London Airport Transportation

How to get to Central London from Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted airport

There are three main airports that serve London and it is possible to get into London from any of them by some form of public transit. The airports are Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Generally speaking, if you aren't in a hurry you can save a lot. Check out the following comparisons.

Heathrow to London

  • Fastest, but more expensive; Heathrow Express Rail - This comfortable service operates every 15 minutes from Heathrow Central Station located under Terminals 1 and 3. It takes just 15 minutes to reach Paddington Station in central London. The might be your best choice if you have a lost of luggage, however, keep in mind that you may still have to take the tube or bus from Paddington Station to get to your hotel depending on it's location. Also the Travelcard and Oyster card are not valid on this service.
  • Next Fastest; Heathrow Connect Rail - This service is more comfortable than riding the tube, especially if you have a lot of luggage. The price is about half that of the Express. Like the Express it goes to Paddington Station, but has a few stops along the way, so it takes about 25 minutes. It also runs less often than the Express and the Travelcard and Oyster card are not valid on this service.
  • Least Expensive but slowest;* The London Underground - The Piccadilly line serves all the Heathrow Terminals and takes you right into central London. It stops at numerous stations and connects with several other tube lines along the way. While it takes longer (about 45 minutes) to make the trip, it may get you closer to your hotel with less connections *so it may not end up taking that much longer overall. Another upside is that you can use the Oyster Card or Travelcard. The downside is it can be very busy at rush hour and there is no place to stow your luggage, so it can be it bit uncomfortable and awkward if you have a lot of luggage.

Gatwick to London

  • Fastest, but most expensive; Gatwick Express Rail - This comfortable service operates every 15 minutes from Gatwick Airport. It takes 30 minutes to reach Victoria Station in central London. We would highly recommend using the service below as it only takes about 5 minutes longer and it is far less expensive. Travelcard and Oyster card are not valid on this service.
  • Slightly Longer, but much less expensive; Southern Rail - The service also runs from Gatwick to Victoria Station with departures every 15 minutes. It takes just a few minutes longer, as it makes a few stops along the way, but it is much cheaper. Travelcard and Oyster card are not valid on this service.
  • Slightly Longer, but much less expensive; First Capital Connect - Also less expensive than the Gatwick Express, this service will get you to Farringdon and St. Pancras Stations in London which might be more convenient than Victoria Station for you, depending on where you are staying. Travelcard and Oyster card are not valid on this service.

Stansted to London

  • Fastest, but most expensive; Stansted Express Rail - This comfortable service operates every 15 minutes from Stansted Airport. It takes about 60 minutes to get to Liverpool Street Station in the London financial district. From here you can connect to 4 different lines on the The London Underground: Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City Lines. Travelcard and Oyster card are not valid on this service, but can be used on the Underground when you get to Liverpool Street.
  • Longer, but much less expensive; National Express Coach or Terravision Coach - These bus services also runs from Stansted airport to Victoria Station with departures every 15 to 30 minutes. It takes about 90 minutes for the trip. These bus options are about ½ the price of the Stansted Express and may not be much longer if your hotel is located in the west side of London anywhere near Victoria Station. Travelcard and Oyster card are not valid on either of these services.

This somewhat humorous video compares the various options and costs of getting from London Heathrow to Central London and takes you through the whole process from plane to train

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