Getting Into London

Getting Into London - London, United Kingdom

London has five international airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City, all of which are easily accessible via city transport.

Here's our guide to getting into London from the city's airports.

London Heathrow Airport

As London's busiest airport (and one of the busiest in the world), Heathrow is a likely landing place for your trip to the English capital. Photo: reevery.

Heathrow Airport Transportation

Heathrow sits 24km (15 miles) to the west of the center of London.

By Tube

Heathrow is connected to London by the Tube's Piccadilly Line, which picks up at all terminals and runs into central London.

The trips lasts about an hour and costs £5.50 or as little as £3 if charged to your Oyster card. (More about Oyster cards in our Getting Around London article.)

Heathrow Express train

If for some reason you're not up for the Tube, there's the Heathrow Express, which runs every 15 minutes from Heathrow to Paddington Station and costs a pricey £20 for a single Express Class fare (£10 for children). If you plan to use this option, it's best to buy your ticket online beforehand. The price goes up for purchase at a ticket machine and even further if purchased onboard. The journey takes just 15 minutes.

Bus and coach

Other options are the National Express coach service to Victoria Coach Station (40 minute; £15 one-way; £27.50 return; purchase online and early for best deals) or the Heathrow Connect, which connects Heathrow Central (Terminals 1 and 3) to Paddington Station (25 minutes; £9.50 one-way; £19 return).

Taxi

By taxi (pause for gasps, tears or laughter), expect to spend between £40 and £70 for a 30- to 60-minute drive.

Gatwick Airport Transportation

Gatwick is situated 50km (30 miles) to the south of the center of London.

Gatwick Express

The most direct way to get to central London from Gatwick is by the Gatwick Express Train, which departs every 15 minutes from the south terminal for Victoria Station. The 35-minute trip costs £19.90 one-way and £34.20 return. (Fares are reduced by a couple of pounds if you buy online.) It may not be cheap, but it sure is convenient.

Other trains

The Southern Railway journeys to Victoria Station three times an hour. The trip lasts between 30 and 40 minutes and, depending on the time of day, generally costs about £13 (purchase online or use an Oyster card for a discount).

The First Capital Connect runs regularly to London Bridge and St. Pancras, taking between 30 and 45 minutes to make its journey. The one-way fare also runs between £8.50 and £10 depending on the time of day you travel.

Bus and coach

There is also the National Express coach, which runs from Gatwick into London's Victoria Station. The bus ride lasts between 65 and 110 minutes, departs about once an hour and costs £8 for a one-way journey and £14 for a return.

The very cheapest route from Gatwick to central London is via the easyBus, which runs every 15-20 minutes direct to Earls Court/West Brompton. The journey takes just over an hour and tickets can be had for as low as £2 (book online and in advance for the lowest ticket prices).

London Stansted Ryanair

Stansted is London's home for a number of budget airlines, such as Ryanair. Photo: kpmarek.

Stansted Airport Transportation

Stansted is located 50km (31 miles) from the London city center.

Stansted Express

You can take the Stansted Express train from the airport to Liverpool Street Station (every 15-30 minutes; 45-minute trip; £23.40 one-way; £32.80 return). Book in advance online, as prices are higher when you buy from the ticket machine.

Bus and coach

A cheaper way into Central London from Stansted is the Terravision Express Shuttle, which connects Stansted airport to London along two routes. The A50 bus runs to Victoria Station in about 75 minutes, and the A51 goes to Liverpool Street Station in about 55 minutes. Both run every half hour, and tickets run £9 one-way and £15 round-trip. Purchase bus tickets in advance online.

A slower, though slightly cheaper, option is the National Express A6 bus. It runs to Victoria Coach Station every 10 minutes 24 hours a day. The A6's journey lasts between 80 and 105 minutes and costs £10 for a one-way ticket (£17 for a round-trip ticket).

The oh-so-cheap easyBus also services Stansted, picking up every 15 minutes, all day every day (except Christmas). It takes an hour and 15 minutes and drops off on Baker Street, near the Underground and the Marylebone railway station. Tickets start at £2 (book online and in advance for the lowest ticket prices).


Luton Airport Transportation

Luton is located 51km (32 miles) north of the center of London.

Trains to London

Free shuttle buses connect Luton Airport to Luton Airport Parkway station, a few minutes away. From here there are links to First Capital Connect trains to central London (35 minutes to London St. Pancras; £13 for a one-way journey) and East Midlands trains, also to London St. Pancras (25 minutes; £13.50 for a one-way journey.)

Bus and coach

easyBus’s newest route connects Luton Airport Parkway station to Earls Court (60 minutes non-stop) and Victoria Station (80 minutes, stops at several popular points). The buses pick up every 15 minutes daily, and tickets start at £2 (book online and in advance for the lowest ticket prices).

Otherwise the Greenline/Arriva bus #757 runs every 20-30 minutes directly from the airport terminal to the city's center (75 minutes; £17 one-way, £25 roundtrip). The Greenline/Arriva bus is operated in partnership with easyJet. EasyJet customers can buy tickets for slightly less (£14 one-way and £15.50 roundtrip) than the listed fare directly through the easyBus site or by following clearly marked links on the Greenline/Arriva site.

The Terravision Express Shuttle also runs between Luton and Victoria Station, departing every 20 minutes during peak hours. Tickets cost £15 (£22 return), and the journey takes 65 minutes.

Taxi

A taxi from Luton to central London will cost around a whopping £80 (probably much more than your flight...).

London City Airport DLR

The closest airport to London's city center, London City Airport is just a short ride away on the Docklands Light Railway. Photo: Ben Sutherland.

London City Airport Transportation

London City Airport is located 16km (10 miles) to the east of central London. Public transportation options to and from City Airport are few.

Trains

One option is to take the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to Bank station in The City. The DLR journey takes 22 minutes and costs £4.50 (as little as £2.70 with an Oyster card.) The DLR and the Tube connect at Canning Town, Canary Wharf and Bank stations.

You can also take the taxi route, but it will cost you. A taxi from London City Airport will run anywhere from £12 (to Canary Wharf) to £40 (to Bayswater).

A Note About Rail Transit

All of the major train lines from outside of Britain go to one of the five main rail stations in London: King's Cross Station, Liverpool Street Station, St. Pancras Station, Victoria Station or Waterloo Station. All are easily accessible by London's bus or underground transit.


More Resources for flying into London

Visit our London budget flights section for more information on low-cost airlines flying into and out of London.


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