London is believed to be the biggest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of 11.9 million (15 million for Greater London!). Such a big (and international) city needs outstanding air travel connections with the rest of the world. However, only two of its airports have a wide range of intercontinental and transatlantic destinations. But how easy, fast and cheap is it to travel to them?
London Heathrow is the airport with the most intercontinental and transatlantic flights. There are 3 options to commute to London:
- London Underground: this is by far the cheapest. The Piccadilly line runs every 5-10mins directly into London’s city center (South Kensington, Piccadilly circus), taking approximately 45min from Heathrow terminals 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. A ticket costs £5.50 if purchased as a single ticket, or £3 with an Oyster card (off-peak; 6:30 to 9:30 Monday to Friday costs £5)
- Heathrow Express: this option is the fastest, taking only 15min to get to London’s Paddington train station. This is a more expensive option, ranging from £20-28 single fare to £34-52 return.
- National Express coaches: they run every 15-30min at day times and every hour at night. Tickets cost £6 single and £11 return, and journey time varies between 40min and 1h.
Intercontinental & transatlantic flights also depart from Gatwick airport, as well as domestic and European flights (even low cost). The main connections to London are:
- Gatwick Express: this is the fastest option, taking 30min no stop to reach London Victoria station. They depart every 15min and cost £17.75 for a single ticket and £31.05 for a return ticket.
- Southern Railway: if you’re willing to spend 5 more minutes on the train, for half the price of a Gatwick Express ticket, go for this option. Prices start at £5 single (or £10 return). Advance tickets sell out quickly, so plan to buy online before you leave (you can ten collect your tickets at Gatwick airport’s train station ticket machines).
- Easybus: this is the direct easyJet bus service to Earl’s Court. It takes about 1h15min and costs as little as £2 per trip. There are buses every 15-30min, even at night.
- National Express coaches: they have drop-off points in several places in London. Tickets cost around £7 single or £13.50 return, and it takes 1h30min to 1h50min to reach central London (depending on which terminal you depart from). There are buses every hour, even at night.
Note: prices were correct at the time of publication