Travel from Heathrow Airport to Chelmsford

Arriving at Chelmsford

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Introduction

These instructions will explain how to get from London Heathrow LHR airport (mainly east/slightly south of London) to Chelmsford, Essex (northeast of London). It's not the easiest journey, however, it is possible by public transport

Instructions

Train, tube and bus

1. Take the tube/train

A. With the Heathrow Express train (Heathrow - Paddington - London Liverpool Street - Chelmsford)
The Heathrow Express is a posh train with frequent service between the London Heathrow and London Paddington station, in the center of London. This train will whisk you between LHR and Paddington in only 15 minutes.

You can buy your tickets in advance online or you can buy them once you arrive at the Heathrow Express office. A single will cost you £16.50 online, £18.00 from a ticket machine or the office, and £23.00 if purchased on board the train. A first class single will cost £26.00 no matter how you purchase it. Return trips are £32.00 for and online, machine, or ticket office purchase, or £37.00 when purchased on board the train. First class return tickets are £50.00, no matter how they are purchased.
Check also to see if you qualify for any discounts.

After buying your ticket and taking the short 15 minute ride to Paddington, you need to change trains and buy another ticket for the continuing journey to Chelmsford. (An additional option it to pre-buy your entire ticket from National Rail, your fare will be between 34 and 53 pounds, depending on the time of day and which trains you use.) Scroll below for the section 'From Paddington station'.

B. With the Heathrow Connect train (Heathrow - Paddington - London Liverpool Street - Chelmsford)

The Heathrow Connect is more like a 'regional rail' or suburban train. It's not as nice as the Express, but it's nicer than the Tube; and it's priced accordingly.

You can buy your tickets in advance and then collect them at Heathrow, from the machine. A single to Paddington costs £8.50 or a return is £16.50. It doesn't run as frequently as the Express, and it takes a little longer, around 33 minutes. Be sure to check the schedule in advance.

Then, once you're in Paddington, follow the 'From Paddington station' instructions below.

C. Without the Heathrow Express or Connect trains (as cheap as possible!) (Heathrow - Hammersmith - London Liverpool Street - Chelmsford)

If you're travelling on a budget and have more time, your least expensive option is to travel by Tube. As well the people watching is quite fun, and you're experiencing London as a local! Heathrow has its own Tube stations at the terminals, just follow the signs to them and buy your ticket from the machine or the person at the window. Then, hop on the next Tube toward Cockfosters, and hop off at Hammersmith.
Take either the Hammersmith & City Line towards Edgware Road or the Circle Line towards Edgware Road, and exit at 'London Liverpool Street' and then follow the instructions below under the 'London Liverpool Street' section.

Note: There is a good chance that 'planned railworks' will be taking place, so you may need to change somewhere along the way. Just be sure to check the London Tube's Journey Planner before you set off.

--> 'From Paddington station' (either Heathrow Express or Connect)

At Paddington, take the Hammersmith & City Line towards King's Cross St.Pancras or the Circle Line towards Edgware Road.
Note: There is a good chance that 'planned railworks' will be taking place, so you may need to change somewhere along the way. Just be sure to check the London Tube's Journey Planner before you set off.

--> from London Liverpool Street

Once you arrive at London Liverpool Street, you need to leave the Tube area by exiting through the turnstiles. Then you will enter the great hall that is full of shops and many people. Look for the giant board in the center that lists the regional rail times, it will show the next train that you need to take to Chelmsford.

Scan each of the departing trains, you will see 'Chelmsford' as a stop. Or check in advance the National Express Anglia Rail site to know when your trains will run.
Then, once you see a track listed on the giant info board, go to that track. You will need to insert your ticket to get through the turnstiles to get to the platform.

Then, it is only a matter of sitting on the train for 35-42 minutes, until you arrive in Chelmsford.

Tip: Check websites like UK LondonGroupon or Living Social as they occasionally publish deals for the London Express train.

2. Travel by Bus

In addition to the train/tube options above, it is also possible to travel from Heathrow to Chelmsford by bus.

Why would I possibly want to travel by bus instead of by train?

A few reasons:

1. If you cannot carry your suitcase up and down stairs so well, the bus is easy, roll your bag up and hand it to the driver who will stow it for you in the bus luggage area. Then when you arrive, it will be brought out for you, easy as pie, and then you wheel along to the next bus.

2. The buses run through the night, so if you have some crazy early AM flight, you can leave later if you take the bus.

3. The rails will shut down during weekends and holidays for planned railworks and offer replacement buses for certain segments; it's easier just to get on one bus for the whole journey and be done with it.

How to travel by bus from Heathrow to Chelmsford

The plan: First take a National Express bus from Heathrow to Stansted, and then take a First Group bus from Stansted to Chelmsford. The Heathrow bus will be between 1 hour/20 min and 1 hour/50 min, but I'd allow for extra time during commute hours. Check here for schedules and here for offers.

The second step is to take a First group bus from Stansted to Chelmsford (either the X30 express or 42A local). Once you are at Stansted, look at the information screens above you, to see which bay to go to for the Chelmsford bus.

Any further questions about travelling between Chelmsford and Heathrow, just ask. :-)

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