from airport to central London

On this page I list all London airports. Per airport I mention all options for travelling into central London.

Often you travel first by train or bus to a train station. From there you will continue by underground services, which is referred to as ‘tube’ in the UK. Bear in mind:

  1. Train ticket prices in the UK tend to go up in price nearer the departure day. I therefore recommend to book your tickets well ahead to keep costs as low as possible.
  2. There are various train companies in the UK (for example Virgin, First Capital Connect, Southern Rail and many more) that sometimes have the same destinations. So make sure that you buy a correct ticket that allows you to travel with the company you need (and avoid a fine)!
  3. During your trip you will most likely travel by bus and tubes in London. It’s much cheaper (and so much easier) to use either a Travelcard or Oystercard for that instead of buying single tickets. Find more information on Travelcards and Oystercards on my page Public transport in London.

From Stansted Airport

Train: take the Stansted Express to either Tottenham Hale train station or to London Liverpool Street station. To Tottenham Hale takes about 40 minutes. It is further from the centre, but from there you can take the Victoria tube line. To London Liverpool Street station takes 50 minutes. If you want to take a tour with me and stay in my cool neighbourhood, then take the train to this station! From there you could either walk to your hotel or take the tube from here on the Central line, the Circle line, Hammersmith & City line if you are staying further away.
Buy your train tickets either at the airport or online. It’s slightly cheaper to buy tickets online and there are often online offers for advance tickets, or people travelling in groups.
Use the London Underground website to plan your tube travels from either Tottenham Hale or London Liverpool Street.

Bus: the National Express bus departs from Stansted Airport and has various stops in Londen. Refer to the National Express website for prices, duration and tickets.

Bus: also Terravision buses depart from Stansted Airport to various London stops. You can buy tickets beforehand online on the Terravision website or on the day itself by the bus.

From Gatwick airport

Train: There are three different train companies from Gatwick Airport into central London. Make sure you buy a ticket for the correct train company and get on the correct train to avoid a fine. You can buy your tickets online or at the station, but because there are so many options it could be a bit confusing and overwhelming to buy them at the station.
A handy link for buying your train tickets is the National Rail website.

  1. First train company is the Gatwick Express that takes you to London Victoria. Do NOT take this train line as it’s much more expensive and not that much quicker!
  2. Second option is the Thameslink train that goes to London Bridge, Blackfriars, St Pancras International train station and Luton Airport. Take the tube from one of these train stops to continue your travels into central London. Be careful: you also have the option to travel to London Bridge via Southern Rail trains (see below), but travelling to London Bridge on these trains are slower and less frequent. So make sure to buy a Thameslink train ticket in case you want to go to London Bridge!
  3. Finally, you can take Southern Rail trains to London Victoria via Clapham Junction and East Croydon. Continue your travels by tube.

Note: due to engineering work at London Bridge train station, there will be no/limited train service at this station from January 2015 until January 2018. Please refer to these relevant pages on the Thameslink website and Southern website for more information regarding these changes.

Bus: the National Express bus departs from Gatwick Airport and has various stops in Londen. Refer to the National Express website for prices, duration and tickets.

Bus: also Terravision buses depart from Gatwick Airport to various London stops. You can buy tickets beforehand online on the Terravision website or on the day itself by the bus.

From Heathrow airport

Train: avoid the Heathrow Express train! Instead, take the tube into town. The train might be faster, but the cheapest return ticket costs over £30 while it be less than £10 when you travel by tube.

Tube: the Piccadilly Line runs straight from the airport. Change onto another line on the route to your destination. Plan your tube trip on the London Underground website.

Bus: the bus might offer a nicer view while travelling, but travelling by tube is the cheapest option from Heathrow Airport to central London.
If you do decide to take the bus anyway, look into the National Express bus service from Heathrow Airport to central London.
Also, Terravision buses go from Heathrow Airport to central London.

From City airport

By far the most convenient airport when you’re staying in East London. As it’s a business airport, it’s a tiny airport with lots of well-behaved travellers.

Tube: take the DLR (= overground train) to your destination or change for a tube on the route. Plan your trip on the London Underground website.

From Southend airport

Train: Abellio Greater Anglia trains take you from the airport to Stratford Train Station or London Liverpool Street Station.
At Stratford Station you can change onto overground trains, the DLR or underground services (Central Line and Jubilee Line).
At London Liverpool Street Station you can change onto underground trains (Hammersmith & City Line, Circle Line, Metropolitan Line and Central Line).
Plan your travels from Stratford Station or Liverpool Street Station on the London Underground website.

Regular bus: there is a regular bus service you can use. Please refer to this website for more information.

Bus: or take a First Group coach. Find more information about this service on this website.

From Luton airport

Train: first take the shuttle bus from the arrivals hall to Luton Airport Parkway (10 minutes and included in the train price or else £1.60 for a single and £2.70 for an open return without a train ticket, price as of 1st November 2013).
From there, there are two train companies travelling into central London: Thameslink and Great Northern and East Midland Trains.
Thameslink and Great Northern trains take you to City Thameslink, Blackfriars, Farringdon and St Pancras International.
East Midland trains go to St Pancras International.

Make sure you buy the correct ticket for your preferred train line and get on the correct train. Else you will be fined.
The National Rail website is useful for buying your train tickets.
Plan your tube trip on the London Underground website.

Bus: the National Express bus departs from Luton Airport and has various stops in Londen. Refer to the National Express website for prices, duration and tickets.

Bus: also Terravision buses depart from Luton Airport to various London stops. You can buy tickets beforehand online on the Terravision website or on the day itself by the bus.

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