By now you have your bags packed and you're all set to see the Big Ben and London Eye, but before that you need to figure out how you're going to go from the airport to your accomodation. That's precisely why we have dedicated a detailed blog on London Airport Transfers to ensure that you have a safe and smooth London Airport Transfer. There are many London Airport Transfer options to suit all budgets and comfort levels. Whether you fancy a black cab ride across London or a quick transit via the London Tube, we have you covered on all grounds. Check out all the modes of London Airport Tranfers available and choose the one that suits you best!
Before learning about London Airport Transfers, know that there are 5 airports in London! Yes, you read that right. So before you start figuring out Airport Transfers in London, know which airport you're traveling to! Below are the 5 London Airports and a quick summary on each.
The London Heathrow Airport is the main and busiest airport in UK, a major international airport located in West London. The Heathrow Airpor has 5 terminals, 2 main runways, and a cross wind runway. It is a well equipped world class airport with a wide range of facilities for all travelers, be it business or leisure.
The Gatwick Airport is the 2nd largest international airport in London and is located 47.5 km south of Central London. The Gatwick Airport has 2 terminals: North and South equipped with a range of facilities, which include video game areas for entertainment, off site hotels and executive lounges.
The Stansted Airport is a located in the County of Essex, 48 km from London and is hub for prominent low-cost airlines in UK. This airport has 1 terminal with 3 embarking points, one connected to the terminal via a foot bridge and the other two through people movers.
The Luton Airport is an international airport located in the Borough of Luton (Bedfordshire) and stands as the 4th largest airport in London. This airport is a base for budget flights like Ryanair and EasyJet. Some flights travel to Northern Africa and Asia; however, majority of routes are within Europe.
The London City Airport is a passenger airport mostly frequented by business travellers. It is located in the east of London and was specifically designed for mid-range airlines and corporate aircraft. Due to the airport's proximity to Central London, there are strict rules imposed to limit noise.
In this blog, we will look at Airport Transfers from London's 2 biggest airports - The Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport.
Heathrow Airport Transfers
Heathrow Airport Transfer Via Bus
The National Express Coaches are what you need to look out for if you plan on getting to your destination via bus. These buses were frequent once upon a time, but they have become less popular after the Heathrow Express train started operating. However, if you have a long distance travel (Kensington) within the UK scheduled, then the National Express Coaches can come handy. These coaches have washrooms and are very comfortable, however wait times can be long as buses leave in a gap of an hour or so. The Heathrow Airport Bus Station is open 24/7 and tickets can be purchased from the travel center anytime between 06:00 AM to 22:30 PM.Bus from Terminals 1,2 and 3
If you're exiting from Terminal 1, 2 or 3 look out for the Central Bus Station located a short walk away from the check in arena. Those at the ticket center should be able to help you find a bus to your destination.Bus from Terminal 4
If you're exiting from Terminal 4, walk towards stop 13 or 14. The National Express Coaches leave from here.Bus from Terminal 5
If you're exiting from Terminal 5, walk towards stop 13 to 16. The National Express Coaches leave from here.
Learn more about Heathrow Airport Transfers via National Express Coaches.
Heathrow Airport Transfer via Train & Underground Tube
The Heathrow Express is the fastest way to get from Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station in Central London. Every 15 minutes the train runs and in barely 15 minutes you shall have zipped to the hub of London. You can hop onto the Heathrow Express from all 5 Heathrow terminals. This reduces the hassle of lugging your luggage around. Note, the stations at Terminals 4 and 5 are directly below the terminals and are accessible by lift. However, if you are not staying in Paddington, Bayswater or Marble Arch area or within 5 km around the station, you will be doubling back on yourself.
Purchasing tickets for the Heathrow Express can save you a few pounds so don't hesitate to pick up your tickets online and land in Heathrow all set to reach your destination.
Underground Tube from Heathrow Airport to Piccadilly
If you're looking for the cheapest way between the Heathrow Airport and Central London then look no further and hop on the London Underground. The London Underground comes out to Heathrow in the form of the Piccadilly Line and is a popular choice due to the pocket friendly price, frequency and speed. It takes 45-60 minutes to most hotels in Central London with trains around every 5 minutes. The downside however is crowded carriages and around 20 stations into town.Also, if you're traveling with a lot of luggage and negotiating down stairs and escalators with your luggage is an issue, then you might want to reconsider the London Underground. Find out how to get to your destination via the London Underground Tube.
