Airport transfers

Information about our airport transfers for international and EU students joining UWE Bristol.

Free airport transfers

To assist with your journey to UWE Bristol, we are offering a free airport transfer service from London Heathrow Airport to Bristol for January 2023 entry. 

  • Thursday 12 January 2023 (Closing date for booking is Wednesday 4 January 2023 at 17:00 GMT)
  • Thursday 19 January 2023 (Closing date for booking is Wednesday 11 January 2023 at 17:00 GMT)
  • Thursday 26 January 2023 (Closing date for booking is Wednesday 18 January 2023 at 17:00 GMT).
Please complete an airport transfer booking form to make a booking.
Student looking at a departure board in the airport

Before you travel

What should I consider before arriving in the UK?

Further information about arriving, living and studying in the UK can be found on UWE Bristol webpages. 

Booking travel

How can I book my airport transfer?

Our free coach transfer service for our new International and EU students travelling from Heathrow Airport, London to Bristol in January 2023 is now open.

Please complete an airport transfer booking form to make a booking.

  • under ‘School/College/University’ please type UWE Bristol
  • under 'Number of passengers travelling' please indicate one person unless a family member or friend wishes to benefit by using our coach transfer service from Heathrow Airport.

There is a charge of £50 per person for any family member or friend travelling with you. You will be contacted by email by our airport transfer booking team to complete the booking and take an online payment for any family member or friend choosing to travel with you from Heathrow Airport to Bristol.

This will not happen immediately after you complete your airport transfer booking as a student. It can take up to five working days to be contacted by our booking team to complete the booking and take the payment for your family/friend.

Please note: Free airport transfer bookings can be made between 23 December 2022 and 3 January 2023 as our outsourced booking company are working over the Christmas break. UWE Student Support team offices will be closed from 12:00 on the 23 December 2022 to 3 January 2023 for the Christmas holidays. If you have questions for us, we will respond to you in January.

Coach departure times from Heathrow Airport

Our coaches will leave London Heathrow at 12:00 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). It usually takes 2.5 hours to travel by coach to Bristol.

You will receive an email confirming the exact meeting point in Terminal 2 and confirmation of the departure time of the coach. You will be sent with email 48 hours (two working days) before the airport transfer date you have booked onto.

Making changes to your airport transfer booking

If you need to make a change to your airport transfer booking please do not go back online to our booking form as this may cause confusion. Please email Andrew at Hosts International at andrew@hosts-international.com to request a change.

Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that we'll be able to accommodate your changes if your request is later than five working days before your travel date.

My online application is not being accepted, what am I doing wrong?

The likely reason your application is not being accepted is because you are missing some key information. It is really important that you provide answers to all the information asked on the form otherwise it will not be accepted.

This is a list of what you will be asked for:

  • full name
  • nationality
  • mobile number
  • your email
  • arrival date
  • airline
  • flight number
  • flight landing time
  • landing airport
  • school/college/university
  • school/student/ID code
  • accommodation/drop-off location
  • full address of accommodation
  • number of bags/luggage
  • number of passengers travelling
  • name of any family or friend using the airport transfer service.

What time will my transfer depart?

Our coaches will leave London Heathrow at 12:00 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) on the following dates:

  • Thursday 12 January 2023
  • Thursday 19 January 2023
  • Thursday 26 January 2023

Please note: The airport transfer application form will close five working days (Monday – Friday) before the transfer.

You will receive an email which includes:

  • details of where to meet the team at London Heathrow along with their contact details
  • the departure time of our coaches.

Please note: this confirmation email will arrive within two working days before your free airport transfer.

Our team will check your flight details and can track any delays. However, if you become aware of any delays upon arrival in the UK (such as long delays in customs) then please send a message to the WhatsApp number (free wi-fi at Heathrow Airport) you will receive in our email advising of airport transfer arrangements.

Who can book for the free airport transfer?

The airport transfer is for new international and European students who start their course in January 2023. If you are a returning student, please contact us at globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk and we will assist you with travel information and answer your questions about onward travel to Bristol.

Can I request an airport transfer before booking my flight ticket?

No, please book your flight tickets first as we will need your flight details to secure your booking.

I would like to make my own way to UWE Bristol

Tell us when you're arriving

We want to have everything ready for your arrival. To enable us to do this, can you let us know by completing this arrival registration form with details of when you plan to arrive.

We are here to help with support and travel guidance simply email Global students at globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk.

Coach from London airports

You can make your own arrangements to travel to UWE Bristol by main national bus companies or by rail. If you decide to fly into London Heathrow and travel to Bristol by coach, there are some direct services. The journey takes around two hours, but can be longer depending on traffic.

