London is the biggest capital in Europe. There are 6 airports within a 40 mile (65km) radius of the city, which explains why it is possible to see planes crossing the city’s skies almost at any time. If you’re travelling from domestic or European destinations, the smaller airports have a wide range of options, and can also be more convenient (and cheap) if travelling to the city center (especially London City airport). What are the public transports available to and from these four airports?
London City airport
This is the closest to central London (it’s actually inside the city), and thus very convenient for short or business trips. The easiest alternative is to take the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) that goes to Bank station (the City) in 20min and several other spots in east London. Or you can connect to one of London’s Underground lines to reach the city center. A single trip to London costs £4.50 if paid in cash or £2.70 off peak (£3.20 peak) if topping up an Oyster card.
London Luton airport
Luton airport is towards the north west of London. It’s a no-frills airport (you even have to pay for your liquids plastic bag at the security check!) but if you find a good fare it might be worth to fly there. The travel options are:
- By train (+5min transfer bus to the station): FirstCapitalConnect trains connect Luton Airport Parkway (that’s how the airport’s train station is called) to the city center (St Pancras, London Bridge) in under an hour. Standard fares start at £13.50 single (£27 return; without the shuttle bus) or £15 single (£30 return; with the shuttle bus), but you can often get super off peak fares if buying in advance (25%+ discount).
- EasyBus: this is the cheapest option available (from £2 single – £4 return). It takes 50min-1h to get to Baker street station, and there are buses every 20-min. The advantage is also that you get it at the airport door, no need to take the shuttle.
- Other coaches: there are Greenline and Terravision coaches to other destinations, with prices rounding £15-20 return.
London Southend airport
Southend airport is London’s newest airport. There are two transport options:
- By train: trains to Liverpool Street station leave every 20min on average, taking approximately 1h. Single tickets sell for £14.90, while return off peak tickets cost £23.
- By coach: coaches are available to other destinations in the UK (Stansted airport for instance) but not to London
London Stansted airport
Stansted airport is located in north east London, closer to Cambridge. The available options to commute to London are:
- Stansted Express: fast service to London Liverpool Street (40min), stopping also at Tottenham Hale (Victoria line). Trains depart every 30min; single tickets cost £23.40 (£21 to Tottenham Hale) while return tickets cost £32.80 (£30.50 to Tottenham Hale). Discounts are available for groups (2+). If buying through Ryanair’s affiliate website, you get a 15%+ discount (you don’t need to fly with Ryanair to benefit from the discount).
- EasyBus: from £2 single or £4 return to Baker street, this is the cheapest option. It takes about 1h15min and buses depart every 15-30min.
- Other coaches: Terravision (£6 single – £12 return) and National Express (9.50-10 per trip) have services to London Victoria and several other destinations
Note: prices were correct at the time of publication