As thoughts turn to planning for Christmas, here’s our guide to travelling to and from London’s airports over the Christmas and New Year period for 2019
This is based on known information at the time of publication, which may be subject to change at short notice.
For the benefit of visitors to London, Christmas Day is the biggest annual public holiday in the UK.
Public transport in the UK on Christmas Day is extremely limited. Taxis and coaches will be your only option.
Tube, suburban and long-distance rail services also close down much earlier on Christmas Eve – most by around 20:00. Retail outlets at stations will close even earlier.
Most London Underground / Tube lines in London operate on Boxing Day, as will the Docklands Light Railway. For the first time this year, some London Overground services will also operate on Boxing Day. Suburban and long distance rail services do not operate on Boxing Day.
The Christmas and New Year period is also used for extensive engineering work on the UK’s rail network. Engineering work can overrun and encounter unforeseen problems, so there is risk of additional closures at short notice. The latest and most accurate rail timetable information can be found on National Rail Enquiries.
The big unknown over the Christmas period is of course UK weather. London airports have markedly improved their winter weather resilience planning in recent years. However, due to capacity issues, it is inevitable that any severe weather will cause delays and cancellations.
Thameslink services between Gatwick and London stations will operate throughout Christmas and New Year, apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
However, revised timetables for all rail operators will operate on some days.
There will be significant disruption to overland rail services to London Heathrow over Christmas.
Due to engineering work closing lines between London Paddington and Slough, there will be significant to disruption to rail services between Paddington and Heathrow. No train services will run at all into and out of London Paddington from Tuesday 24 December 2019 to Friday 27 December 2019.
The Heathrow Express non-stop service from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5 will not run from Tuesday 24 December 2019 to Friday 27 December 2019.
Trains will run at 30 minute intervals from Saturday 28 December 2019 Monday 30 December 2019. Trains will leave London Paddington at 25 and 55 minutes past the hour and London Heathrow from 12 and 42 minutes past the hour. Trains will also run every 30 minutes at these times before 14:00 on Tuesday 31 December 2019.
TfL Rail’s stopping service (formerly Heathrow Connect) will not run from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 4 from Tuesday 24 December 2019 to Friday 27 December 2019. Services will be reduced from Saturday 28 December 2019 until 13:00 on Tuesday 31 December 2019.
As is standard practice, there are no Piccadilly Line services to Heathrow on Christmas Day due to the closure of the Tube. It resumes on Boxing Day.