Tuesday, 26 January 2016

How to Get Into Central London from 'London' Airports ~ Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, Heathrow & London City!



There’s nothing quite like that feeling you get when you click “book” on a rock bottom priced flight that you’ve found after hours of trawling the internet; by the same token there is nothing as bad as that sinking feeling when you arrive at your destination airport to realise to get to the city centre will cost you the same price as your flight and in some cases double the price again. Today I’m going to give you the low down on exactly how much it’ll cost you to get to central London from London’s 5 major airports.


First things first if you’re visiting London you’ll need a visitor oyster card for using public transport, not only will it save you a heap of money on public transport but you also get a whole host of special offers, including discounted fares on the Emirates Air Line cable car and Thames Clippers river buses. You can buy one online before you go and have it posted to you all details can be found HERE.





Of course you can hire a car but if you don’t plan on travelling further afield than central London, I’d recommend sticking to the public transport system. London is notoriously difficult and expensive for parking, not to mention the congestion fee you must pay daily to drive in London. They really know how to do public transport though, it’s on time, it’s clean, it’s safe and not that expensive either. 


Grab yourself a map at any of the tube stations and you’ll soon get the hang of hopping from one line to the other as you navigate your way around London. Unlike other cities the price of public transport in London varies vastly depending if you are travelling at peak or off peak times, I have listed the cheapest fares I can find.
Stansted Airport



Stansted is located 64km North East of London.

Train:

Taking the Stansted Express at 46 minutes is the fastest way into central London return tickets cost from £32 for adults £16 for children and under 5’s travel free. Trains run every 15 minutes from4am-11.30pm. Tickets can be bought in the station at the airport or online. I’d recommend buying them online as they have regular “advance fare” special offers of greatly reduced fares and also offer 2 for 1 entry on London’s top attractions. See HERE.

Bus:

easyBus is the cheapest way to central London especially if you pre purchase your tickets online as prices start from £4 per person return. Buses run 24/7 with departures every 15 minutes. It’s a non-stop direct service to London taking 1 hour 15 minutes. If you are travelling with children you must bring the age appropriate child seat/booster seat for them otherwise you’ll be refused travel. All children and babies are charged full fare; there are no reductions even if your child is under 23 months. See HERE.

National Express operates a 24 hour service to London Victoria station, journey time is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. Fares start at £18 adult return, £9 child return and under 3’s travel free. There is also a £1 booking fee on their website. If you book 30 days in advance you can get a single journey from £5 plus £1 booking fee. Each person is only permitted two 20kg suitcases and one item of hand luggage. For an extra fee of £5 per person each way you can amend your departure time or date or get a full refund up to 24 hours before departure. You can only bring one child under 3 per fee paying adult, if you are bringing more than one child you must pay a child fare for the additional children even though they are under 3 years old. While booster seats are available for use on board they do not have car seats for younger children, they recommend you take one with you but will not refuse travel if you don’t have one. See HERE.

Taxi:
A taxi to Victoria Street Station will take roughly an hour depending on traffic and cost about £143, I used Taxi Fare Finder Linked HERE to calculate this. It’s also worth noting that black cabs do not operate from Stansted.


Gatwick Airport



Gatwick is located 45km south of London.

Train:

Gatwick Express is the fastest way into central London; trains depart every 15 minutes between the hours of 4.35am-1.35am. It’s a 30 minute non-stop journey to Victoria Street Station. While you can use your Oyster card to pay it actually works out cheaper to buy a ticket either at the station or online. Return fares are as follows; £34.90 adult, £17.45 child, under 5’s travel free. If you book online there is a 10% reduction on these fares, you can also avail of the “Web Duo Anytime Return” offer £44.70 for 2 adults or 1 adult and 1 child. Each adult can bring two children under 5 years old free of charge.


Thameslink and Southern trains also depart from Gatwick on a regular basis; journey time is approximately 35 minutes to Victoria Street Station depending on the time of day. Tickets are priced at £30.80 adult return; £15.40 child return and under 5’s travel free.

Bus:

EasyBus is the cheapest way to central London prices start from £4 per person return if you book in advance online. Buses run from 3am-11pm with departures every 15/20minutes. There are 3 routes to choose from with over 300 departures a day. Journey time to London takes anything from 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes depending on the service you choose. If you are travelling with children you must bring the age appropriate child seat/booster seat for them otherwise you’ll be refused travel. All children and babies are charged full fare; there are no reductions even if your child is under 23 months.

National Express operates 24/7 with departures every 15 minutes, for the best prices book online. Fares start at £15 adult return, £7.50 child return plus £1 booking fee, free for under 4’s. If you book 30 days in advance you can get a single journey from £5 plus £1 booking fee. Each person is only permitted two 20kg suitcases and one item of hand luggage. 

For an extra fee of £5 per person each way you can amend your departure time or date or get a full refund up to 24 hours before departure. You can only bring one child under 3 per fee paying adult, if you are bringing more than one child you must pay a child fare for the additional children even though they are under 3 years old. While booster seats are available for use on board they do not have car seats for younger children, they recommend you take one with you but will not refuse travel if you don’t have one.

