've asked before about a short London jaunt, and then reported failure. But this time it's happening for sure. I fly into London Heathrow, arriving at 8 AM, and take a train out of Euston Station to Manchester at 4 PM. Help me join the dots in the most scenic way possible?

Logistics: I'll have only a carry-on backpack. I should have data coverage (previous ask). I've never been in London, and I'm not afraid to walk or tackle public transport. The previous Ask responses (for a shorter round trip from LHR) suggested HEX to Paddington and a one-day travel card for Zones 1-2, or possibly the Picadilly line. This should be a more relaxed trip, assuming flights don't screw up too badly.

(On my way back, I get into Euston after 9 PM and leave from Heathrow the next morning at 10 AM, so not much to be done there, I think.)
posted by RedOrGreen to Travel & Transportation around London, England (11 answers total)
The cheapest (though not the shortest) is the Piccadilly line to Kings Cross and either walk to Euston (not far) or take a bus (for which your travel card will help) (18, 73, 205 or 30) or tube (Northern or Victoria line) but that means you have a lot of time to kill and you really don't want to kill it at either Kings Cross or Euston.
posted by TheRaven at 12:06 PM on August 28, 2017

It's a ten minute walk (max) between King's Cross and Euston. That is of course if you don't want to:

- Check out the Harry Potter shop and platform 9 3/4s. Or just watch the tourists!
- Marvel at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel architecture
- Visit the British Library
- Visit the Wellcome Collection

All these things are available to you within one tiny stretch of road. They are all great!
posted by teststrip at 12:25 PM on August 28, 2017

Ohhh, I might have been sloppy in phrasing my question. I have 8 hours to kill, and would like to squeeze in as much of London as possible, travel delays permitting... So I'm looking for a touristy plan of action.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:53 PM on August 28, 2017

Here is what I would do: Take the Piccadilly line from Heathrow to South Kensington station and visit the Victoria & Albert Museum or the Natural History Museum (both free). Walk from there across Green Park and St James Park, then up through Covent Garden to the British Museum (also free), then from there it's just a short walk to Euston. A rough map of the journey. This would take you through some excellent museums, past Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, through lovely green spaces, and past loads of pubs and restaurants for lunch. If that is too much for the timespan (who knows what customs will be like), the route never goes more than a few blocks from a tube station.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:15 PM on August 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I would take the tube to London Bridge, eat around Borough Market, walk over the river to St Paul's (via the some of the wacky City, i.e. financial district, architecture), then Holborn/Lincoln's Inn Fields (via back alleys, make time for for the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, which is a hidden gem), then on to the British Museum, then walk up to Euston and eat Indian food on Drummond St and then get my train. That's a 3 mile walk total, with lots of pit stops and lots of London sights. It deliberately avoids the West End, which is shopping (some of it impressive but not unique to London). If you'd like to see some shopping, then you might be able to squeeze in Covent Garden market after/before Holborn.

If you have time, I highly recommend a 2 hour guided walk from these folks. I did the City of London one last year and it was great.
posted by caek at 1:20 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Traditional sights: Heathrow Express to Paddington for max speed into town. From there take the Bakerloo to Baker St, where you can drop by the Sherlock Holmes museum if that's your thing, or just change onto the Jubilee and head to Westminster for a look at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben etc. From there tube to Tower Hill for the Tower of London/Tower Bridge. Walk down the South Bank back to London Bridge and either what caek said or you can get straight to Euston on the Northern line from there if time is tight.
posted by corvine at 1:24 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know how large your bag will be, but I've very rarely regretted putting it into left luggage and walking round unloaded, especially because when I'm on city breaks, I really really put the walking miles on.

So in that case, I'd go Heathrow Express into Paddington (book now and it's much cheaper), then get the Hammersmith & City/Circle line to Euston Square, drop your bag off there and walk across to Kings Cross St Pancras to gather your thoughts with a coffee and breakfast (there's lots of eating options, generally pretty good*, and all as low pressure as you'd expect in a railway station). Then walk down through Bloomsbury, taking in the British Museum (free entry), and Lincoln's Inn Fields (don't forget to go down some of the back alleys), and then maybe the reverse of caek's route.

