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Bus Route X26 – London’s Longest Bus Route

BY Boon Koh
Published 15 November 2011

I passed another milestone in my stay so far in London – I caught a bus on London’s longest bus route, X26. Its quite a strange bus route, running from Heathrow Airport all the way through lots of places in Southwest London, before ending up at West Croydon!

Luckily, I wasn’t stuck on the X26 for all the 23.75 miles that it runs – I was only on it for the 20 minutes between Cheam Broadway and Kingston Rail Station. The whole journey takes up to 123 minutes – getting more than two full hour of bus ride for the price of a PAYG Oyster Card bus fare of £1.20 is a bargain!

So what’s the history of the X26 route? It began as a Green Line Coach in the 1950’s, route 725, which ran for much longer than West Croydon to Heathrow. Over the years, it was managed by a succession of bus companies, and in 1986, Transport for London (then known as London Transport), took over the route. There’s been several attempts to close the route down, but it has survived until today, although in a truncated form. Nowadays, London Bus Route X26 even has its own Facebook page!

Nowadays, Route X26 is your typical London bus, and on my ride that day, it was a typical bus ride – slow moving traffic and a mix of Londoners all taking the bus to get to their destination. But one day, I intend to take Bus X26 all the way from Heathrow to West Croydon – perhaps if I was a tourist, and my hotel was in Croydon. But its also a good ride through some real London suburbs – through the upper middle class bits in Kingston, and then the village feel of Cheam, the bustling commuter town of Sutton, and then on to the busy and commercial city of Croydon.

Bus X26 Route:

Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, Hatton Cross Station, Teddington, Kingston Rail Station, New Malden, Worcester Park, North Cheam, Cheam Broadway, Cheam High Street, Sutton, Carshalton High Street, East Croydon Rail Station, West Croydon Bus Station.


  • Guest

    When was the last time you used a bus? It’s £1.30 for a single journey!

  • http://twitter.com/thelondoneer The Londoneer

    I much prefer being able to use the London Overground to get to Croydon these days :)  Although my reasons for going there have almost run dry, now that the best second-hand record shop in the country has gone the way of the dinosaur. RIP Beanos…

  • PDoe

    It’s now £1.40 with Oyster PAYG!