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Home / Student Life / Post Arrival Information

Post Arrival Information

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Post Arrival Information

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There are 4 terminals at Heathrow Airport, each terminal has its own Information desk and customer service counters. Do not hesitate to contact them if you need any help.

The easiest and quickest route into central London from Heathrow Airport (twelve miles west of the city) into central London is the Heathrow Express service. This non-stop train service runs every 15 minutes from all four terminals. The journey time from Terminals 1,2,3 is just 15 minutes. Allow an extra five minutes from Terminal Four. Tickets cost 12 one-way if buy before you board (2 extra if not). Just follow the signs from all terminals. You will arrive at Paddington Station, with connections to four subway lines and plenty of taxis.

You can also take the subway (the Underground/Tube) direct from any terminal into the city. There are signs in all terminals. The Piccadilly (dark blue) line serves Heathrow, and Heathrow airport has two underground stations, one for Terminals 1-3 and one for Terminal 4. For some residences, we recommend taking the Underground from Heathrow, because it's the most direct and easiest route.

The Underground runs 20hrs a day, every day and serves all parts of the city. The city is divided into six fare zones, with Zone 1 covering central London (Heathrow is in Zone 6). Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines and offices at all stations. Always keep your ticket with you, as you'll need it for the automatic entry and exit gates. Journey time is 50-60 minutes to Central London. Trains depart every few minutes, run between 5am (0513) and midnight (23 49), taking between 50 minutes to an hour to reach the centre.

If you plan to do travelling around London the day you arrive, you should buy a multi-zone one-day TravelCard for 6.00 at Heathrow (available after 9.30am). Before 9.30am, for unlimited travel buy a LT card (cost 12.00). You can also use your Travelcard on any red London bus. For more information on travel in London and travelcards, visit:

We then recommend taking a taxi from the closest underground station to your hall. To avoid problems, always take a famed London black taxi cab. Black cabs, by law, must take you the shortest route. Take one from a taxi stand (at any station) or hail one in the street if the yellow "For Hire" sign is lit. The hire charge is around 2.00 per mile with extra charges for luggage, and they are very safe and reliable (all drivers are licensed and they all have taken a two year rigorous test). If anyone approaches you at a station offering you a taxi, DO NOT ACCEPT (as the fare charge will be excessive and this puts you at risk).

*There are no fixed taxi fares from the airport: you pay by time and distance, so if you are caught in traffic (very likely), you will end up paying a small fortune.

If you are traveling to other cities then you can travel by air, train or coach. Contact the travel counter or information desk for further assistance on transport links.

Phoning Home

Public telephones or "Payphones" are located at most train stations and Post Offices and often in streets. Some accept coins (1, 50p, 20p) and some accept "Phonecards", coins or credit cards. A Phonecard is a plastic card which contains credits for telephone calls. Phonecards can be purchased from most shops and all Post Offices (the cheapest is 5).

Bring an international calling card with you initially, as you often get a better rate per minute from them than from your UK long distance carrier (usually BT, British Telecom). To make overseas calls, always dial 00 first, then the country code (92 for Pakistan, 91 for India, 1 for the US) followed by the specific number you are calling. Calls are cheapest between 8:00pm and 8:00am and reduced rates are also available on weekends.

The local area code for central London is (0207); you only need to dial 7, plus the number in the city. Please note that local calls are not free.


London is very net friendly, and there are internet cafes eveywhere. The cheapest and biggest is the EasyEverything ( chain, the world's largest internet cafes: at Trafalgar Square, Victoria, Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Kensington High Street. British Telecom have also introduced a number of internet phones in key sites in London (e.g.Waterloo Station). You can also access internet on your place of study. Sometimes Institute would like you to register with IT services before you can use Internet, Please ask IT Resource Centre to give you the permission to use the internet.


You'll find all the fast food outlets you're used to everywhere. If you want more information on local restaurants (you can search and Time Out London by type and area) from home before you leave: especially if you're looking for a good vegetarian or Halal Food, there are hundreds of shops & asian restaurants around the city. For a cheap lunch, the choice is endless).

Most of you will also be in self-catering residences, so you will be needing to buy groceries. The five main supermarket chain stores in the UK are Asda (Walmart), Sainsburys, Safeways, Tesco and Waitrose. You can be sure there'll be a branch of one of those close to you hall. They are generally open from 8am to 8pm (except on Sundays when most open from midday to 6pm). Sainsburys, Tescos and Marks and Spencers also have a number of stores in very central locations


A lot of the issues about being safe in London are common sense. Take the usual sensible precautions as you would in any large city. London has its share of pickpockets, usually operating on tube stations or major shopping areas like Oxford Street & Piccadilly Circus, so try not to look too much like a tourist. Don't keep your passport, money, credit cards, etc, together. If you lose one, you'll lose all.

If you're going out at night, go with friends. The safest way to travel back is by tube (but they mostly close at midnight). If you are out later, take a black cab; these can be costly but are worth it for peace of mind. Alternatively, you can take a NightBus home (they all leave from Trafalgar Square) and you can use your Travelcard on these services.

Violent crime in London is relatively rare, and threat of attacks involving weapons is much less likely than in the US, especially as guns are illegal here. There are no real "no-go"areas in the city.

NOTE: It will take some geting used to but look for traffic coming in the wrong direction, as we drive on the left.

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