So you’re flying into London and want to know how to get straight into the city. Read further for each of the different London International Airports:
There are 6 airports that you can be flying into, all of which have different ways to get to the city. If you’re coming from long haul distances you’re most likely going to get into either Heathrow, Gatwick, Standsted. Read below for all the best ways to get from your London airport to the City center.
London’s busiest airport is perfectly setup with a number of different options and price points.
- BEST and CHEAP OPTION: London Underground – This is in our opinion the cheapest and easiest way to get from Heathrow to the city. When you exit baggage claim and customs, look up to find a sign indicating where the ‘Underground’ is. Follow the signs. Before entering through the gates you will either need a ticket or make a contactless card payment. There are machines by the entrance gates for tickets but alternatively, if you simply have a contactless chip card, apple/google pay etc, tap it on the yellow pad at the gate and it will open (be aware if you have a foreign card, you may be charged a FX fee). Using the contactless method is cheaper and will cost £5.5 peak or £3.5 off-peak. Buying a ticket will set you back £6.3 anytime.
The London Underground option has two lines which are either the ‘Piccadilly Line‘ or the newest tube line the ‘Elizabeth Line’. Both of these lines will likely get you where you want to be in the central city.
Just be aware that there is Likely no service between the hours of 11:42pm and 5:22am
2. Taxi (Blackcab) – London taxis are available outside each terminal. These are the most expensive options and the price to get from Heathrow to central London is £45–£70. The journey time is approximately one hour. Alternatively, book a minicab or chauffeur in advance.
3. Heathrow Express – Trains operate every 15 minutes between Heathrow and London Paddington. This is basically the expensive version of just using the underground. But if you’re after a faster route into Paddington, this could be a good option for you. Express Singles cost £22 off-peak and £25 peak.
4. Uber– Uber still operates in London and at Heathrow airport. This works in the way you’re used to so I won’t go into much detail. On average this will set you back around £40-60 depending on traffic. It is more affordable than using the normal Taxi’s. For more info see here.
5. National Express Bus – Coaches run throughout the day, from £10, offering journey times of 40–80 minutes to Victoria coach station (and many other destinations. The first service departs from Victoria Coach Station at 03:00 and arrives at Heathrow’s central bus station (for Terminal 2 and 3) at 03:40. The bus arrives at Terminal 5 at 03:55 and Terminal 4 at 04:10
- BEST OPTION Train – This is the best affordable option. But don’t use the Gatwick express (rip-off with no benefit!). Use Southern Railway services. You will have to get to the south Terminal to use this service, if you’re at the north terminal just use the free train shuttles. Once in the south terminal, before entering through the gates you will either need a ticket or make a contactless card payment. There are machines by the entrance gates but alternatively, if you simply have a contactless chip card, apple/google pay etc, tap it on the yellow pad atthe gate and it will open (be aware if you have a foreign card, you may be charged a FX fee). A contactless payment will cost you around £9. A ticket will range depending on the time and as a result could cost up to £20 (rare occasions). These trains will have a couple stops (like Clapham Junction) but finish in Victoria (very central).
2. National Express Bus – National Express operates direct services to London Victoria once an hour with a journey time of 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the time of day. This will cost around £10 for a one way single ticket.
Coaches to Victoria depart from both terminals from the lower level forecourt. You can buy tickets at National Express ticket desks in both terminals or in advance online.
If you want this option, it’s best to Book National Express. It would be recommended to take the train stated in option 1 if you can (may be cheaper and definitely faster).
3. Taxi (Blackcab) – We would not recommend this unless you have to. Traditional London taxis are available outside each terminal. These are the most expensive options and the cost to central London is ~£90 and the journey time is approximately one hour. Alternatively, book a minicab or chauffeur in advance.
4. Uber – Uber still operates in London and at Gatwick airport. This works in the way you’re used to so I won’t go into much detail. On average this will set you back around £50-70 depending on traffic. It is more affordable than using the normal Taxi’s. For more info see here
5. Gatwick Express – Basically a way to trick tourists into saving only 2 minutes (seriously) travel time but take a lot of cash from the first moment they arrive into London. Tickets cost around £18.5. They are direct to London Victoria, however you’re much more likely to get a cheaper train to Victoria using Southern Railway that leaves from the exact same place and ends at the same place (see point 1). Note: you cannot be sneaky and buy a normal train ticket and jump on the Gatwick express, because when you get to Victoria, the Heathrow express uses a different platform and will require an express ticket to get out.
- CHEAP OPTION National Express Bus – National Express coaches to London Stansted Airport run 24-hours a day and stop at 38 pick-up points, including 15 in central London. Prices start from £5 one-way when booked in advance. You are best to book your ticket in advance in case it’s busy, otherwise you can buy at the airport. When you’re leaving the airport, just look for the ‘Buses’ signage. National express employees will also be on hand outside should you need assistance.
2. Train -Stansted Express trains are the quickest and most direct way to travel between London Stansted Airport and the capital (Liverpool Street). Services run every 15 minutes and tickets can be booked for as little as £9.45 one-way when bought in advance. However, usually more around £20. This option will take around 50minutes.
3. Taxi – Taxis has a reservation desk located in the international arrival concourse. There is also a courtesy telephone located in the domestic baggage reclaim area which connects you to the reservation desk. You can also just grab a taxi at the taxi rank (follow signs). It will likely be a price £80-110 depending on the time of day and where in the city you’re going.
4. Uber still operates in London and at Standsted airport. This works in the way you’re used to so I won’t go into much detail. On average this will set you back around £80 to get to London Victoria depending on traffic. It is more affordable than using the normal Taxi’s. For more info see here.
London Luton Airport
Firstly, Luton airport calls itself London but that’s quite a stretch. It’s 55KM’s (34miles) from Central London. But hey, if you’re flying in, you still got to find a way to the city
1. BEST OPTION Train – Hop on a frequent direct train from Luton Airport Parkway to Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras International, and you could be there in as little as 24 minutes. 40-minute average train journey. It will cost you around £12 if you book in advance.
2. Bus – National Express operates direct services to London Paddington every 20 minutes with a journey time of 1 hour 15mins, depending on the time of day. This will cost around £11 for a one way single ticket. You should prebook here.
3. Taxi/Uber – Taxi’s are available at the taxi rank and using the uber app. You can expect a cost of around £70 to get central and much slower than the train. As a result, this option should be a last resort.
Southend Airport There is limited “easy” options when it comes to Southend. The best is clearly the train. But if there isn’t trains in the event of weather or train strikes, you can use the standard Bus network (maybe a little tricky for a first timer) or Taix/Uber, but this will cost a hell of a lot. So for this reason we only recommend the train.
- ONLY GOOD OPTION – Train – The fastest journey between Southend Airport and London Liverpool Street is only 53 minutes. Book your ticket here or buy at the airport.
London City Airport
If you’re flying into London City, you’re already pretty dam close to where you want to be. Definitely take the DLR (underground line, cheap and fast).
1. BEST OPTION Underground– The DLR underground line is a 5minute walk from the terminal (follow signs). Simply jump on and get to London Bank station in 20 minutes. This will cost around £2.9 providing you use contactless payment (contactless card, apple pay, google pay etc). If you’re going to buy a ticket it will cost you £6.3
2. Uber/Taxi – As a backup, there is a taxi rank and Uber’s available, the cost will likely be around £25-40 to get to Bank station (to compare with the underground option).