Only very slightly slower and probably cheaper will be the National Express coach (bus). However there are only 3 departures a day (winter - summer won't be a lot more if any) all in the afternoon. There are more departures to Exeter where you can get a local bus or train to Barnstaple
Buy the HEC tickets when you arrive but use www.eastcoast.co.uk to book the tickets from Paddington to Barnstaple collecting them at Paddington - do it about 6-12 weeks in advance in order to get the best prices which can be as low as £12
Railair coach to Reading costs £14 single, £23 return as opposed to £7.90 single for the HEC and the cost of a train from Reading to Barnstaple isn't much lower than from Paddington to Barnstaple.
1) Heathrow - London Paddington
2) Paddington - Exeter
3) Exeter - Barnstaple (pretty local route)
2 train companies operate Heathrow Airport - Paddington.
Heathrow Express is slightly quicker & more frequent, but more expensive. Very efficent.
If you want lower fare then Heathrow Connect is best option. Still a good service but few stops en route..
First Great Western Trains will operate both routes for the remainder of the journey. www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk has all the info you need.
Click "tickets & fares" with links for Brit Rail info & advance purchase tickets.
You should be able to book through ticket for the entire journye if you wish.
Just to advise: try to avoid travelling out of London between 4-6 pm Mon-Fri as "rush hour" - as well as very busy, many lower fares not valid, and prices are extreme. Also mon-fri avoid travelling into London to arrive before 1000 as same applies. These restrictions often do not apply Sat/sun & Bank Holidays. If you purchase Brit rail passes they often do not have time restrictions, so great for flexibility.
If you are unsure of prices etc, let me know & i can check for you, before you book. Best to send direct message for quicker reply.
Hopr this helps.
Extremely helpful. Thank you.
Thank you all for taking the time to offer help!
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