The captain of the A380 landed the plane gracefully at Heathrow airport. He did a good job with such a huge aircraft there was only a soft thump when the wheels touched the ground. I followed the throng of passengers in front of me to passport control (immigration). It took me about an hour to get through as there was a long queue in the ‘other passport’ section. There is a separate section for UK and EU passport holders. The difference between us is that they don’t have to fill out a landing form while we had to. I heard someone yell “Next” and I was pointed to an available officer in the counter. She asked me a couple of questions and then stamped my passport and let me through. My luggage was waiting for me when I went to the designated baggage carousel.
I had nothing to declare to the customs so I got out quickly and followed the signs that said ‘Underground’ — it was a long way from Terminal 3 to the Piccadilly Line, the travelators (similar to an escalator except its flat) were such a big help as I didn’t have to drag my suitcase along. Just prop it beside me and off we go.
I bought an Oyster card. It’s a plastic smartcard about the size of a credit card which can hold credits to pay for travel on public transport in London. It’s a handy piece of plastic as you can use an Oyster card to travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London. I paid £5 (refundable) for the Oyster and put £15 credit on it. The person that manned the counter at the underground station was very helpful.
I promptly tapped my new oyster card onto the machine, got through the barrier, and waited on the platform, there was a train coming and I was inside the train in about 2 minutes! It was the start of the line so not many people yet.
It took 45 minutes to travel from Heathrow to Green Park Station where I got off. The train ride cost £3 at off-peak rate. Green Park station was very busy. I took the lift to the ground level and hailed a taxi from there. The taxi cost £7 from Green Park to my accommodation close to Trafalgar Square. The research I did paid off as it saved me some money compared to taking the Heathrow Express (£21.50 single trip). I got off at Green Park as I had read that the closest station to where I’m staying (Charing Cross) has no lifts and has lots of stairs which would be difficult to manoeuvre with a big suitcase in tow.
Once I had dropped my suitcase in my room, I went for a walk and captured the London Eye against a clear blue and white sky. A great start to my London holiday!
TRAFALGAR SQUARE at night -London
Text & Photos by Alicia Davis