But it's also nice to walk all the way along from London Bridge to Westminster Bridge on the south side of the river, past Tate Modern (also free entry) and , then crossing to see the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey & Big Ben, and walking up through St James's Park, past (not actually that interesting) Buckingham Palace into Green Park, then heading east to go up Pall Mall and into Trafalgar Square, where there's the National Gallery (also free entry).

Also, the TfL hire bikes (Boris bikes) are fairly convenient, can carry a medium size bag in the front, and you can cycle from Paddington through Hyde Park into the city without too much difficulty, mainly on segregated paths. Or walk to Hyde Park and pick up a bike from a pick-up point there.
posted by ambrosen at 2:58 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you take caek's route, you might want to pop into One New Change, the mall next to St Paul's - it's round to the right if you're approaching from the river - and go up to the roof terrace for some nice views. (There are also superb views from various viewing galleries in the Tate Modern, but you do risk losing several hours to exploring the art.)

St James's Park has pelicans on its lake; if you're from somewhere without pelicans, that might be interesting.

Just so you're aware, there are bag searches and restrictions on bag size at most of the major museums; you'll probably be fine with a carry-on, but there are details on their websites if you want to make sure.

Boris bike stands, which are ubiquitous, are useful even if you don't want to cycle, because they have local maps on them, oriented the way you're facing and with major sights labelled. You really have to work at it to get properly lost on foot in Central London these days, which is great.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:27 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding the suggestion of visiting the British Library, which is right next to Euston Station. You can make a quick pass through the document room in a half hour. It has an amazing range of bits of written and drawn history.
posted by dws at 3:58 PM on August 28, 2017

If you want to do the museum I would stick with the heathrow express into Paddington and then walk across hyde park from Paddington to exhibition road/the V&A. Paddington is only 5 minutes walk from hyde park and then its about 20 minutes across the park, which is attractive and has some nice views across the city. Paddington also has a left luggage shop, its at the high numbered platform side of the station. When you pick luggage up later then you can take the Hammersmith & City line underground direct to Euston Square and walk the last 50 yards to Euston.
posted by biffa at 4:04 PM on August 28, 2017

A trip follow-up, in case some of you were curious:

Thank you caek for the fantastic walking tour recommendation!

Heathrow immigration was the worst performance I have ever encountered in an international airport. Not only did they hold us in a cattle pen while letting through all UK and EU passport holders, they continued to allow EU/UK passport holders from subsequent flight arrivals to cut into the line ahead of us. And they only had a handful of counters open. Shameful. Wasted almost 90 minutes here.

But - thanks to all of you guys for the suggestions - I got out, sprinted to the HEX, got into Paddington, coughed up 30p to use the loo(!), got an Oyster card, got onto the Tube, Bakerloo / Jubilee to Westminster station with minutes to spare before the Sunday 10 am Welcome to London walking tour. (Welcome to the Flash-Bang-Lightning Highlights Tour ... the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. James's Palace, the quintessential Royal Park, classy St. James's, the Mall, Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch, Birdcage Walk, Queen Anne's Gate, you name it...) That was fantastic - just the thing.

Then a leisurely pub lunch in Leicester square (Yorkshire pudding! I had no idea), a bit of wandering and coffee, the Tube to the Tower of London, walk across London bridge, a couple of Tube rides back to Euston station, Isaac Newton at the British Library, and then my train to Manchester.

That was a good few hours in London! Next time, I'll get to actually walk into a museum or two.

For future readers: the Giffgaff SIM worked perfectly (free international shipping - data access at wheels down) and the Citymapper app did a fantastic job, down to micro-optimizations like riding in the front section of the Bakerloo line train for the fastest change to the Jubilee line, for example.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:09 AM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

« Older University Student Subscriptions?   |   How can I get the most out of three sessions with... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.