London is one of the busiest commercial airports in the world with more than 130 million people travelling through the city’s airports. And London does not have just one or two airports, but rather plays host to five airports that service travellers. Of course when travelling you must be wary as to which airport you end up flying into, as it could be up to 40 miles from central London itself.
Apart from the airport you travel to, another area to consider when arriving to London is the location you choose to stay at. There are some great hotels near Earls Court tube station that have excellent transport connectivity to the all the airports.
Another good option to stay in comfort without having to shell out too much is the Grand Park London Kensington that also boasts a central location within the heart of the city. A few useful tips that might come in handy when travelling from any of the city’s five airports are:
London Heathrow (LHR): Heathrow is about 17 miles from the centre of the city and is the primary airport of London. With close to 70 million passengers passing through it annually, Heathrow is the busiest of airports in entire Europe. It is massive and offers five terminals. For those travelling from overseas Heathrow would be the most likelihood arrival destination in the city.
Getting from Heathrow airport to the city is feasible through the use of the Tube (London Underground). It is much more cost-effective than other modes of travel to and from the airport. Getting to the centre of the city would take just under an hour. For those who need to get to the city in a hurry and are willing to spend extra, another option is the Heathrow Express that takes just fifteen minutes to arrive at Paddington Station. Travel from Heathrow to Gatwick is possible through direct coach. If you have time to spare and want to get to the city it is possible by combining travel via train and the underground. The trip takes a little over an hour. And if you have a fair bit of time on your hands and plan to use other modes of transport in between flights it could take up to three hours.
Gatwick Airport (LGW): Gatwick Airport is further away approximately 28 miles from the centre of London. With more than 33 million passengers per year it is the second most used airport in the city. Because of its distance it takes a wee bit more of time and effort to get here. The flights schedule is mixed with chartered, regular and budget carriers operating from here. For those who need to travel to a city to the South of London, Gatwick is a suitable option to arrive and fly out from.
Visitors can board The Gatwick Express from the airport to London’s Victoria station with the journey lasting only half an hour. Making a booking online is slightly cheaper than buying the tickets directly at the station. And the good news is that trains depart in both directions every quarter of an hour.
London City Airport (LCY): The airport is the smallest of airports in London and is just about 8 miles out of the centre of the city. It is located in the Docklands area close to Canary Wharf and lies to the east of the centre of the city. It is mostly patronised by business travellers because of its proximity to the city and serves about 3 million passengers annually. It predominantly serves European cities with the sole exception of a BA flight to New York City.
Travel options: Because of its convenient location getting to and from the airport to the city is a doddle. Travel from the airport is via the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) that links to the Tube with it taking just half an hour to arrive in the city. It is ideal for those staying in the East of London and business travellers.
Stansted Airport (STN): Of the five airports that serve London the farthest is Stansted that is more than 40 miles from the heart of the city. It primarily serves budget airlines like Easy Jet and Ryan Air, although there are a few charter carriers that it also does cater to. Because of its relative distance from Central London it serves a smaller number of passengers then Heathrow or Gatwick, with just about 20 million passing through every year.
Passengers can board the Stansted Express from the airport to Liverpool Street station which leaves every quarter of an hour. The trip takes little less than an hour. The only hitch is that the ticket prices are rather steep, so that needs to considered when looking to travel on budget carriers. It is suitable for those who stay in the North of London. Travel by minicab would cheaper than by train.
Luton Airport (LTN): Luton airport is located approximately 33 miles from the centre of London and primarily caters to budget and chartered carriers. With just about 9 million passengers annually some of the airlines that operate from here include Wizz Air, Easy Jet and Thomson & Monarch etc.
Passengers can travel to Luton airport by catching a train run by FCC (First Capital Connect) from St Pancras Station to Luton Airport Parkway station. From the station they can then take a shuttle ride to the airport terminal. There are six trains per hour and the trip takes about 35 minutes to Luton Airport Parkway Station, with the shuttle ride to the airport terminal taking an additional 10 minutes.