Terravision Coaches also serve Gatwick airport with a journey time of 1 hour 40 minutes to Bayswater Road. Fares start at £12 adult return, £6 child return free for under 4’s when booked online. Terravision have no extra luggage fees, no booking fees and free amendable travel dates. There is no mention about car seats/boosters on their website so I mailed them to check, they responded to say that baby can travel on your knee.

Taxi:

I used Taxi Fare Finder to estimate that a taxi fare would be about £106 and take 1 hour 20 minutes to Victoria Street Station.



Luton Airport



Luton is located 56km north west of London.

Train:

There is a regular shuttle bus that links Luton Airport with Luton Airport Parkway Station. Journey time is about 6/7 minutes; tickets cost £1.60 one way or £2.70 return. However if you book your train ticket online or buy it in the vending machine in the airport choose Luton Airport as your departure point and return destination this will then cover the shuttle too.

East Midlands Trains is the fastest way to travel to London St Pancras Intl; journey time is just 25 minutes, fares start at £27 return for adults, £13.50 return children and under 5’s travel free.

Thameslink trains also serve Luton Airport fares are the same as East Midlands trains with a slightly longer journey time of 40 minutes.

Bus:


EasyBus is the cheapest way to central London prices start from £4 per person return if you book in advance online. There are two routes to choose from Luton – Victoria Street Station or Luton to Liverpool Street. Journey time to London is under an hour. If you are travelling with children you must bring the age appropriate child seat/booster seat for them otherwise you’ll be refused travel. All children and babies are charged full fare; there are no reductions even if your child is under 23 months.

National Express operates 217 services a day between Luton and London Victoria station, journey time is approximately 1 hour 5 minutes. Fares start at £18 adult return, £9 child return and under 3’s travel free. There is also a £1 booking fee on their website. If you book 30 days in advance you can get a single journey from £5 plus £1 booking fee. Each person is only permitted two 20kg suitcases and one item of hand luggage. 

For an extra fee of £5 per person each way you can amend your departure time or date or get a full refund up to 24 hours before departure. You can only bring one child under 3 per fee paying adult, if you are bringing more than one child you must pay a child fare for the additional children even though they are under 3 years old. While booster seats are available for use on board they do not have car seats for younger children, they recommend you take one with you but will not refuse travel if you don’t have one.

Terravision Coaches also serve Luton airport with a journey time of 1 hour 15 minutes. Fares start at £10 adult return, £5 child return free for under 4’s when booked online. Terravision have no extra luggage fees, no booking fees and free amendable travel dates. There is no mention about car seats/boosters on their website so I mailed them to check, they responded to say that baby can travel on your knee.
Greenline 757 leaves from bay 7 outside Luton Airport. Tickets can be purchased from the driver or online priced at £12 adult return or £35 family return for 2 adults and 2 children, under 5’s travel free.

Taxi:

I used Taxi Fare Finder to estimate that a taxi fare would be about £115 with a journey time of 1 hour to Victoria Street Station.



Heathrow Airport


Heathrow is located 32km west of London.

Train:

The Heathrow Express is the fastest way to get to central London. Trains run from 5am-11.55pm departing every 15 minutes. Journey time to London Paddington is 15-20 minutes. There are vast differences in ticket prices depending on where you purchase them. Tickets bought on board start at £41 return, at the ticket office or vending machine tickets start at £36 return. There are massive savings to be made if you book online and early 14 days in advance from £24.20 return, 30 days in advance from £17.60 return & 90 days in advance offers the best savings at just £11 return. All children under 15 years travel free with an accompanying adult.

Heathrow Connect train is operated by Great Western Railways, a regular train service connecting Heathrow and Paddington Station with a journey time of 25 minutes. An adult return tickets is £20.40, child return £10.20 and under 5’s travel free.

Tube:

Heathrow Airport has three tube stations on the Piccadilly line; you can buy a ticket at the cashier or from the vending machines. You will need a zone 6 – zone 1 ticket priced at £5.70. Journey time Piccadilly Circus is 50 minutes. If you didn’t pre purchase an Oyster Card now is the time to buy one at the tube station in the airport as you will need it for further travel in London.

Children under 10 travel free on the tube, London Overground and on the DLR. Further information about child fares and Oyster cards can be found here.

Bus:

Both National Express and easyBus depart from Heathrow Airport; journey time is 40-90 minutes depending on route. Ticket prices start at £4 return but average £12 per adult return.

Taxi:

A taxi from Heathrow to Victoria Street Station takes about 40 minutes and costs approximately £68.

London City Airport



London City Airport is just 9.5km east of central London.

Tube:

London City Airport is on the Docklands Light Railway which connects to the Underground. Journey time is about 40 minutes including 1 change from the DLR to the Tube. Don’t worry about changing trains as all are well signposted. Prices for the DLR are the same as the tube and you will need an Oyster Card, more details on this are in the link at the top of this post.

Bus:

Both routes 473 and 474 service London City Airport, to use the bus you will need an Oyster Card.

Taxi:

A taxi to Victoria Street Station will cost about £45 and take 40 minutes.

There we are, the complete guide to fares & journey times from London’s 5 major airports to central London. 

Next time you bag a bargain flight have a quick look here to double check if it really is a top deal!







*Visuals courtesy of 
individual airports*
*well, apart from the 
one of my childer, OBVS*
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