The two most popular coach services in the UK are National Express and Megabus. Alternatively, rail services are in operation. Further information is available on UWE Bristol campus locations and travel options.

Information on transport options from London airports can be found on the London Heathrow Airport website and London Gatwick Airport website. If you decide to travel via London, remember to plan your journey via Heathrow Airport or Gatwick Airport journey planner.

For travelling to Bristol on a coach, it is recommended that you:

  • book your coach ticket in advance to get a cheaper price.
  • check luggage allowance carefully. You may need to buy extra luggage allowance or an extra passenger ticket if you have a lot of luggage.

Can I arrange my own travel if I arrive on a different airport transfer date?

Sure, our travel management company called Hosts International are happy to receive requests from our students to arrange travel independently.  Simply email Andrew at andrew@hosts-international.com to make a separate arrangement.

Do I need to book accommodation before booking for the free airport transfer service?

Yes, please make sure that you arrange your accommodation in advance. It is very important that you find accommodation before arriving in the UK, as the University cannot offer you a room while you search. Please arrange temporary accommodation if needed.

It is your responsibility to let your accommodation provider know when you are arriving. Please ensure you make the necessary arrangements with them to collect your keys so you can access your room upon your arrival. If you know you will be delayed in collecting your keys, it is your responsibility to inform your accommodation provider.

If you need advice about UWE managed accommodation, please contact accommodation@uwe.ac.uk. Please check your email regularly for most up to date information.

For private accommodation information please contact advice@uwe.ac.uk and read guidance on the SU Advice website.

Where will my transfer meeting point be?

You will receive full details by email (the contact email you gave us when booking the airport transfer) within 48 hours (two working days) of the date of the transfer you have booked onto.

Transfer meeting point details

  • All coach departures will leave from London Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 at 12:00 on the day you have booked your free transfer.
  • When you arrive at the airport, make your way to the International Arrivals hall in Terminal 2 using the London Underground System or walkways.
  • In the International Arrivals hall, the transfer meeting point is outside the shop Boots (Please check Heathrow's interactive map for directions).
  • A member of staff will be waiting at the transfer meeting point from 9:00 (UK time) in a hi-vis jacket with a UWE Bristol sign.
  • There may be a wait until the coach departure time but you will be told when to report back to the meeting point.

Please note: It is important to arrive at the transfer meeting point on time. If you miss your free transfer you will have to make your own way to Bristol.

Drop-off points

There are three drop-off points in Bristol:

  • Frenchay Campus
  • Glenside Campus
  • Temple Meads Station

If you are not staying in our campus accommodation, you will be dropped off at Temple Meads Station and it is possible to take either public transport (train/bus) or a taxi at your own expense to your final destination.

Contact details

If we have asked for your mobile telephone number, please send it to us because we will need it to contact you in an emergency.

What if I cannot find the transfer staff member?

After booking your transfer, you will receive contact details and a telephone number (including WhatsApp) that you will be able to call/message if you need support.

How much luggage can I bring?

For onward travel from London to Bristol please use below as a guideline.

You can bring either:

  • two medium suitcases and hand luggage (this must not include a carry on sized suitcase)

or

  • one large suitcase and hand luggage (this can include one carry on sized suitcase).

Airport, transport and UWE Bristol staff members won’t be able to help you carry your luggage. Please make sure that you can carry and lift your luggage independently while you travel and move from the transfer vehicle to your accommodation. Please note that you can pre-order and buy essential items online and in person when in the UK.

You will asked how much luggage you plan to bring on the booking form. If you bring more luggage than the allowance you may not be able to travel on the coach as there is limited space for luggage on each coach. In this instance, there may be space on the last coach of the day or you may have to travel to Bristol independently.

Are there any extra charges?

If you wish to travel with family and friends there will be a £50 charge per person. The charge is the same regardless of age of family/friend.

Will I be able to travel with any medication?

Please be aware if you need to travel with any other prescribed medication, you will need to prove it has been prescribed to you. Please refer to Gov.uk regarding travelling with medication for further information.

Other arrival options

If you would like to make your own way to Bristol please see below for information on alternative transport options.

On arrival

From Frenchay Campus, is it possible to get public transport to my private accommodation?

If you've benefited from using our free airport transfer service from Heathrow airport and been dropped at our Frenchay Campus, one of our team will meet you from the coach and take you to comfortable area so that you're able to arrange your onward journey to your private accommodation. Students are expected to make their own travel arrangements onto their accommodation from Frenchay Campus.

We recommend you download the First Bus app, this is Bristol’s bus transport app which you must use if you wish to travel by bus. There is a very regular bus service from our campus to the city centre. Alternatively if you wish to book a taxi, the popular UK taxi apps are Uber and Euro Taxi.

