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How to get to London

London is served by five main airports: Heathrow to the West, Stansted and Luton to the North, City to the East, and Gatwick to the South. There’s also a small airport in Southend, Essex, which offers a select number of flights with budget airlines from Western Europe. Note that only Heathrow and London City are within the city’s borders – though all five are extremely accessible. To find the best-priced flight we recommend using a price comparison site, like SkyScanner or Kayak.

There are a variety of ways to get into the city from each airport:

HEATHROW

Heathrow has an app to help you plan your journey to, from and within the airport. You can find out more about it here.

  • Train: You can get the Heathrow Express to Paddington in just 15 minutes. Heathrow Connect also goes to Paddington, stopping at some local stations in west London, which may be more convenient. Heathrow is connected directly to the underground. You can take a Piccadilly line train right to the centre of the city. This is a cheapoption: a single fare from Heathrow airport to Central London is only £6.
  • Coach: National Express coaches go to London Victoria, or local Rail stations. You’re also able to catch London buses, though none go to the city proper.
  • Taxi: Heathrow recommends some taxis, but it is pricey. We prefer public transport.
  • Cycle: There are a network of cycle paths that lead you from Heathrow to London, including the scenic Grand Union Canal towpath.

CITYHOOD RECOMMENDS: Unleashing your inner Londoner and heading straight for the Tube. This is the heartbeat of the city, so how better to start your trip than walking in a local’s shoes?

 

GATWICK

  • Train: Gatwick is on the main route of many trains from the South into the city. The Southern train will take you to London Bridge via Croydon & Clapham. This route will be busy at peak hours, but is still cheap. You can also take Thameslink & Great Northern trains to London Bridge and St Pancras International, or the Gatwick Express runs non-stop to Victoria in just 30 minutes.
  • Coach: National Express services run to Victoria via South London stops. easyBus offers a low-cost service to Earls Court, London Waterloo and Victoria. The Gatwick Flyer also runs semi-regular coaches to South East London.
  • Cycle: Uniquely to London, Gatwick has a national cycle route running through it.
  • Taxi: Taxis are available, but are pretty pricy. We recommend public transport.

CITYHOOD RECOMMENDS: Taking the Southern train to London Bridge, outside of rush hours. It’s much cheaper than the Gatwick Express, and takes the same time.

 

STANSTED

  • Train: The Stansted Express runs from the airport every 15 minutes. The train takes you to Tottenham Hale, a north London station with good onward connections, then Liverpool Street: centre of the City. Be wary of travelling during rush hour as its a popular commuter train. Tickets are also cheaper outside peak hours.
  • Coach: National Express coaches run to London Paddington, Victoria, Liverpool St & Stratford frequently. Airport Bus Express also operate two routes: one to Stratford via London Bridge, one to Victoria. The Stansted City Link runs regularly to Kings Cross.
  • Taxi: Stansted recommends 24×7 taxis, who have a reservation desk located in arrivals, and can be reached by courtesy phone. Fares are agreed before the journey begins, and you can pay upfront.

CITYHOOD RECOMMENDS: Taking the Stansted Express outside of rush hour is quick, efficient, and takes you onto Shoreditch’s doorstop. Other trains and coaches also offer good value alternatives, calling at a variety of stops.

 

LONDON CITY

  • Train: The driverless Docklands Light Railway (DLR) can take you into the centre of the city or to the Olympic village, via some scenic Thames scenery and London’s uber-modern financial district: Canary Wharf. It’s also easy to connect to National Rail stations, to take you directly to where you want to go.
  • Coach: No coaches run from London City Airport – the airport is within the city so you can hop on an iconic red double decker outside the terminal.
  • Taxi: You can compare the cost of a licensed minicab using airport partner minicabit. London Black Taxis are also available outside, if you want an authentical London experience. They may be a little more pricey, but the driver will have an extensive knowledge of the city, so they can take you secret shortcuts or via some sightseeing.

CITYHOOD RECOMMENDS: Embracing the future and sitting at the front of the DLR. You can head straight to the centrally-connected Bank, or start your sightseeing by disembarking at Tower Gateway for the Tower of London & Tower Bridge.

 

LUTON

  • Train: A shuttle bus will take you from the airport to Luton Parkway station. From there, you can get a Thameslink train straight into London. Oyster cards are not valid on this journey. Be sure to check departure boards for the next fastest train to London, as a stopping service (that calls in at all the villages en route) will take close to double the time of a direct train.
  • Coach: You can get the coach to Victoria Coach Station with National Express and Green Line Coaches. They stop en route throughout the city.  easyBus services run to both Victoria Coach Station and Liverpool St, so offer a reasonably priced route to either side of the city.
  • Taxi: Taxis are available, but are pretty pricy. We recommend public transport.

CITYHOOD RECOMMENDS: Taking the CityLink train is the fastest way to get right into London, and calls at a number of central stations. However, the coach also offers a good value alternative if you’re staying near Victoria.

So I’ve made it to London… Now what?
Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog posts, which will detail how to navigate London once you’ve made it in.

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