Heathrow Airport Transfer Via Cab
The famous black cabs of London run a 24/7 Taxi Service outside each terminal of Heathrow Airport to all parts of London. These black taxis are well marshalled and offer utmost convenience, but come at a full price. The journey will take a minimum of 45 minute to Central London and a single cab can fit upto 5 passengers and 4 large suitcases. A lot of people traveling to Kensington prefer taking a cab transfer from Heathrow Airport as it is quite far from the Paddington trains and makes no sense to jump two modes of transport. If you're keen on a car transfer but want a cheaper option, you can look for mini cabs which are private car services that are economical but need to be booked in advance.
The only problem ( if budget is not a constraint) with car transfers from the Heathrow Airport is the traffic! You will be at the mercy of London's traffic anytime between 7.30am to 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM on weekedays and weekends are unpredictable. Friendly tip : A private transfer in a mini cab is cheaper than the black taxi affair and features a meet and greet facility too.
Gatwick Airport Transfers
Gatwick Airport Transfer Via Bus
The Gatwick Airport is is 30 miles south of London and the cheapest route to go from Gatwick Airport to Central London is taking the airport bus. Though they are the cheapest, they take twice as long as the trains hence not many people opt for it. If you're not on a time constraint, taking a National Express Bus or an easyBus is a great choice.
The National Express Coaches Transfer provides a 24x7 connection between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria. These National Express Coaches leaves Gatwick Airport premises every 20 minutes and reaching London city can take anything between 55-80 minutes/ easyBus is another economical and trusted option that provide a frequent minibus shuttle between Gatwick Airport and London West Brompton Underground. It is recommended that you buy tickets online for better deals.
Gatwick Airport Transfer Via Train
In the form of railways, you have 3 Gatwick Airport Transfers. Pro tip : If you have an Oyster Card, you can use them for your Gatwick Airport Transfers via the Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services.
- Gatwick Express
- Thameslink Trains
- Southern Trains
The Gatwick Express is the fastest, most comfortable and obviously most expensive option to shuttle from Gatwick Airport to London city. The train station is easily accessible from the Gatwick South Terminal ( free shuttles are available from the Gatwick North Terminal) and trains are known to leave every 15 minutes. A journey from Gatwick Airport to London Victoria should take your abour 30 minutes.
Thameslink trains are almost as fast and much cheaper than the Gatwick Express, however they run a different route into Central London. It has many more stops, hence the time taken may increase, but if you prefer to by pass London's traffic and hit up a rather economical option, this one's a safe bet. Make sure your hotel falls close to a station on this line!
Southern trains run the same route as the Gatwick Express but take about 15 minutes more to Victoria due to the increased number of stops. Since they are cheaper, they tend to get extremely crowded, so if you're one to travel heavy, steer clear of this route.
Gatwick Airport Transfer Via Cab
Taking a cab from Gatwick Airport is an expensive affair, however, if you have mobility issues or a lot of luggage, then cabs can be easily availed. Both the North and South Terminal at Gatwick Airport have 24x7 cab service and the journey to London can take anything between 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Note, passengers booking a return service can get a 20% discount.
London Airport Transfer - Tips & Tricks
- The fastest and most comfortable mode of London Airport Transfers is handsdown the train. Though it is on the costlier side, it saves a whole lot of time.
- Before you finalise on your hotel, know that London Airport Transfer services terminate in the hotel districts ( Bayswater ,Bloomsbury, City London, County Hall, Euston, Kensington, Kings Cross, Paddington, St Pancras) around the city center. Having a hotel on the other side of London, far away from the airport can be expensive and tedious.
- Taxis are for obvious reasons the most expensive form of airport transfer in London. It is remotely economical from Heathrow to London City, but from the other airports, the fare can go upto 3 digits.
- Only London Heathrow, Gatwick Airport and Stansted Airport have dedicated express train services into central London. London City Airport and Luton Airport do not have express trains, but buses and tube can be availed.
- London Heathrow Airport and London City Airport are the only airports directly connected to the efficient London Underground Tube network.
- The 3 most efficient, reliable and comfortable buses for London Airport Transfers one can opt for are : National Express, easyBus and Greenline. They cost as less as £2 if booked in advance online.