As a guide the cost of a single fare by bus to the city centre is £3 and by taxi it is £15 to £20.

Please be aware travel costs to your accommodation are at your own expense.

How can I make sure I’ll be able to use my phone when I arrive in the UK?

Before you leave your home country, check with your existing provider that you’ll be able to use your phone in the UK and that it won’t be ‘locked’ to your home network. Check the costs of using your phone in the UK on your existing network (known as ‘roaming’) – if it’s expensive, make sure you switch off roaming on arrival to avoid a big bill.

It may be more cost-effective for you to buy a UK Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) SIM card than to use roaming on your existing network. Popular UK phone networks include EE, Three, O2, Vodaphone, LycaMobile, and Giffgaff. If you plan to make international calls (rather than call home using an internet-based app such as Whatsapp), LycaMobile and Giffgaff offer cheap international calling. For a comparison of the various UK PAYG SIM deals, visit a UK comparison website.

The cheapest way to buy a PAYG SIM card is online or at a local convenience store or supermarket. If you want to get connected quickly, you can also buy SIM cards at the airport on arrival. If you want to use the SIM card immediately, make sure the card includes some pre-paid credit (known as a pre-paid PAYG SIM).

If you are arriving at Heathrow, you might be able to buy a SIM card at the following places:

  • WH Smiths (Terminals 2,4, and 5)
  • Sim Local (Terminal 2, 3, and 5; and underground in Terminal 2)
  • WeKnow tourist information (Terminals 2,3,4 and 5)
  • From a Prepaid Tourist SIM vending machine.

If you want to contact your family to let them know of your safe arrival, it might be possible to use the airport wifi to do so, but note that airports are likely to ask arrivals to exit the airport quickly as part of their coronavirus safety plans.

UWE Bristol does not endorse any particular service.

How can I access money on arrival?

It’s important that you have some money for your first few weeks in the UK as a combination of cash and access to a credit, debit or pre-paid card. This is so that you can pay for anything you may have to buy (for example food, drink, travel tickets and taxis). Please note: we do not advise you to bring cash for your tuition fee payment. You can find ways to pay tuition fees, or contact the Income Office team by email: cash.office@uwe.ac.uk.

If you are bringing cash from your home country and exchanging it at the airport on arrival or prior to departure be careful as to not exceed any currency limits set by your home country and to declare any cash exceeding EUR10,000 (including in other currencies) at UK customs. Note that the exchange rates offered by airport Bureau de Change are not particularly competitive.

As well as cash, you will also need access to a debit, credit, or pre-paid card. Card payments will be required for online purchases, and most payments in shops (many shops have been moving towards card-only as for payments as a result of coronavirus). 

If you choose not to bring cash from your home country, you can withdraw £ Sterling (GBP) by using your debit, credit, or pre-paid card at an ATM (known in the UK as a ‘cashpoint’ or ‘cash machine’) inside the airport terminal.

Check with your bank in your home country to make sure that your credit or debit card will work in the UK (both at ATMs and in shops) and what fees there will be (if any). Consider opening a pre-paid travel card with a bank in your home country before you depart, or opening a digital app-based bank account.

Note that opening a bank account can take a few weeks and requires you to have proof of a UK address. You can learn more about opening a bank account in the UK on the UWE’s Banking and finance webpage.

Note that traditional taxis usually only accept payment in cash. Taxis ordered through apps such as Uber are paid for using a debit or credit card connected to app.

UWE Bristol does not endorse any particular service.

Where and how can I buy groceries and basic household items?

You have the opportunity to order groceries and other necessities from online shops and supermarkets. Please ensure that you have a suitable pre-paid card or bank account to make online purchases.  

You also might find it useful to pre-order a kitchen, bedding, cleaning, bathroom starter packs. This option is available for all students both living in university-managed and private accommodation. Take a look at the pack you might need.

We also encourage you to ask your flatmates, friends and family for support. More information about support and services on the campus will be provided closer to the date.

There are many ways people can get food or essentials delivered you below are some links you may find useful. You also have the possibility of ordering groceries and other necessities online.

Supermarkets that offer contactless deliveries are as follows: 

Most restaurants offer contactless deliveries, which can be ordered through the following apps: 

I cannot find answer to my question. Who shall I contact?

Please email globalstudents@uwe.ac.uk with any questions.

Arriving and living in the UK

Advice to help you adjust to life in the UK and at UWE Bristol.

Starting Block

To help you get settled into university-level education, we’ve developed Starting Block – a series of activities for you to get to know your teaching team and your course mates.

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