This page is intended to clarify the best way to get to Thistle City Barbican Hotel from the London Airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and City). For details of how to get to the Barbican Centre (the Wikimania conference venue), see Venue. The address and contact details for the hotel are:
Thistle City Barbican Hotel
Central Street Clerkenwell
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7956 6000
From Heathrow (LHR)
London Underground (Tube) only
The cheapest way of getting from Heathrow to the hotel is via the London Underground. The nearest Tube station to the hotel is Old Street.
- Go to the Heathrow London Underground station for your terminal (there are three, but all trains go to the same place).
- (optional) Buy an Oyster card (£5 deposit), with at least £10 of credit on it. This will be cheaper and is faster to use, and will continue to be useful during your stay in London. The deposit can be refunded at the end of your visit.
- Take any train Eastbound to King's Cross St. Pancras (takes about 50 minutes); the train may be announced as heading for "Cockfosters" or "Central London".
- Change at King's Cross onto the Northern Line (black colour), taking any train heading Southbound to Old Street station (second stop; takes about 5 minutes).
- Leave Old Street station via Subway 4 (red, clearly labelled), taking the left-hand exit (the ramp) walking West (in the direction of the exit) along Old Street itself.
- After 50m, turn right into Bath Street, immediately after the Co-op shop.
- After 100m, turn left into Lever Street. (Careful, if you reach City Road you've gone too far.)
- You will find the hotel after another 100m, on your right.
Total journey cost: £3.00 off-peak or £5.00 during peak hours (with an Oyster card; £5.70 if paying the cash fare). Information about fares can be found here, and here for current adult Oyster fares.
Total journey time: 65 minutes + 10 minutes of walking from Old Street station to Thistle City Hotel = 75 minutes
Heathrow Express and London Underground (Tube)
The fastest way to get to the hotel by public transport (but also the most expensive) is the Heathrow Express. Trains runs non-stop to London Paddington in 15–20 minutes, with a train every 15 minutes.
It costs £21 to get to London Paddington. If you're travelling with another person, you can get the Duo Saver which offers a return journey for two for a total of £50. In a group of 3 or more adults the Group Saver will give you a saving of 1/3. If you're travelling with children, Kids Go Free. if you have a MasterCard you can get a 12% discount and combine this with the Kids Go Free offer.
From London Paddington, you will need to get onto the Tube network and take any train on the Hammersmith and City Line (pink colour) heading Eastbound to Barbican station which will cost an additional £4.70 with cash payment or £2.20 if you get an Oyster card (15 minute journey).
At Barbican station, turn left as you leave the station and walk along Goswell Road. At the next set of traffic lights turn right into Old Street. After 50 yards turn left into Central Street and you will find the hotel after another 150 yards on your right.
Total journey time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes walking from Barbican station to Thistle City Hotel = 40 minutes
Late night/early morning and Taxis
- Late at night or very early in the morning (when trains aren't running), night buses are the only form of public transport to Heathrow. However, the journey is likely to be slow and involve several changes of bus - so it may be best to wait until the Tube is running. London buses do not accept cash—you will need an Oyster card or a contactless payment card.
- Taxi and minicab services are also available from Heathrow (but will be very expensive!).
From Gatwick (LGW)
Gatwick is a bit further out from Central London than Heathrow, so it doesn't have a direct link to the London Underground (Tube). Trains from Gatwick Airport train station will take you to London Victoria: see the National Rail website for train times.
Regular Train and London Underground (Tube)
You can get a regular (and cheaper) scheduled train service to London Victoria (Journey time: between 30-55 minutes, at approximate cost of £20 for a Single ticket) or to London Bridge (Journey time: between 30-50 minutes, at an approximate cost of £10 for a Single ticket):
- From London Victoria go to the Victoria Underground Station and take any Victoria Line (light blue colour) Northbound to King's Cross St Pancras. Change at King's Cross onto the Northern Line (black colour), taking any train heading Southbound to Old Street station. Journey time: 25 minutes.
- From London Bridge go to the Underground Station and take any Northern Line (black colour) train Northbound to Old Street station. Journey time: 10 minutes
Total journey time: Train time + 25 or 10 minutes (Depending on Underground Station above)+ 10 minutes walking from Old Street station to Thistle City Hotel = xx minutes
From Stansted (STN) or Luton (LTN)
Luton and Stansted are both budget airline hubs which serve European destinations. Neither is in fact particularly close to London and train is by far the best way to get to London from the airport.
- London Luton Airport Regular train service to London St Pancras. From King's Cross St Pancras go to the St Pancras Underground station and take any Northern Line (black colour) train heading Southbound to Old Street station.
- London Stansted Airport Trains to London Liverpool Street. From Liverpool Street take the Tube: Circle Line (yellow colour), taking any train heading Eastbound to Barbican station.
From London City Airport (LCY)
London City Airport is the smallest of London's airports, mainly serving other European cities. From City, take the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Bank and at Bank take the Northern Line (black colour), taking any train heading Northbound to Old Street station.
Train (via Belgium and France)
Eurostar high-speed trains run from Paris (Gare du Nord), Lille, Brussels, and Avignon. Through tickets are available from many European cities to most large UK cities. Journey times average 2hrs 15 mins to and from Paris, and 1hr 50 mins to Brussels. A second class return from Paris to London costs between €85 and €230. From St Pancras International go to Underground station and take any Northern Line (black colour) train heading Southbound to Old Street station.
Car and Ferry
It is possible, though not recommended, to travel to Wikimania by car from other European countries. There are ferry services to England from France, Spain, Ireland, Holland and even Norway. The most frequent service is from from Calais to Dover, and it is also possible to load your car onto a train to travel through the Channel Tunnel. If you are combining your trip with another holiday you might think about this option.
From King's Cross, head east along Pentonville Road, and turn right into Goswell Road. At the first set of traffic lights, turn left into Lever Street: Thistle City Barbican is at the junction with Central Street. To programme your sat-nav, please use the postcode EC1V 8DS. Parking in Central London is difficult. There is no parking at the venue and there are only 9 car parking spaces at the Thistle City, at a cost of £30 per night on a first come first served basis. On-street parking is not suitable for a long stay - everywhere in Central London requires a residents' parking permit.
There are often engineering works at the weekends so it's best to check the Transport for London website (TFL) before travelling.
- Peak hours are weekdays 06:30–09:30 and 16:00–19:00.